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Madam Speaker, history is the great predictor. To understand today, all you have to do is to look at last Saturday. We all remember where we were when hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center. We remember the billowing clouds of smoke blacking out the New York skyline. Those towers, once pillars of strength and freedom, became mass graves in the space of a few moments. Firefighters, police officers, innocent men women and children all died in a firestorm of hate.
Our country men and women were killed at the hands of radical Muslim extremists. People who believe their religion tells them to be violent in the name of that religion.
Now, 9 years later, it's clear that some Americans have forgotten the horror caused by these terrorists, and they expect us to forget as well. However, forgetting is not an option.
Even though we don't show the pictures anymore except on the anniversary of September 11. We don't talk about those responsible for plotting and carrying out these deadly terrorist attacks against America. We're told we can't be angry. We are expected to blindly accept the hatred for America in the name of tolerance. Under this guise of "religious tolerance," we're told we must allow a mosque to be built near Ground Zero.
No one disagrees with the legal right to build a mosque, but the builder's decision is ill-advised and it's insensitive. This is a building where the landing gear from one of the hijacked planes tore through the roof.
The media scolds those of us who disagree with this building. They say to be tolerant, be respectful and accepting of other people's religions. But why is not the same expected of those individuals? Is this really about tolerance?
The day the two planes hit the World Trade Center, that piece of land in New York City took on a whole new meaning. Ground Zero is no longer just a location in New York. It is a symbol of America as powerful as the stars and stripes. It is hallowed ground of the victims who were victimized because of hate.
Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the Ground Zero mosque, should instead build a memorial to the victims of the radical Muslim extremists instead of a mosque. That would be sensitive. That would be compassionate.
The history books show "victory mosques" have been built in or near locations of Muslim conquests throughout history. In 1453, Mehmed II, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, conquered Constantinople. One of his first acts was to convert a Christian church for more than 900 years, the Hagia Sophia, into a mosque.
Iman Rauf calls his project the Cordoba House. The first great mosque of Cordoba was built by medieval Islamic invaders. They built it on the site of a ransacked Roman Catholic cathedral in Spain. The name Cordoba--is that just a coincidence, the Cordoba mosque initiative at Ground Zero, too many in America thinks this mirrors history too closely.
One of our greatest freedoms in America is our right to worship as we please. Our Nation was founded on liberty and freedom for everyone. Do not Muslims, like most religions and cultures, believe in tolerance and respect for other religions?
Thousands of sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers at this very moment are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They're fighting the terrorists in the deserts and in the rough mountain terrain. Thirty-five American warriors from my congressional district area gave their lives in these two wars. They died protecting us from these same