Ground Zero Mosque Would Convince Muslims Not to Join Al Qaeda, Former Military Interrogator Says

September 1, 2010 - 3:38 PM
Building the Ground Zero mosque is a necessary gesture of goodwill to keep the growth of terrorism in the Muslim world at bay, according to a former senior Air Force interrogator. 

Supporters and media gather at a rally in support near the intended site of an Islamic center and mosque near the World Trade Center, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

(CNSNews.com) – Building the Ground Zero mosque is a necessary gesture of goodwill to keep the growth of terrorism in the Muslim world at bay. That is the position of Matthew Alexander, a former senior Air Force interrogator in Iraq and author of How to Break a Terrorist.
 
“Building this mosque will deprive Al Qaeda of its number one recruiting tool, and by doing that will help bring an end to this conflict,” Alexander said.
 
Alexander (a psedonym) claims that construction of the planned Islamic cultural center near the site where terrorists flew planes into the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center -- killing 2,752 people -- is an issue of national security.
 
“Our national security strategy can’t be based on stopping terrorist attacks. That will be an endless whack-a-mole strategy, if you will, for the next 200 years if we decide to do that. Our national security strategy has to be based on stopping Al Qaeda’s ability to recruit new fighters.
 
Alexander spoke with CNSNews.com during a conference call Wednesday hosted by Faith in Public Life, a liberal religious group that describes itself as “a strategy center advancing faith in the public square as a positive and unifying force for justice, compassion and the common good.”
 
CNSNews.com asked Alexander “why building an Islamic community center in New York City, which already has over 100 mosques, is so vital to national security?”
 
He replied: “It’s the debate that has made it important to national security because now it is in the spotlight.
 
“When someone approaches them [Muslims] from Al Qaeda and tries to recruit them and convince them that Americans don’t stand for the principles of freedom and justice and that we are at war with Islam, something like the debate over this mosque can seriously influence that person’s decision.”
 
Fear of a growing Al Qaeda may lead Alexander to support construction of the mosque, however, another kind of fear drives the majority of Americans in a different direction and led many to protest the mosque: the fear that an American tragedy is being forgotten.
 
A recent CNN/Opinion Research poll reported that 68 percent of Americans oppose the construction of a mosque near Ground Zzero. Lawmakers such as Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) have stated that the construction of the mosque is insensitive in light of its location. Even the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) made a statement opposing the mosque.
 
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Transcript of exchange between CNSNews.com and Matthew Alexander
 
CNSNews.com: It was mentioned that building this mosque is vital to U.S. national security. I was hoping you could explain why building an Islamic community center in New York City, which already has over 100 mosques, is so vital to national security?
 
Matthew Alexander: This is Matthew. I’ll say, I think this is extremely important to national security because of the debate over it. Not because it was ever going to be planned. It’s the debate that has made it important to national security because now that it is in the spot light, and because Muslims around the world are listening to the debate, it goes back to what I was saying. There are vulnerable populations out there that follow the actions of the United States. And when someone approaches them from Al Qaeda and tries to recruit them and convince them that Americans don’t stand for the principles of freedom and justice and that we are at war with Islam, something like the debate over this mosque can seriously influence that person’s decision. So in that respect I think it is important to our national security. It goes back again to what I said before. Our national security strategy can’t be based on stopping terrorist attacks. That will be an endless whack-a-mole strategy, if you will, for the next 200 years if we decide to do that. Our national security strategy has to be based on stopping Al Qaeda’s ability to recruit new fighters.