In an article titled "Cordoba House: Muslims Should Exercise Caution," former Royal Saudi Navy commodore and former Saudi Royal Navy liaison officer at Pensacola Naval Air Station (1991-95) Abdulateef Al-Mulhim describes how he practiced his religion undisturbed across the U.S. during his years studying and living there. He states, "When I watched the collapse of the World Trade Center and the rescue efforts done by the people of New York, I knew for sure that someone I know was a victim or a rescue member," and writes of his classmates and others who were killed there.
"[T]he U.S. is the most tolerant country regarding building an Islamic center," he writes, adding, "but why [did] Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf choose Ground Zero [as a location for build Cordoba House]?"
He concludes by saying, "We Muslims have to carefully consider the place where the mosque will be built... The Muslim community in New York is living in peace and prosperity and has a lot of places for worship. Let us not have them encounter unneeded confrontations with the people from the great and beautiful Big Apple City."
The following is his article:
"The U.S. Is the Most Tolerant Country Regarding Building An Islamic Center – But Why [Did] Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf Choose Ground Zero?"
"When I arrived in New York City in the summer of 1975 to attend the State University of New York’s Maritime College after a brief vacation from my English course at Lackland Air Force Base, the first thing I did after checking at the school was to drive to Manhattan and visit the World Trade Center.
"I was accompanied by two friends, my classmates Thamer Radwan (Saudi) and Abdullah Alkhojah (Libyan). The size of the two buildings was breathtaking. They looked invincible.
"From that time I kept frequenting the WTC on many occasions to the point where I lost count after 20 times. Everyone in the family visited it at least four times. Last time I was there in March 2001 when I was tasked by the Saudi Royal Navy with hiring American English instructors for the navy students.
"When I was in the U.S. studying in New York (1975-1979) and later on stationed at Pensacola Naval Air Station as the Saudi Royal Navy liaison officer (1991-1995), I had been to every single state in the U.S. I drove on every highway and used every airport you can think of. During all that time I never had any problem praying and practicing Islam. As a matter of fact, the American people are the most admired for their respect of the Islamic religion. We prayed everywhere – in the classroom, the office, airports and in any highway exit. So Islam can be practiced anywhere without any fanfare or prestigious mosque. The U.S. is the most tolerant country regarding building an Islamic center. But why [did] Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf choose Ground Zero?"
On 9/11, "Terrorists Not Only Hijacked Four Airplanes, But They Hijacked Islam and the Reputation of Over One Billion Muslims"
"On Sept. 11, 2001, some terrorists not only hijacked four airplanes, but they hijacked Islam and the reputation of over one billion Muslims, and caused the total destruction of two Muslim countries (Afghanistan and Iraq).
"When I watched the collapse of the World Trade Center and the rescue efforts done by the people of New York, I knew for sure that someone I know was a victim or a rescue member. Two weeks later I received an e-mail from the Maritime College Alumni Association announcing the death of two of the school graduates. One is from the class of 1963 and the other from the class of 1986 (I will not mention their names). Another very close friend of mine and from the same class (1979) left one of the burning towers 15 minutes before it collapsed. Now I am emotionally more hurt than before. Other American classmates were involved in the aftermath operation. Tug transportation, fire fighters and police force. I think I know them all.
"If my memory serves me right, the Maritime College band was given the honor to sing the American national anthem at the Yankee Stadium when the baseball season started after the 9/11-attack stoppage. Even when the names of the pilots who were flying the planes before they were hijacked were announced I held my breath, because some of my American classmates left the U.S. Navy to fly with Delta, United, American airlines... etc."
"In August 2005 I Visited the U.S. With My Eldest Son and Went To Ground Zero – I Could Not Control My Tears"
"In August 2005, I visited the U.S. with my eldest son and went to Ground Zero. I could not control my tears. I remembered the victims, especially the ones who went to the same school I did. Given the size of our school, maybe they used the same spoon I used or slept in the same room and slept on the same bed I slept on."
"We Muslims Have To Carefully Consider The Place Where The Mosque Will Be Built"
"This is why I think that we Muslims have to carefully consider the place where the mosque will be built. There are a lot of mosques in Manhattan and having the mosque near Ground Zero may bring more harm to the Muslims than good. There is freedom of religion, but there is a common sense too. Yes, President Barack Obama, the mayor of New York and some of the victims’ families did not object to building the mosque, but we as Muslims have to think about the future and our ties with the majority community of that country.
"The Muslim community in New York is living in peace and prosperity and has a lot of places for worship. Let us not have them encounter unneeded confrontations with the people from the great and beautiful Big Apple City."
 Arab News (Saudi Arabia), September 28, 2010. The text has been lightly edited for clarity.