Both CNN and Fox News reported that 85% of the American people are closely watching the controversy associated with the proposed Mosque to be built a few blocks away from ground zero, the site of the 9/11 attacks. Few newsworthy issues have captivated so many people. Except, of course, when Tiger Woods got caught in bed with half the women in the free world. We do love dirty laundry.
I don’t know the exact numbers, but the country is pretty much divided on the Mosque issue. On the left, the liberals are pointing to the Constitution and quoting the freedoms all Americans enjoy. On the right, the Conservatives are having a coronary, claiming that building a Mosque so close to ground zero is tantamount to treason.
Both sides have valid arguments. And both sides are right. Here lies the quandary. Muslims do have the right to build a Mosque anywhere they please, provided they comply with all City of New York ordinances and legal guidelines for construction. On the other hand, it’s hard for anyone to ignore the emotional relationship between 9/11 and Islam. How could any New Yorker not be infuriated? So, what’s the answer?
I’m huge on rights, freedom, and anything related to the Constitution. In fact, sometimes I wish we would reinstate the original document without all the amendments and modifications. What started out to be one of the most brilliantly-drafted documents in history, has been tattered and torn by our elected officials. But that’s an issue for another post.
Muslims worldwide are trying desperately to segregate themselves from the extremists that promote violence, and to build a bridge to span the differences between Islam and western nations. They claim that they are a peace-loving religion and that Islam does not support terrorism. My question is this: of all the possible sites for this Mosque in New York City—and there are many choices—they decided to build it only blocks from ground zero, knowing full well that over 8 million New Yorkers, not to mention more than half the country, would go berserk? Isn’t this decision a little “in your face”?
If Muslims truly wanted to promote peace and mutual understanding with the western world, wouldn’t it have been a noble gesture for them to say, “You know what, the site near ground zero is an ideal location for our Mosque. However, knowing the sensitivity that all Americans feel toward 9/11, out of respect, Islam will not consider this site for our Mosque.”
I’m 100% for freedom. But in extreme situations, common sense and respect must trample all over our rights.