The proposed mosque near what used to be World Trade Center has many names: the Cordoba House, Park 51, the Ground Zero mosque. Unfortunately, it has become embroiled in controversy because it lies two blocks from Ground Zero. First, some facts.
1. Islam is composed of many different groups that believe many different things, much like Christianity is composed of many different groups that believe many different things. Equating those planning the mosque to those who caused 9/11 would be like equating a group of violent fundamental Christians who want to kill everyone who doesn't agree with them with the Catholic church. Sure, they share some religious beliefs. But enormous differences set them apart. Same with the group that wants to build the mosque. They're not connected to the 9/11 terrorists. In fact, they're sworn enemies.
2. Two blocks is a large distance in the area around Ground Zero. A Greek Orthodox church, a synagogue, and two Catholic churches sit just one block from Ground Zero, along with literally hundreds of businesses. (Google Maps is a great resource to look at the area). It's a crowded, diverse place. A mosque would fit right in, and would be a great asset to the many Muslims in the area. Another mosque already sits four blocks from the site. Again, very crowded, very diverse.
3. Make no mistake--the controversy about this mosque is spawned by conservative news organizations and conservative politicians in order to gain votes for the upcoming election. It's fearmongering at it's most base. It's bullying of the worst kind. It's the same kind of scapegoating that led the Nazis to kill the Jews and gypsies and led the U.S. to throw thousands of Japanese into what were basically prison camps. It should have no place in the civilized world.
4. Most of the people in Manhattan want this mosque built. The majority of it will serve as a recreational area, open to all people.
5. Originally, opponents of the mosque tried to stop it with lawsuits (alleging that the building should be designated a historic building, etc.) Now that those lawsuits failed, those same people say "of course those people can build there, because of the freedoms of the First Amendment, but building there would be insensitive." So apparently they're acknowledging those original lawsuits were an attempt to subvert the First Amendment...
I understand that ignorant, racist, or xenophobic people could view the move as insensitive. I have yet to hear an argument against the mosque that isn't based in ignorance, racism, or xenophobia. If you can find one, please point it out to me.
Did I mention that I despise bullies? Most grownups outgrow the bullying phase in high school. Or so I thought. Sigh.
Current mood: sad.