Saturday, August 21, 2010


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.


JorgenMan said...

It kills me when opponents of the mosque talk about it as if it were built right on top of the trade center plot. Then they continue the misrepresentation by saying the property should be designated a historic site. People hear this and think, "Yeah! Ground Zero should be a historic site!"

It's not at Ground Zero. The historic preservation that they're supposedly concerned about is to preserve the Italian Renaissance-style building that sits there now. It has nothing to do with 9/11, and is a completely ridiculous facade for denying people their freedom of religion.

Mommy Bee said...

I'm sure you know you're preaching to the choir with this one (or, is it more accurate to say "I'm in the choir" on this one?)
In any case, well put. I posted the link on Facebook. Many of my friends feel this way, but I've seen a few of them join groups opposing the mosque (which, whattheheck do they think that will accomplish? but I digress) I can only hope that if enough of us speak out to the logical side of things that more folks will realize how brainwashed they have been by closed-minded 'conservative' chatterboxes.

Katrina said...

Thanks for this post. I have had my doubts about this controversy and have wanted the facts (but kept forgetting to look them up for myself), so it's good to know what's really going on, including the fact that it's not actually at Ground Zero. I had the feeling the arguments against it were based on fear rather than fact.

Tim said...

Thanks for your comments.
I remain amazed that so many people are opposed to this. I guess that a lot of people still equate all Muslims with terrorism.

Meanwhile, the real terrorists are using this to try to claim that Islam and the U.S. are in a holy war, and people like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin are doing the exact same thing on our side...