Sometimes an issue appears that allows those with underlying prejudices to give vent to them while claiming the fig leaf of arguing a particular point….I think the argument over the building of the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” has brought out a lot of people who incorrectly blame all Muslims for 09/11 and/or who just hate Muslims in general.
Case in point is the definition of what is actually being created here….It’s not just a mosque per say rather it’s a Muslim cultural center which will include a mosque (as well as a swimming pool and restaurant).
The other point worth mentioning here is it’s not exactly at Ground Zero but rather 500 feet nearly two blocks away….Hardly in the shadow of the 9/11 site.
Many of the arguments against the construction of the building are built on faulty illegal premises….For example comparing it to building a German community center near Auschwitz….One can’t deny that Nazism was a key part of the German identity in the 30’s leading up to World War II….Islam is a broad religious faith with many different types of practitioners….The Islam in Saudi Arabia has not so much in common with the Islam of Malaysia or for that matter Uzbekistan and the other Central Asian states in terms of the effect it has on their societies and the way in which it is practiced.
In addition, The USA has scrupulously avoided any hint that it may be at war with Islam itself (even if their actions don’t necessarily follow their deeds) The argument that there should be no Muslim community center near Ground Zero seems to send the exact opposite message.
The intent of what the community center is trying to accomplish is another point of debate. Is it a gesture of Islamic warfare with America, as a perceived victory symbol….ummm no here’s what those who are behind the project had to say (excerpted from the New York Times)
The location was precisely a key selling point for the group of Muslims who bought the building in July. A presence so close to the World Trade Center, “where a piece of the wreckage fell,” said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric leading the project, “sends the opposite statement to what happened on 9/11.”
“We want to push back against the extremists,” added Imam Feisal, 61.