Should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here
NYC Mayor Bloomberg.
I agree with the mayor.
These people have every legal right to construct a mosque on that property.
And that is the only reverent issue in this particular case.
The building of that mosque is not a deliberately provocative act. It not like a neo-Nazi group opening a storefront across the street from a synagogue at which Holocaust survivors worship.
The objections to this mosque are based on the overly emotional responses of people who claim that the WTC site is "sacred ground". This same claim is part of the reason why nothing has yet been built on the WTC--all proposals meet with bickering over what is appropriate to be built on "sacred ground".
The WTC site is not "sacred ground". It is the site of a horrendous tragedy, in terms of loss of lives, but it is not "sacred ground".
And I knew someone who died in one of the WTC towers on 9/11. I know that his pulverized remains are somewhere on that site, but I still do not regard the entire area as "sacred ground".
So how far away from the WTC site, and this "sacred ground", would one have to go before a mosque could be built without offending anyone? One mile? Three miles? Five miles? Manhattan is a small densely packed island. Available space is hard to come by. Who will decide what is an appropriate distance from the WTC for the building of a mosque?
That people feel that emotional sensibilities and sensitivities will be offended by the building of this mosque so close to the WTC might be true, but it is not an adequate objection, and it is an objection based on a biased and prejudicial attitude toward all Muslims which borders on the slightly irrational.
I am frankly surprised at this outpouring of hatred and suspicion and prejudice toward all Muslims based on what a small group of Islamic extremists did on 9/11 as an act of terrorism. When we start reacting to all members of a religious group, on the basis of the attitudes and behaviors of a small radical group in their midst, we have fallen prey to the evils of stereotyping and bigotry. And we make ourselves as bigoted and hate filled as those people we claim to deplore.
Al Qaeda achieved no victory on 9/11. They were not looking for victory, they were not looking to conquer Manhattan. They staged a terrorist attack only to wreak death and destruction, and that they did accomplish, beyond their wildest dreams. And Al Qaeda does not speak for or represent all Muslims, and there is no reason for any rational person to make the assumption that they do, or to assume that all Muslims represent some sort of threat and the sight of their mosques represents an assault on our sensibilities and sensitivities.
A mosque in the general vicinity of the WTC site is no more offensive or inappropriate than a mosque in any other part of NYC. NYC is one of the most ethnically diverse places on earth. It embraces all religions and their houses of worship, and it should continue to do so.
If we start letting our prejudices and stereotypes and irrational fears trample on other people's rights to built a lawful house of worship, we will be handing those 9/11 murderers a victory they do not deserve. We will be allowing them to erode our democratic principles and constitutional rights. I, for one, am not prepared to hand them that victory.
I think they should be allowed to built the mosque.