The Mosque near Ground Zero

August 19, 2010

Well, recent news reports that the site for the much debated “ground zero mosque” might be moved to another area in New York, a move gaining support from inside and out of the Muslim community.

I find it very strange that where a faith group in America decides to build a place of worship can become such a social hot-button issue–so much so that those outside of the faith itself can rant and rave enough to coerce a move of the planned spot for building the place of worship on even. Afterall, though the mosque was planned to be built near the spot where the towers fell, it wasn’t being built on the exact spot! The planned building site was in the area, over from the site of the tragedy but close enough to have been littered with debris during that horrible time.

As other reports and op-eds have pointed out, a major overlooked part of all of this is that nothing else is being actively built and renovated in the area. At least a place of worship complete with a youth and community center for people of all or no faith(s) would be a spot of renewal and growth in an otherwise vacant area. If this spot is sacred ground, as so many are keen to point out, then isn’t it far past time a memorial and a true marker of rememberance is built?

But back to the mosque. The spot where this particular Muslim community wanted to build was private property and the decision to build there should have been no one’s but their own and the only consultants at any time should have been the proper zoning and building authorities. A lot of attention by certain outlets has pointed to angry and over-blown messages from Sarah Palin and New Gingrich via Twitter and other social networking sites early in the Mosque planning stages that led to this becoming a matter of national debate.  Now we have those on one side screaming horrific sterotypes, much of which are rooted in pain that they have gone through and mourning they are still going through that prevent them from looking at things objectively but we also have those on the other side assuming race and religion based prejudice can erupt at any time as a result, so warnings to avoid that are prevelant. Which in turn makes those decrying the mosque already even more angry becasue they feel the Left assumes any disagreement over an issue is based on the Right’s bigotry.

Such are the times of modern American politics. For any who truly thought the issues of race, religious tolerance, and overt public prejudice were a thing of the past, think again.

Yet at the center of all of this still stands a community of faith seeking to build a place of worship now that they’ve outgrown their smaller building. If they truly seek to build elsewhere now, and if they feel this will ease the public outcry, then that is what they should do. Yet if they feel that building a place of peace and worship that is consonant with their religion near a spot of horrific tragedy where terrible acts of politics were given the stamp of religion falsely and in distortion is what they are led to do, then that is what they should do. The bottom line is, it’s no one in America’s business where a church or a temple is built as long as no one is threatened or coerced in the process. I hope that issues like this can lead to a wider discussion of interfaith values, but sadly real Faith and true religious service to peace are topics not popular enough to draw the ratings in here in the US.


2 Responses to “The Mosque near Ground Zero”

  1. beau said

    Great post. I hope this will lead to actual dialogue and not just more stereotypes.

  2. david said

    such is the nature of American politics. American’s don’t want informed representatives, they want ‘fiesty’ characters, and entertainers. Representatives don’t have to know what they are talking about, they just need to appeal to their base.

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