While I have not commented upon the controversy in New York about the Ground Zero mosque..er...community center
, it isn't because I don't have any to offer. Quite the contrary. It's only that nothing really spurred me to put words onto the 'net. That has changed.
An occasional commenter here posted her viewpoints about the Ground Zero mosque
and I felt compelled to answer her. Paulina and I rarely see eye to eye on anything, but I respect her opinions because, quite frankly, she tends to think things through before writing about them. There are times when she lets emotion override logic, but it occurs rarely (that I've seen). I think this is one of those times.
When I first heard about the "Ground Zero Mosque" a few weeks back, all the controversy made me think there was a plan to build a Hagia Sophia type structure right where the trade center stood. Turns out it's some sort of community center (gym, swimming pool, theater and a mosque) two blocks away from ground zero, planned by a Sufi (read: peaceful, Buddhist-like) Imam (Feisal Abdul Rauf, or whatever). Never mind that there is already a mosque four blocks away and that lower Manhattan was originally a very muslim community (back in the late 19th century it was called Little Syria) - why is it that the very people who like to get all outraged on behalf of the constitution are forgetting it's very first amendment?
I know why, of course. It's because most Americans and certainly most conservatives, like to think of America as a christian nation. They like to throw their bible into political arguments (gay marriage? no way - it's an abomination!). More importantly, they have found themselves a nice little enemy in Islam. What used to be a multifaceted religion practiced by nearly a third of the world's population, is now equated with intolerant governments and terrorism. The idea that Islam is a violent religion is now somehow taken as a fact. And this I also understand. We all need an "other" to hate or put down. I myself have an "other" in conservatives and all religious fanatics, christian and muslim alike. Still, it is the intolerance and bigotry that piss me off the most when it comes to my "others" and so I've decided that it would be an excellent idea to build and actually mosque, with minarets and all, right there next to where the trade center stood, to symbolize the hope for tolerance and peace.
So the reason for the opposition is because we're all Muslim-hating, intolerant conservativs, and worse, Christians? Yeah. Right.
Here was my comment to her post:
We're told we must be tolerant of other beliefs, primarily Islam. However the reverse isn't true, as seen every day by the likes of the media, academia, the government, and the multi-culti proselytizers. Those of us of Judeo-Christian beliefs must not be tolerated because, after all, It's-All-Our-Fault. The Muslim community in New York has shown great insensitivity to the feelings and beliefs of those who lost loved ones on That Terrible Day. It is they who are showing intolerance, not those protesting against something they see as a slap in the face.
The argument has been made in other places that there are already churches, strip joints, and an OTP parlor surrounding Ground Zero, so why should building a mosque create such a controversy? It's simple, really. They were already there on That Terrible Day.
Frankly, if the mosque had also been there on That Terrible Day, I doubt there would be nearly as much opposition to it. There might even have been none. But that isn't the case here.
Whether the intentions of those wanting to build the new community center are good or otherwise, I believe they could have handled it differently which might have lessened the opposition to it. Instead, they sprang it on the people of New York with little or no notice, something they should not have done. It showed insensitivity. Did they really expect any different response under those circumstances?