I oppose the building of a mosque and cultural center near the World Trade Center site. I do not trust the motives of the project leaders. The imam of the proposed mosque has made several disturbing statements. The site of the mosque is an obvious affront to all Americans. We were all victims of Sept. 11, 2001.
And yet, it is important that the prevention of this project be accomplished in a legal manner. Despite my mistrust of the project leaders, none of us can look into the hearts and minds of others and determine their motives. I am not a lawyer, but I don’t believe that we can use alleged evil motivation as a reason to prevent the building of a mosque.
Is there another way to stop the building of this mosque? The sponsors of the mosque tell us that its purpose is to heal the wounds of 9/11. A memorial to the victims of 9/11 will be built in the cultural center and the image of all Muslim-Americans will be improved. Muslim-Americans should realize that just the opposite will happen. The overwhelming percentage of Americans will consider the mosque an insult and demeaning to the memory of the victims of 9/11. The image of Muslim-Americans will not be improved. It will be considered an insensitive act. The negative reaction to the planned construction of the mosque should make this obvious.
There is a way to accomplish the stated purpose of the building of the mosque and cultural center. Include the memorial to 9/11 and open the cultural center to all faiths as planned. However, I suggest that the sponsors of this project move the site to a less sensitive location to demonstrate their sensitivity, understanding, and friendship. Americans have no problem with the construction of religious buildings. This simple act will truly be a healing step and deservedly improve the image of all Muslim-Americans.
Gov. Paterson of New York offered the sponsors an easy out. He offered them a different, less sensitive location. The sponsors quickly rejected the offer. They lost an opportunity to demonstrate their sensitivity to the feelings of most Americans.
And last Friday, President Obama endorsed the building of the mosque near Ground Zero. Bad advice to the Muslim-American community.