Sacred ground

August 14, 2010

I was glad to hear the arguments of Obama and Bloomberg regarding the mosque and community center planned for downtown NYC.  At first, I thought it was a bad idea although I didn’t think it should be stopped in any way.  I thought it was bad because I thought it was part of the WTC redevelopment plan, and I couldn’t understand why anyone would be so silly as to include an Islamic community center as part of the memorial. 

Well, I was totally wrong!  It has nothing to do with the memorial.  It’s an independent organization that has existed for years, as have several mosques already in the downtown area, and they were looking to expand and provide more services.  Full steam ahead, I say.  The opponents appear to be emotional bigots – it’s really that simple.  Muslim = terrorism, that’s the equation.

One letter in the NYTimes today says that it’s stupid to talk of  “abstract principles” like religious freedom in this case.  People are “scarred” by the events of 9/11.  I guess we should just burn the US Constitution then.  Who needs the Bill of Rights?

Another writer said that it’s as if the Germans wanted to build a cultural center across the street from the Auschwitz death camp.  Of course, Auschwitz isn’t located in the densely built downtown district of a major city – it’s pretty much out in the country, and to build a center there would make no sense…except as a provocation. 

Lots of people talk about the horror, the insult, the indignity of a Muslim house of worship in such “close proximity” to the sacred earth of the WTC site.  Meanwhile, the area is thronged with gawking tourists, vendors peddling memorabilia, the most famous discount department store in the world, Century 21, does a brisk business right across the street!!  Can’t they move their emporium somewhere else?  Then we can start banging on Brooks Brothers’ doors.  Let’s turn the whole area into a somber and quiet memorial to that day of horror…oops, forgot about the hi-rise office towers currently going up on the site…


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