Call me crazy. But if a bunch of American militiamen wanted to erect (pun intended) a jingoistic skyscraper at the site of the Hiroshima nuclear blast, I’d say they were wrong. How about a German patriot with a yen for a Nazi memorial at Bergen Belsen? Bad idea. Maybe a tribute to Slobodan Milosevic at the University of Prishtina in Kosovo? A Jackie Mason roast at the Arab Hotel Association’s annual banquet in Ramallah? What, you think I’m being ridiculous?
A Sufi Imam, who said publicly that the US deserved the destruction wreaked upon us on 911, wants to build a mosque at Ground Zero and anyone who thinks that’s a bad idea is a racist pig who is not only bigoted, but also some kind of twisted, red-neck ethnocentrist who opposes the principles upon which this nation was founded.
I am fed up with this debate. I’m sick of Katie Couric and Chris Mathews and the liberal chicks on The View. I’m not buying the “bridge building” b.s. coming out of the media. And who in their right mind is suggesting that opposition to the Ground Zero mosque is some kind of impingement on religious freedom? Of course Muslims have the right to practice their religion. But their rights don’t exclude them from having to practice common dignity for their fellow Americans. The mere insensitivity of proposing this religious icon on a site where thousands of American civilians were slaughtered in the name of that same religion’s supreme spiritual leader, is so absurd that it belongs in a Saturday Night Live skit, not in the center of a National debate.
Rights in this country are not absolute. We have freedom of speech. However, try yelling the word “hijack” in a busy airport terminal and see what kind of reception you get. We have the right to bear arms too. But it might work out poorly if you send your 5 year old to school with your AK47 for show and tell. Likewise, we all have the guarantee of religious freedom. But with that freedom comes responsibility.
If Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is such a “bridge builder,” why not start by constructing his idealogical viaduct somewhere other than Ground Zero? Over 70% of Americans oppose the idea of this mosque at this location. That’s not bigoted. The fact is, Feisal has set off a divisive, emotional powder keg. Wouldn’t the better “bridge building” technique be to find a location that respected all people?
If Feisal truly wanted to spread the peaceful word of Islam, why would he choose to alienate three quarters of the people to whom he is supposedly reaching out? Am I to believe that there is no other appropriate site in all of New York city for this mosque? Well, here’s an idea. Since I want to be part of the solution and not part of the unending, idiotic debate, I’m going to start a coalition to locate a more suitable mosque location in the Big Apple.
I’ve got some great ideas. Very out-of-the-box. For example, why not add a quaint little black box theatre and put the mosque in Soho? Or even better, we can reach out to the latino community and build the mosque in Spanish Harlem. Maybe Feisal should consider attracting more discreet, upscale parishioners and moving the mosque to Park Ave. It could have a charming little tea shop or cappuccino bar within its confines. There’s Wall Street, China Town, Gramercy Park, Brooklyn…The list is truly endless.
Let’s make it a contest. I know you native New Yorkers will be all over this. Send in your proposed NYC mosque locations by September 5th. We’ll pick a winner, award some meaningless prize and then send the entire list off to our beloved Imam.
How’s that for some good old American ingenuity?
Bill Maher got it right: Maybe if America, or NYC, would have built something there sometime during the last nine years, like they had proposed, there wouldn’t be anything to debate.
Ron Paul also got it right: Forget the debate and focus on fixing the economy
I agree with everything you said! Well put. How about a Stanton Island site for the mosque? But I really think it should be built in the neighborhood of those patriotic NY media and governmental officials. Keep up the good work!
What has happened to the concept that your freedom stops where my freedom begins? It’s the basis of compromise that has allowed us to live at peace with our multicultural neighbors in these United States.
My suggestion would be a multi-religion facility at that site or anywhere it is legal and up to code. A mosque, a synagogue, a cathedral and a church walk into a bar … What better way to engage in peaceful coexistence?
Excellent essay! I could not have expressed it better. Wanna run for office? You have my vote. Excellent blog, by the way. Thanks for sharing.