The “Ground Zero Mosque” Debate: Salt On Our Wounds or the Perfect Band -aid?

As I have contended since I first acquainted myself with the matter at hand… Well, here’s reality: At this point, contentions are worthless. The odds are that any news following, somewhat politically aware individual will have by now developed their own opinion on the subject. Therefore, I’ve decided against simply stating my own opinion. If I say I support it, or I oppose it, anything else I have in mind is immediately supported or opposed. So here are some facts for anyone looking for some truth.

  • The proposed building is a Muslim community center, similar in that regard to a YMCA or a JCC. It will be open to the public – technically to everyone. It will house a nice basketball court, a good sized gym, a swimming pool, a culinary school, a 500 seat performing arts center, a center for several groups such as the Cordoba Initiative, a group devoted to harmony between Islam and America. In addition, the 15 storied building would house a prayer space for Muslims.
  • The proposed building is two blocks away from the site which has been labeled as “Ground Zero.” So it’s established that a far more accurate name for the building in question is the “two blocks away from Ground Zero Islamic community center.” It is clear that both Ground Zero and Mosque are misleading components of the structure’s widely publicized nickname.
  • The first sixteen words of the first amendment to the Constitution state that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In other words, regardless of the morality of the situation, it would be specifically “anti-American” and against the law to prevent the builders from doing their jobs.
  • Sarah Palin posted from her Twitter account, “Mr. President, should they or should they not build a mosque steps away from where radical Islamists killed 3000 people? Please tell us your position. We all know that they have the right to do it, but should they?” In this post, Mrs. Palin advocates simultaneously acknowledging a right while suppressing it. She acknowledges a law-given right and then insists against that same right being used. It’s interesting to note that Palin makes absolutely no distinction between “steps” and “blocks.”
  • Apparently, Sarah Palin has no problem with the little known strip club and adult video store within the very same proximity of Ground Zero. How could this be? If Ground Zero is some sort of sacred ground which cannot be in any way “desecrated,” what’s with those two dirty shops right next to it? The answer is that the Mosque has something that the sex shops don’t, and something that obviously angers certain people more than anything those filthy little shops could ever do. The answer: Muslims.

And here’s where I get opinionated. Sarah Palin and her conservative cronies object to this building because it’s a community center which will house a – gasp – Muslim prayer space. Indeed, most of the mosque objections have been along the same line. It’s something about those gosh darned Muslims that just ticks everyone off these days! Why? Isn’t it simple? Why, because the Twin Towers were destroyed on 9/11 by people who were – guess what – Muslims, of course. So doesn’t this make perfect sense? Well, not quite.

A crazy, insane, bloodthirsty group of vile human beings who use Islam as a veil for their thirst to kill breached American security and destroyed the WTC nine years ago. People have every right to be angry at the Islamic fundamentalists who flew planes into those buildings. There’s really no denying that.

But the people who would use this center are not them. Muslims in general had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. Terrorists who happened to be Muslim did, however. Those people should be punished, but Muslims as a whole should not be punished. That’s like punishing all white people today for what white people in the past have done regarding slavery. Just because people share skin color or creed does not make them equally responsible for the acts of all people who have something in common with them.

Salt in the wounds? Yeah, it will be, if the building is prevented. At that time, terrorists outside of our country will be able to sit back, high five, and celebrate because then they will know that they truly breached America. Then, they will have had the satisfaction of not only crumbling our towers to the ground, but watching the effects unfold as American society is turned against itself. And they will have been the ones to do it!

On the other hand….. I see this as an American “band-aid” of sorts. I firmly believe it. Its beauty is found in the signal it would send.  The nationalism and unity it could foster. We, the American people, could show those evil terrorists that we can rise above their petty acts of hatred. And then, the terrorists will have lost, and we, the American people, will have triumphed. And as an added bonus in my little fantasy, I picture Osama Bin Laden’s hateful face when he finds out that peaceful, non-radical Muslims want to build an actual building to create harmony between Islam and America. Just think of what he’d say when he discovered that the wife of the man behind the project doesn’t cover her body from head to toe.

No, this isn’t them rubbing salt in our wounds. This is us showing how much better we are than the Islamic societies who would never do this sort of thing if the tables were turned. We’re forgiving. We, unlike many other countries since the dawn of man, do not let the actions of the few speak for everybody else in a particular group. America is smarter than that. Bearing all of the facts in mind, it’s painfully obvious that any opposition to the Mosque lies in blatant racism, childish emotion, or simple ignorance. None of those three are good foundations for any decision. That’s what this debate boils straight down to: bigotry and intolerance. Take your pick.

I, for one, like to pick rational thinking. If people want to openly oppose it due to the fact that they simply hate Muslims, I guess that’s their opinion. But when the Mosque is a public community center, several blocks away from the site itself, clearly supported by the law, and could potentially be one way to spread peace and understanding… I certainly hope that opinion is not widespread.

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One Response to The “Ground Zero Mosque” Debate: Salt On Our Wounds or the Perfect Band -aid?

  1. Dan says:

    I personally would not be affected (or effected?) by this mosque, or by its absence, and in fact, would probably not even had known too much of its presence in the first place, were it not for all the media attention that’s been focused on it. Nevertheless, you may have overlooked one human component, in an attempt to be unilaterally objective and fair regarding the world in general: Those who actually lost relatives & friends, and who live/work nearby the area every day have perhaps a semi-justified aversion to an on-going painful reminder of the tragedy, constructed right in ‘their own back yard’, regardless of the background details of the perpetrators. If I murder a child, for example, the family would legitimately be perturbed to have you move in next door, despite you having had nothing to do with the crime, despite you being an upstanding law-abiding model citizen, and despite your legal right to buy a house near them. Still, their emotional wounds would no doubt heal better and faster without this extra reminder, even though overall idealism might dictate that it shouldn’t matter, and that every person should be judged purely on their own deeds. Therefore, if your reasons for moving into that house were totally valid, necessary and unavoidable, one could argue that the benefits to you would outweigh the drawbacks to the family that lost a child. To me, that’s a purer form of idealism, because since humans can not typically act only with logic and sense, a balance has to be struck with the emotional/psychological level, to determine what’s ‘fairest’, given the whole picture. That said, I have no idea whether a mosque at ground-zero benefits more people than it upsets; democracy may then dictate the best course of action, decided on by those actually involved, as opposed to you and/or I, who are not Muslim, and who suffered no personal loss on 9/11, and who will seldom ever be in that vicinity. Sometimes, rational thought alone doesn’t work for human beings, often to the detriment of society, but sometimes maybe for its betterment, because since none of us can claim to be totally immune from our own individual psychological make-up, we have to, to a degree, acknowledge the same about others, as if we were standing in their shoes. The human ingredient needs to be mixed into the recipe, whether it makes total logical sense or not. And then, whatever happens, some people will be very displeased while some will be very happy, and most will likely forget the issue pretty quickly and get on with their lives.

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