I have been arguing with myself for weeks over the proposed Islamic center that is being built near (not on) the Ground Zero location in New York. After reading a lot of articles and opinion pieces, I have finally found where I fall on this debate. I am also linking a great article from CNN.com at the end of the article.
If you ask me if this Islamic Center should be allowed to be built, I will say “hell yes!”. First, we have freedom of religion in this country. That freedom applies to all major religions, not just Christianity. Second, there are other churches and mosques within the same distance or closer. Why is adding another one so unthinkable?
I have heard the excuse that this center would be a slap in the face to the families that had a loved one die on that fateful day. Just for the record, American Muslims were in those towers and died that day too. That point is not very strong at all. I have also heard people mention that this would be a shrine to terrorism. That point is crazier than saying the oldest churches in Europe are a shrine to terrorism since those churches were forcefully converted from Pagan temples to Christian churches. How many millions of people were killed by Christians during the witch hunts?
Additionally, you need to think long and hard before you start asking the government to prevent a religious center to be built. What happens when that religious center is one that you approve of being built? What if the government decides to prevent churches from being built near the places where self-described Christian terrorists strike? That is a fine line to be walking.
Now that you’re either screaming at my blog with blood boiling or thinking that I am a pleasant Liberal, I am going to answer another question. Should they build this Islamic Center near Ground Zero? No, I don’t think they should. This center is going to be the center of controversy for years, maybe even decades. People will protest, throw rocks through the windows and vandalize the place. If I were a Muslim living in NY I would ask them not to build this building. This building has erased most of the progress that the American Muslim communities have made in repairing their reputation in America. This building is going to bring back those unwarranted fears and hatred that we as a country should be working to expel from our collective mindset.
If I were a Muslim living in New York, I would not go to this center. The hassle of protesters and the threat of violence would send me down the street to another mosque.
In the end, the Islamic center should be allowed to be built, but the people behind this would be very wise to find another location. I just think we need to leave it up to the people involved in building this center and the people that they are targeting as their base customers.