The debate is growing, the protests increasing and the sides have been drawn.
There is a group proposing to build a mosque several blocks away from the World Trade Center, attacked in 2001 by Islamic terrorists, in a neighborhood that includes bars, strip clubs, and an off-track betting facility. Still, it is “hallowed ground” to many who oppose the Islamic Center – including politicians using it to batter President Obama. The President rightfully declared that the right to practice one's religion is an inalienable right and a cannon of our constitution.
This has led to increasing talk of moving the site of the proposed center, which is not a “mosque” as most people might envision it with a dome, minarets, and amplified calls to prayer but more like a YMCA or Jewish Community Center – architecturally plain with an auditorium, swimming pool, and meeting rooms as well as a prayer space (but no loud speakers).
The "Hallowed Ground" proponents understandably contend that the ashes of thousands of people remain at the Trade Center site. That building a mosque so close to that site, where all those people died, in the biggest American terrorist act ever committed by Islamic Extremist "spits on the graves of those 9/11 victims." They say that to build it so close is insensitive and an insult to the victims' families, especially since the attack was perpetrated in the name of Islam.
The Mosque supporters contend that they are not the Islamic extremists who attacked America on 9/11. Also, this is private property and as private citizens they have the right to build anything they want on it, as long as it is within New York City codes and regulations. One cannot contend that this is America, "land of the free and home of the brave" and legally or ethically prevent such religious expression, because doing so is UnAmerican.
There are alternatives being bandied about. Moving the site is one of them, but this is not supported by the Mosque supporters. Others have given their ideas on how to resolve the issue: one supported by the King of All Media, Howard Stern: allow the building of the Mosque, but permit them to place it smack on top of the new World Trade Center. Rather than our protests, wouldn't our resources be better spent on limiting our reliance on foreign oil and getting rid of our gas guzzling cars and trucks?
The name given to the "Freedom Tower" would certainly be hollow should it be built in a city where the Mosque is not permitted to be built. The plans include a memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives on that fateful day. It also will include 2.6 million square feet of office space, tenant amenity spaces, world-class restaurants, below-grade retail, and access to the PATH, subway, and World Financial Center. No doubt those plans will include a 7-11 and Duncan Donuts. I wonder if demonstrators will be present for the opening of those franchises.
Limiting our oil consumption and getting rid of fast food? I think not.
We American's have our limits.