Plans to erect an sprawling Islamic cultural center directly adjacent to the site of the greatest attack on American soil has generated a plethora of controversy and public outcry that has put the president of the United States at the very center of it all.
Questions as to where the money is coming from to build it, and who exactly its leader, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, really is are likely unresolvable, yet add contention to the already contentious debate.
Even though New York currently boasts at least 30 mosques, Imam Feisal seems to think that there just isn’t enough room for Muslims to worship. That he has decided to erect a massive center of “peace” at the center of the September 11th attacks, however dubious and tasteless, is completely in keeping with local zoning laws and the US Constitution. Just as it is my right to obtain a vendor’s license and hire a cartoonist to sell cartoon drawings of Muhammad within blocks of the proposed Mosque. The mosque in question has ignited the country into such a frenzy that President Obama, whether he wanted to or not, was forced to weigh in and remind us of the constitution.
President Obama is no stranger to dealing in matters of controversy. Being the first African-American president and constantly bombarded with questions surrounding his birthplace has made him sort of a spokesperson for such matters. click here for video (video won’t embed)
“As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are. The writ of the Founders must endure.”
The President’s remarks sounded as though he was treating us as adults. In other wards, they were not just an outright rejection of the emotional arguments made against the mosque, but also a rejection (refudiation) of the opportunist remarks made by potential 2012 opponents such as Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.
Oddly enough, Muslim moderates known for the disgust of radical Islam seem to agree with the 70 percent of the country and strongly oppose the building of the mosque.
Zuhdi Jasser, a physician, US Navy veteran, and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, for example, adamantly opposes the ground zero mosque:
“For us, a mosque was always a place to pray, to be together on holidays – not a way to make an ostentatious architectural statement,” Jasser said. “Ground zero shouldn’t be about promoting Islam. It’s the place where war was declared on us as Americans.” To use that space for Muslim outreach, he argues, is “the worst form of misjudgment.”
There is absolutely no debating that the building of the mosque is a complete and utter affront to the people the Imams supposedly wish to make peace with (even though mosques are exclusive places of worship for Muslims), but the fact of the matter remains that the founding fathers, although deists and strident critics of religion, did not intend for us to extend the constitution to the religion we all like and know and deny it to the ones we dislike. Surely arguments of tolerating the intolerant can and should be made, but the underlying constitution principle remains and cannot be ignored so as to appease the masses.