In recent weeks, there has been a controversy concerning a new building project in Lower Manhattan. Just a few blocks from where the Twin Towers once stood before the tragic events of 9/11, a new Islamic center is in the works. The project has come even further toward fruition when the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, gave the green light for the project to move forward. However, the popular opinion remains quite divided. Some stand on the grounds that it would be wrong of our country to allow the building of such a facility just a few blocks from where members of a radical sect of that faith slammed two aircraft into the buildings as part of a larger attack that killed over 3000 that day. Others state that they have the right to build a religious edifice anywhere they desire and that we must not play favorites with religion, even on one of the most hallowed grounds in the nation.
It is best to investigate this issue from three angles. The first being the civil liberties involved, rights of property and the freedom of free exercise. In the United States, you may do with your property as you please so long as it is not physically infringing on the property rights of others. This proposed Islamic center is simply not violating any code or regulations, either for the area it is to be placed or the general land management regulations for the City of New York. On the issue of free exercise, we have in this nation the intrinsic right to worship as we please and, in most cases, where we please. A key factor is the political atmosphere surrounding the funding of the community center and its leader, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. It is true that while the Imam has made some rather inflammatory statements over the years, he is within his constitutional rights to speak his mind so long as he is not inciting his followers to conduct jihad from his pulpit. If so, he is violating the law. The question of should he continue to hold such extreme views on some of these things he supports is one for he himself to decide. On the matter of funding, that has been confidential thus far. However, a simple request for information under the auspices of various transparency laws including the PATRIOT Act could be used to find out if any money came from unholy sources. If so, then legal proceedings can be taken to deal with the problem.
The final point is name for the proposed facility, Cordoba House. Cordoba, if any are up on their Spanish history, is where the Muslim Moors defeated the Christian Visgothic kingdoms of the region in the year 711. Some linked the naming of the building to the attacks of 9/11 as a victory symbol of jihad. This is the most likely reason for the intensity of controversy beyond the obvious sensitivity objection. This is evidenced by the fact that there has been a mosque near the Pentagon for years and few have raised any objection to the building there. However, this problem is relatively easy to solve. Private individuals should use their capital to buy up the neighboring buildings and create two shops. A gay bar called Granada, named for the city of the final defeat of Moors in 1492, and a women’s lingerie shop called Isabella’s, for the queen who mounted armor and took the field that day to make the victory over Islam possible. This would ensure that freedom of property is maintained as well as produce excellent revenue opportunities as the Islamic center is not taxable. Furthermore, gay Muslim men can have a nice cold beer after prayer and Muslim women can find something new to please their husbands. Every one wins, everybody profits and the Imam can now practice what he preaches when he talks about Islamic and Western coexistence.
Cordoba House: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cordoba_House
Feisal Abdul Rauf: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feisal_Abdul_Rauf