Thursday, August 19, 2010

Questions for proposed NYC mosque opponents

August is traditionally a slow news month, but the ongoing debate over a proposed mosque near Ground Zero has proven anything but tranquil.

As I write this blog in my apartment here in Bushwick, an Italian news reporter is discussing the controversy from lower Manhattan. Everyone can almost certainly agree it remains extremely important to acknowledge the nearly 3,000 people, including Muslims (and not the terrorists who co-opted Islamic teachings to justify their own barbaric acts), lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. That said, however, this controversy continues to prompt the very direct question I posed on long-time contact Joelle Ruby Ryan’s Facebook page the other day: Would anyone question a proposal to build a Roman Catholic or Christian church or Jewish synagogue in the former Burlington Coat Factory building near Ground Zero?

The answer to this question is arguably obvious to those who support the proposed Cordoba House on Park Place, but it remains necessary to reiterate the challenge I posed to those on Joelle’s Facebook thread who expressed their opposition to the planned mosque: Talk with a person who identifies themselves as Muslim, attend services in a mosque or even travel to a Muslim-majority country before coming to any conclusion about whether this facility is/isn’t appropriate. The last thing this country needs is yet another talking head expressing their self-professed outrage over the proposed mosque in order to garner more ratings for their program, yet another self-serving politician who seeks to rally their base ahead of the upcoming mid-term elections or yet another average citizen who forms their opinion on the Cordoba House without understanding the facts (or what the above mentioned talking heads and self-serving politicians profess is true in order to further promote their own interests).

Let's all take a collective breath...

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