First off like it or not we have people in this country who follow Islam and like it or not we also have religious freedom in this country. These are facts. The other fact is this is, for the most part, not a Mosque as we think of it but more of a Islamic Center with a worship space in it. And it is being put in a building that already exists and it is, as far as I can tell, two blocks from “ground zero” Again I don’t think it should be there because of the symbolism of the whole thing.
Several years ago in Belmont, Massachusetts the Mormons wanted to build one of their Temples. They are all built the same and have very large towers with a golden angel on the top. It took years to get the necessary approval for this to be built. It came down to the people in the town did not want the Mormons there. Well that is discrimination and that is not right. I hate to say this but not all Muslims are terrorists!
At the base of one of the Towers, was St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. A very old Church that stood there for years. It was completely destroyed when the towers came down. The parish has been trying to rebuild the church low these many years and has been negotiating with the Port Authority. It seems that talk have broken down, and depending on who you talk too, you get a different story of why the talks broke down. Here is a story from FoxNews that will bring you up to date. There is no need for me to go into all the details you can read them yourself.
Several weeks ago, a candidate for Congress from New York who is Greek started to make hay about the fact that the Mosque got approval but they church has been denied permission to build. That is not exactly the case. The church has been denied the right to build a dome that will rise above the proposed monument to the victims of 9/11. Nothing can be higher than the monument, the same regulation that exists in Washington, DC by the way. The Mosque is not at the site and cannot even be seen from the site. Again I am against building the thing, but lets tell the truth and not just use emotions to rally people to the cause.
In my opinion what needs to happen is everyone needs to take a deep breath and step back a little on this one. Should the church be rebuilt? Yes. Should the Islamic Center be built? No. This is a very complex issue. Nothing will happen overnight so there is time to go back to the table and talk.
UPDATE: It was pointed out to me that I did not explain why I am opposed to this being built. My objection and I will admit it is a little flimsy, is on the grounds of perception. I agree that they, as well as any religion, has the right to build a church, temple, mosque wherever they want as long as it is within the laws of the place they wish to build. I support the right of anyone to practice whatever religion they wish to practice even if it goes against my very beliefs. I also support peoples right to oppose building this, another right we have in this country. So for me its the symbolism more than anything else. Kind of light I know and maybe after more thought and prayer I would change that decision. But I think this will be a lightening rod for people and it might be better to be built in another location. I would ask this question. Why this place? Why right there?