Monday, August 16, 2010

The Mosque

Over the last few days, a media firestorm and frenzy has erupted over President Obama's comments made at the annual White House dinner celebrating the end of Rama Dan.  The President in remarks made during the affair asserted that those of the Islamic faith have every right to build a mosque on private property anywhere they want.  The President said this to affirm that the first amendment to the United States Constitution protected all faiths.

The very next day, the President appeared to amend his comments of the evening before when he said to a reporter that he stood by his viewpoint from the previous evening but was not going to make any comment regarding the wisdom of such a move.

Only radicals far to the right are making the assertion that Islam does not have the right to build a mosque only a couple of blocks from ground zero.  The most certainly do!  The constitution guarantees that.  But that is not the argument no matter how much the White House tries to spin it in this direction in order to take the political high ground.

This issue is one of sensitivity.  Nearly three thousand people were killed only  a stone's throw from the lot where the proposed mosque is to be built.  It was the blood of innocent Americans going about their daily business while providing a life for their families.  The terrorists behind the attack were Muslims.  That does not mean that they represent the entire faith!  But it does mean that when most people think of 9/11 they do think of the religion to which the killers belonged.

The mosque should not be built that close to the scene of the greatest attack on American soil by enemies determined to destroy our way of life.  But it is not a constitutional issue.  It is a matter of sensitivity to those who lost loved ones, family and friends, on that dark September day now nearly nine years in the past.

All clear thinking people know that the Islamic faith is not one composed mainly of blood-thirsty war mongers waiting for just the right time to kill as many Americans as possible.  We know that the Koran teaches compassion towards others and that, for the most part, the members of Islam are a peace-loving, peace-seeking people trying to make their way through this life just as we.

Those who wish for the mosque to be built need to put themselves into the shoes of the survivors of the attack on the World Trade Center.  The wounds inflicted that day are, for so many, still fresh and bleeding.  It takes time to heal when a loved one passes because of natural causes, but when they are slaughtered like innocent lambs, the hurt is much deeper and more penetrating.  To build a mosque that close to what amounts to a cemetery for the many victims who were never identified is a slap in the face of those loved ones. 

We must peacefully urge those who are planning this project to pause and remember the passing of so many souls on a bright September morning.  We do not have to have a mosque only two blocks from Ground Zero in order to prove that we as a culture love and encourage diversity.  All the world needs to do is take a close look at us and they will recognize that diversity has been a part of the American fabric throughout its existence.  We are not a perfect society, but we are the best one the world has ever known!

Build the mosque elsewhere.  Celebrate the diversity of those who were killed in the cold-blooded attacks.  But don't listen to those who would turn this into a constitutional argument spurred on by a President governing from poll results.  This is not a constitutional issue.  It is an issue of sensitivity and it is high time that we become sensitive to our own people!