Unless you are living under a rock, you have heard the controversy surrounding the “ground zero mosque.” Essentially, a group of Muslims want to build an “Islamic community center,” that will house a mosque, two blocks away from the former World Trade Center. This has sparked a firestorm of protest from the right, claiming it is everything from insensitive to the next terrorist attack itself. This has annoyed me greatly.
One of the founding principles of this country was religious freedom. This means that you can support any religion you want, or no religion, and not be molested by the government. Increasingly, those on the right construe this as, “You can be any religion you want, as long as it’s Christian.” If you are a Buddhist, a Hindu or, (God forbid!) a Muslim, (I’m not sure if they consider atheists better or worse than Muslims), then your rights and desires are not relevant. This is a clear case of religious freedom: these people want to built a house or worship, on private property, using private funds. There is no compelling reason why they should not be allowed to do it. Unless you believe that all Muslims are terrorists.
And that’s exactly what most of the commentators on the right seem to think. Listen to the statements of Newt Gingrich, that moron Sarah Palin, or any of the talking heads on Fox News. They are all screaming about how “it just isn’t right” to build this Mosque “at ground zero” where so many lost their lives. Yes, 3,000 people did lose their lives at the WTC site, and yes, the attack was carried out by Muslim extremists, but that does not mean that all Muslims are terrorists.
Now, if you were to search my blog, you would probably find some inflammatory statements made by me about Muslims. Statements that might indicate that I considered all Muslims to be terrorists. I wish to publicly repudiate those statements right now. (Or “refudiate” them, as the learned Sarah Palin would say.) I’m not making excuses for my former statements, (well, maybe I am…) but I don’t think I was thinking about the situation rationally. I was caught up in a patriotic ferver, that I now see was incorrect. I’ll say it again: not all Muslims are terrorists.
In fact, a very small minority of them are terrorists, or support the actions of terrorists.
“But wait,” you say, “the Koran is ‘full of violence’ and commands by their ‘god’ to kill the unbelievers.” Indeed. May I then direct you to your bible to that part called the “old testament.” That’s the part that lots of Christians seem to forget about. There’s more violence in there than you can shake a stick at. Does that make us a violent religion? No. See what I’m getting at?
“But wait,” you say again, “those Muslims want to spred Islam all over the world! They want everyone to be a Muslim.” Indeed. Now, may I direct you to your bible, to Matthew 28: 19-20, which reads: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
What this all comes down to is a bunch of Christians who are scared of Islam and don’t like to see it spreading. Despite their claims of “But I have a Muslim friend!” or “I don’t care if they build another Mosque, just build it somewhere else!” or “I don’t have a problem with them building it, but building it there is just insensitive!” it all amounts to the same thing. They don’t like Muslims, and they want them to go away.
I think they should be allowed to build it. I think the protesters are wrong, but I support their right to protest and make their opinions known, as long as they remain non-violent. That is my main concern. I wonder how long it will take, after construction begins, before the site is vandalized (or worse) by those who oppose it. “But that wouldn’t be very Christian!” you say. Indeed, it would not.