There are sides being drawn across the country. The building of a Muslim Cultural Center which will house a mosque near the ground zero site has started quite a few conversations. Some are civil and some are heated. I have stayed relatively clear of the controversy, but I do have a few things that I would like to point out.
First of all it is NEVER the government's role to impede or interfere with ANY religious group unless they are breaking the law. The Islamic community behind this project is going through the proper legal channels to get things done. We should not be asking our government to interfere with religious freedom.
With that being said, we as Americans also have a few other freedoms. We have freedom of speech and can voice our displeasure over the location of this mosque in hopes that the group involved will decide to move to improve relations with the rest of the country. We may also peaceably assemble in front of it and any other mosque that we choose. Let's remember that we may only do so peaceably and one bad apple can ruin that for the rest of us.
Secondly, this is the same building that was hit by landing gear that fell off of one of the planes. This may be a total coincidence, but I find it extremely interesting that a building directly affected in 9/11 would be chosen. I think it shows poor taste and insensitivity.
Thirdly, I have a good friend who just returned from New York who said that the mosque and ground zero can both be seen from the corner of Park Place and West Broadway. This brings new light to the whole two blocks away argument. This alone tells me that it is a poorly chosen spot.
Lastly, my friend was with a group that decided to take pictures of the Muslim cultural center. A man immediately came out and took pictures of them. When they asked him what the pictures were for he said, "We take pictures of anyone protesting." They quickly let him know that they were not protesting to which he responded, "We still have your picture." One of my friend's group responded, "We have yours too." The Muslim man was not rude or threatening, but one may find the whole situation a little strange.
This Saturday when we look back at the tragedy of 9/11 let us remember the fallen and be angry again, but in a healthy way. In our anger however, we should not let it lead to hate. Remember, "Fear is a path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering" --Yoda.