The Mosque at Ground Zero

Earlier this week, the proposed New York City mosque at ground zero cleared its final hurdle. Nothing seems to stand in the way of its construction.

I am appalled that peace-loving Muslims would want to do this on what is, for most Americans, hallowed ground. I am even more appalled that the mayor of New York is in favor of the idea.

It would be like the Japanese building a Shinto shrine at Pearl Harbor! At a speech in front of the statue of liberty, Mayor Bloomberg made the case for the mosque on the grounds of tolerance. But tolerance isn’t the issue here. And certainly not tolerance as Bloomberg means it. Tolerance used to mean listening respectfully to others’ opinions, even when you disagree. Tolerance as Bloomberg understands it, means “I won’t say no to you for anything you want, and you don’t say no to me for anything I want.”—The ultimate expression of political correctness, and the most certain formula for moral chaos.

But the construction of the mosque at ground zero is not about tolerance. And it isn’t about religious liberty. This is about prudence: the good sense to do what is right. That’s one of the four classic, cardinal virtues given to the West.

Let me give you an example. It isn’t a violation of tolerance or religious liberty when a local zoning commission tells a church, or a synagogue, that it cannot build a sanctuary in a residential neighborhood. Parking issues, traffic, could adversely affect the neighborhood. So, local government can make the prudent decision to tell the church to build somewhere else.

So it would not be an act of intolerance to deny the construction of a mosque at a certain location—particularly one, ground zero, where the mosque will serve as a daily reminder to New Yorkers of the terrorists, who, motivated by their Islamo-fascist beliefs, killed 3,000 innocent people in the name of Islam.

Go build the mosque somewhere else.

Earlier this week in the Wall Street Journal, columnist Bill McGurn wrote about a marvelous example of prudence in a similar situation during the early 1990s. Catholic nuns had moved onto an abandoned building at Auschwitz—the site of the Nazi death camp—to pray for peace and the victims of the Holocaust. The Jewish community was quite outraged.

Although the nuns had the legal right to be at Auschwitz, Pope John Paul II intervened. Recognizing Jewish sensitivities, he ordered the nuns to move somewhere else to carry on their work. And they did.

Because I believe that the vast majority of Muslims are peace loving citizens who do not support terrorism, I can’t imagine why they would want to tempt us to think otherwise by building a mosque at the site where their co-religionists perpetrated the most barbaric acts of modern times.

If they—and Mayor Bloomberg—don’t have the prudence to respect the sensibilities of others, then Congress ought to step in. With the upcoming elections, I’m sure your congressman will be all ears to your concerns.

I understand the dilemma of religious freedom in this case. But as Bill McGurn pointed out, “having the right to do something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.”

The Pope understood that at Auschwitz, and the Muslim community ought to understand it at ground zero.

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  • goral

    As stated, tolerance is not the issue and Moslems are not the issue either. One of the tenets of Islam is “in your face”. That’s what they are doing with the proposed Mosque.
    Issue one is the Christians and issue two are the Jews in NYC and why they are cowering.
    The Holy Spirit is absent. It’s the Spirit who rewards the faithful with courage and common sense. Because their knees do not bend for the Lord, they are too feeble not to buckle for the pagan god of Tolerance.

    How pathetic we must appear to the Mohammedans or to anyone looking for a formidable adversary.

  • John Regan

    If one were to consider why New York City has – not in nine years – been able to come to grips with the essential messages – particularly spiritual – of the tragedy of the deliberate murder of 3,000 innocent persons and the wrecked lives of an untold number of those whom they loved and who loved them, so that a fitting memorial to them all would have been conceived, agreed upon and awaiting construction long before now, how can anyone expect that community, New York City, to forge the moral courage to do what is right by prohibiting the erection of a massive mosque at Ground Zero.

    An exquisite contrast to paralysis in spiritual matters endemic to New York City is the magnificently functional monument constructed in Oklahoma City in memory of the ignominy of the bombing there in 1995 of the Murrah Building, with its massive loss of innocent lives. By 1997 – after the conduct of an international design competition – a selection was made of the design by which the magnificent memorial that now hosts myriads of visitors daily.

    One has to wonder: Where is New York’s moral backbone?

  • consecrata

    Peace loving Muslims do not want to do this but are afraid to speak out for fear of retribution. I don’t know if anyone heard Mayor Bloomberg’s answer when asked why he isn’t investigating where the $100 million dollars to build the mosque is coming from. He said something like he doesn’t check where every dollar that is put in a collection plate at a Church comes from…how absurd is that??? I heard today that ConEd owns the land and not the muslims…it’s in process of being sold to the muslims. How can they have been given a permit to build on property they do not already own? How? – because there’s more to this than what we are being permitted to see. It will, however, be made clear because the investigation into this travesty is being carried out relentlessly by Americans who see this as an incredibly insensitive project. They could build their mosques anywhere but they chose close to Ground Zero – so a mosque will rise near to where the Twin Towers was destroyed. In the beginning the Imam claimed it was to be an interfaith enterprise…where, then, are the other faiths? A Christian Church and a Jewish Synagogue should be build adjacent to the mosque – and there should be a close watch to see who goes in and out of the mosque as it could be used as a terrorist training center right at the heart of New York and with the imprimatur from the Mayor…a man who bought his election and who rigged the rules so he could be re-elected. So much manipulation and deceit! But it will never be built…