Mike Kueber's Blog

July 31, 2010

Demagoging the Ground Zero mosque

A Muslim group is planning to build a $100 million community center near Ground Zero in NYC.  Self-proclaimed patriots, including Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, consider the project to be an affront to American sensibilities and are attempting to block it.  It’s people like these that give the term “patriots” a bad name. 

An article in today’s NYTimes was headlined, “Debate Heating Up on Plans for Mosque Near Ground Zero.”     http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/31/nyregion/31mosque.html?_r=1&hp.  The NYTimes doesn’t typically attempt to inflame issues, but its headline seems unnecessarily inflammatory.  Although this community center will have a prayer room, it will also have a performing arts center, pool, a restaurant, and much else spread over 13-15 floors.  In fact, it will be modeled after area YMCAs and Jewish Community Centers.  Thus, it would have been more accurate for the NYTimes headline to describe the building as a community center as opposed to a mosque, but that wouldn’t be as provocative.

Republican rabble-rousers, however, don’t need the NYTimes to stir up the troops.  Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich are way out front on this issue.  Sarah Palin calls it the Muslim community center an “unnecessary provocation.”  Newt Gingrich says it “is clearly an aggressive act that is offensive.”  Instead of helping Americans to distinguish between mainstream Islam and the 9/11 terrorists, Sarah and Newt are sadly leading their followers to take a step backwards. 

The American Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion.  Despite the heinous acts of some radical Muslims, we should all stand for the right of law-abiding Muslim-Americans to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and for the right of Islam to grow and thrive in America.