If you’re not aware, there is significant kinetic energy around a plan to build what’s being called The Cordoba House, an Islamic community center that includes a large worship area, two blocks from where the Twin Towers fell in New York City.
The basic opposition comes in the form of, “It was Muslims that killed all those people by attacking us, so to put a house of worship for their faith that close to ground zero is categorically offensive.”
And here are my thoughts:
What exactly is it that those offended are proposing? Are they saying the government should deny them the ability to build there? If they are, then they exact their revenge at the expense of the U.S. Constitution. Few things are more disgusting than removing freedom in the name of it. And if they aren’t for the government taking action, then how exactly do they intend to stop someone who owns the building from doing what they want with it?
One Internet meme that has reached terminal velocity on the Internet is the idea that McDonald’s has killed more people than 9/11, so we shouldn’t allow McDonald’s near ground zero either. This is absurd because McDonald’s is not an ideology of hate. This isn’t to say that Islam is either, but the ideas that took down the towers were. So, no, these are not the same. This is like outlawing cars because accidents kill more people. The targets are ideologies of hate, and neither McDonald’s or driving have those.
Another similar pro-Cordoba meme says that if you oppose a Mosque near ground zero then you must also oppose Christian churches near the Oklahoma Federal Building where Tim McVeigh killed all those people. The problem here is the same as with McDonald’s: Tim McVeigh didn’t kill because of his religion. In fact, he’d been a non-believer for quite some time. He killed because he hated the government, where as the 9/11 perpetrators killed for Islam.
A minor note, but one worth mentioning, is that the Cordoba center actually won’t qualify as a Mosque at all. It is slated to have a restaurant and a performance area, which, according to the Cordoba Center’s organizers prevent it from even being considered a Mosque. This doesn’t remove the tie to Islam for the building, or the ambitiousness of it, but still…calling it a Mosque is not correct.
My conclusion is that the only way to stop a construction project like this would be to use the same methods that are used to stop a strip club in a “nice” neighborhood. I don’t know what those methods are, but I imagine I wouldn’t like them. They probably involve creating some sort of law that prohibits a particular and necessary attribute of said establishment.
Which is lame. If you want to do something, have the fortitude to do it above the table.
Ultimately, the problem with opposing the core ideas expressed by Islam (in a Christian culture) is that they are virtually identical to their own beliefs. It’s much easier to reject all superstitious/non-scientific belief systems than it is to reject one while calling another the foundation of our country.
Until we evolve enough to look down upon all belief systems that are based on subjective interpretation of ancient texts, any society will face extreme cognitive dissonance when attempting to exalt one above another on the basis of anything other than tradition. ::