Monday, August 16, 2010
Right-Wing World: The (Not at) Ground Zero (Not) Mosque Controversy
The current big controversy is of course the Muslim community center that is scheduled to be built in lower Manhattan. It is being portrayed as a deliberate attempt by Muslims to provoke non-Muslims, since it is being built in the same area of town as the site of the World Trade Center. It's actually a couple of blocks away, and it isn't even really a mosque, though it does have an area for prayers. Of course, given Manhattan's size, there's probably nowhere that would be considered "far enough away" for some. There are actually rumblings from elected Republicans that no mosques should be allowed to be built anywhere!
I'm an agnostic (bordering on atheism), and it is a very strange thing indeed for me to be sticking up for a religion. And I'm not really. I'm defending the Constitution, and I'm deeply, deeply suspicious of any issue being spearheaded by right-wing talk radio, FOX "News," and the rest of the right-wing noise machine. But I'm also aware that this has touched a nerve with the public at large. Something like 70% of Americans polled are against this center. My feeling is that they're being played. Their outrage is being stoked, and when that happens, emotions overrule logic.
If those against it think "there oughtta be a law" or think that the government should prevent this, then they're asking for the Constitution to be subverted. If they're thinking that the builders of the center should stop their plans out of "concern" for others' feelings, well, you have to question if those feelings make sense. This thing isn't a mosque and it isn't at ground zero. There is no evidence that the center is being built with any insult intended, or nefarious purpose. All of this outrage is based upon the perceived intentions of the builders. If there's one thing I've learned in my own life, it's that the worst arguments with the most hurt feelings happen when when you try to guess the intentions of the person you're arguing with. You'll almost always be wrong.
How the "ground zero mosque" fear mongering began
A group of progressive Muslim-Americans plans to build an Islamic community center two and a half blocks from ground zero in lower Manhattan. They have had a mosque in the same neighborhood for many years. There's another mosque two blocks away from the site. City officials support the project. Muslims have been praying at the Pentagon, the other building hit on Sept. 11, for many years. . .
Read more at: Salon