News outlets including the New York Post and the Fox News Network (overlooking the ideological inclinations of the latter) have revealed that the mosque will be a part of a 13-story Muslim community center which has billed as a cultural center, and will house “not (only) a mosque but a community center for all faiths that will include recreational facilities.”
Needless to say many Americans are up in arms. The anger behind building a mosque, a shrine to the religious ideology—or rather a perversion of it—which provided the impetus for the 9/11 attacks so close to the site of the attacks themselves smacks intolerance all around.
On the one hand, Muslims are allowing their dedication and adherence to their religion to blind them to the sensitivities surrounding the issue…to the families of those who lost loved ones on that day, and Americans in general. While a spokesperson for the American Soeciety for Muslim Advancement defends the building of the center as a “need to take the 9/11 tragedy and turn it into something very positive” by “amplifying the silent voice of the majority of Muslims who have nothing to do with extremist ideologies,” the uproar by those against the project—most vocally the families of those lost that day—is being ignored in favor of what the Muslim group wants. Combine this with the intent by the center's sponsors/operators to open the center on September 11th 2011—the 10th anniversary of the attacks—only adds salt to the still festering wounds, and feeds the atmosphere of insensitivity surrounding this issue.
One the other hand, victims families in particular and Americans in general, still feeling wounded by the events of that day, are potentially painting all Muslims with a broad paintbrush. It is causing a failure to understand that not only were planes hijacked that day, but so was the Muslim ideology…by extremists.
As opposed to looking for possible solutions to the issue, more thought should have been put into the brainstorming and communications stages of this predicament. Groups with such potentially conflicting motivations and missions should take the time to communicate with one another whenever something of this magnitude of sensitivity, such as when a vendor wants to erect a liquor shop near a school.
In much the same way that a neo-Nazi organization (and no, I am not comparing Islam to Nazism as an ideology) would not be allowed to build a headquarters near Aushwitz, or a Japanese naval memorial near Pear Harbor, why would zoning officials in New York not consider the sensitive nature of permitting such a structure near such a site?
Local governmental departments such as those responsible for zoning should stop blindly engaging in the bureaucratic routine of simply approving or building , and actually put some consideration into the effects of proposed projects of this nature.