he fight over the Ground Zero Mosque "has become as nasty as it is unnecessary," says Michael Medved at AOL News. Americans "actually agree" on the main points. The public, including opponents of the project, "overwhelmingly acknowledges the right of Muslims to worship without harassment or interference." But most of us can agree that it seems "self-destructive" to build a 13-story facility celebrating Islamic heritage next to "the very site of one of the darkest days in Muslim (and American) history." In his "stumbling and belated" entry into the debate a few days ago, President Obama tried to soothe both sides. Ironically, he might have pointed to the solution. Here, an excerpt:
In his Friday night speech to an Iftar dinner celebrating the month of Ramadan, Obama initially endorsed the right of Muslims build a mosque on their own property, and only the next day questioned the wisdom of actually exercising that right on the specific property in question. If the president went one step further, joining New York's Gov. David Paterson in offering his good offices to find a less contentious location, he could turn a political liability into a major achievement — fulfilling the role of unifier and peacemaker he promised during his presidential campaign.
Time for another "beer summit?" In deference to Muslim sensibilities, the White House will skip the alcohol, but ought to welcome conversation to replace confrontation. Most Americans would welcome an obvious compromise that honors both sides to this dispute. Yes, build the mosque. And yes, find a less-controversial location.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 14 wonderful words with no English equivalent
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Why Easter is so important to Christians
- Why would a young person today be religious?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 10 things you need to know today: April 20, 2014
- How Captain America won over China
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
Subscribe to the Week