The 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
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- Deficit scolds are the most crazed ideologues in America
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
- 7 language habits that reveal your age
- 10 things you need to know today: July 24, 2014
- A scientific fact-check of 2001: A Space Odyssey
Subscribe to the Week