Opinion Brief

A 'mega mosque' near Ground Zero?

Plans are moving forward for a Muslim community center near the twin towers site. Is it a sign of tolerance — or a '13-story monument' to the horrors of 9/11?

What Newsweek calls "predictable" outrage erupted earlier this week as members of a Manhattan community board backed the construction of a 13-story mosque and Islamic cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero. While some say the worship center, promoted by well-known moderate imam named Feisal Abdul Rauf, represents a symbol of tolerance and triumph over Islamic extremists, others see it as an affront to the memories of 9/11's victims. Is the plan doomed? (Watch an ABC report about the mosque near Ground Zero)

Put a mosque anywhere else, but not on this soil: Sorry, says Jeff Harrell in Staten Island Live, "there's just no room for a mosque at Ground Zero." America was founded, in part, "on the freedom to pray whenever, wherever, and whoever you want to pray to as long as nobody gets hurt in the process." But the fact remains that 3,000 Americans were murdered in the name of Allah. The plan to celebrate the mosque's grand opening on the atrocity's 10th anniversary is offensive. "Rauf can take his new discourse and shove it.""Some things are sacred"

This mosque could be positive, if we'd think twice about it: The media has largely chosen to ignore that the mosque's "cultural center" will also include a culinary school, performing-arts center, and swimming pool, says Ben Adler in Newsweek. By bringing new business to an area of Manhattan that has been riddled by lagging development ever since 9/11, the mosque could be a "testament to the tolerance, diversity, and vitality of this nation and its greatest city." "A sad, predictable reaction to another Ground Zero plan"

Regardless of intention, this plan is inappropriate: To me, building a mosque near the twin towers site sounds like "having your Islamic cake and eating it," says Douglas Murray in The Telegraph. The argument that the mosque puts a positive spin on the horrors of the day won't fly: "I don't think bringing 'something positive' out of 9/11 is what most people want, do you?""A mosque at Ground Zero? A sick joke"

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