This will be short and to the point. Of course there should be no mosque built in New York City near the site we call simply Ground Zero — the place where once stood two towering buildings filled with life and people and commerce. All disappeared at the hands of some fanatically driven Muslims nine years ago and now it’s just an empty place called Ground Zero. And — incredibly — some think it would be a good idea to build a mosque and an Islamic community center very close by. A mosque, of course, is a place of worship exclusively for members of the very religion in whose name the twin towers were attacked and the people massacred. To most of us this is unthinkable.
Some have called the effort to build this mosque a local matter. It is no local matter because the events of September 11, 2001 were not local nor meant to be local. When the planes hit their targets they attacked more than the twin towers or New York City — they attacked America. Indeed President Bush — who was visiting a school — was given the news that America was under attack. And all over the country Americans rushed to gather their loved ones to safety because no one knew what else was coming. We were in this together as Americans, and as Americans we care about those who died, we care about their families and friends, and we are united in respect for the places and symbols of that horrible time. The war on terror is America’s war, and Ground Zero is our national wound.
To defenders of the mosque, please don’t bring up religious freedom and tolerance — those are givens in America. Understand instead that this mosque might look suspiciously like a triumphal arch to most of us, and definitely like rubbing salt in a wound. Just think decency, decorum, consideration and respect and don’t build that mosque.