Religious Freedom at Ground Zero?

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Though protected by the 1st Amendment, just how much religious freedom will Americans tolerate? A recent article posted at “Religion Dispatches” reflects on the current controversy of plans for a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City.


Is Religious Freedom a Casualty at Ground Zero?

While religious pluralism was a founding ideal of the United States implicit in the 1st Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom, Americans historically have edged toward it kicking and screaming.

By Kambiz Ghaneabassiri in “Religion Dispatches”

New York City’s Landmark Preservation Commission’s unanimous decision on August 3, 2010, to allow plans for the construction of a mosque and community center near Ground Zero to move forward has been hailed by some as a victory for religious freedom, but it has also provided more fodder for latent anti-Muslim sentiments that have surfaced nationally since plans for the project were made public. Regardless of how one views the decision, the controversy surrounding the project is a reminder of the fact that while religious pluralism was a founding ideal of the United States implicit in the 1st Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom, Americans historically have edged toward it kicking and screaming.

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Bill Ghrist
Guest
Bill Ghrist

How completely tasteless and inconsiderate of the Islamists!

It is crucial that we as Americans learn the difference between Islamist Extremism and the Islamic Faith. The proposed mosque and community center is not Islamist, in fact the people behind it see it as a counter to the Islamist Extremist movement.

Ed Husein, a British former Islamist Extremist, in an interview with Krista Tippet (Speaking of Faith) makes the observation that the example of the American Muslim community is probably the best bet for encouraging the development of a moderate, modern version of Islam throughout the world.

It is in our own best interest to encourage this, not to put insulting (and un-American) roadblocks in its path. I am absolutely not a fan of former president George W. Bush, but one of the things he did get right was just this--to make it quite clear that America did not equate Islamists such as Al Qaeda with the Muslim faith.

Fareed Zakaria's essay in the current issue of Newsweek is also a must-read on this subject.

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Dä'ved Äyan | David Allen
Guest
Dä'ved Äyan | David Allen

@ David - McVeigh did not consider himself a Christian. Perhaps a better analogy is all the churches built along the Trail of Tears a few blocks from where I live.

Timothy asked for the ministry of a Roman Catholic priest in the time just prior to his execution. I think that he was a Christian, in the foxhole sort of way.

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Paul Woodrum
Guest
Paul Woodrum

If only these Muslims could be more like us Episcopalians: not so in-your-face, nor so serious about religion. That would be the Christian thing.

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Tom Sramek, Jr.
Guest

Why on earth does there have to be a mosque anywhere near Ground Zero? Honestly! How completely tasteless and inconsiderate of the Islamists! The nine-eleven attack was not enough? Really? The mosque should be relocated.

What exactly do you mean "The nine-eleven attack was not enough?" Do you seriously think that the 9/11 attack was an attack by Islam against the West? Even George W. Bush made it clear that was not the case!

I think we need to encourage moderate Muslims such as these to build the kind of community center that is planned and stop repeating the "Mosque at Ground Zero" lie. It isn't simply a mosque, it is a community center, and it ISN'T at Ground Zero! How far away would be OK? Would Somewhere else in Manhatten be satisfactory? Anywhere in the City of New York? Where does it end?

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tgflux
Guest
tgflux

"Honestly!" What, besides facile prejudice Craig A, makes you equate these AMERICAN Muslims who want to build a community center w/ worship space (aka "mosque"), to the foreign terrorists who attacked the US on 9-11?

ALL (US) Americans receive Constitutional rights (see re Prop8 decision!), or NONE of us do.

JC Fisher

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