Here’s hoping that the sentiment will change and here’s why: It shows we have not grown or learned from the 9/11 attack on America and that is to our collective detriment.
We hear of how the building of this mosque highlights the lack of the sensitivity for those who lost loved ones in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center towers.
Here’s the thing. I get it. I understand that many of the issues, feelings and sentiments surrounding 9/11 are genuine – that many people react emotionally when this issue is brought up. This is completely understandable.
However, it is the current opposition to the proposed building and the reactions from the political right that concern me.
What are the implications of this argument? Is it that all Muslims should forfeit their religious freedoms in order to appear sensitive to the losses incurred by others? Really?
See here’s the thing. The political right is playing the xenophobia card, which by and large, is based on fear, ignorance and hatred. That’s not only insulting to Muslims, but has an element of danger to it.
This is my concern: That this position is a harbinger to something more base and purposely taps into the emotions of those who may not even know how they are being perceived.
More importantly, they may not recognize the impressions they are giving about their opposition to the building of this mosque and how this ties into denying the freedoms and liberties of others who just happen to believe in a different deity.
It also highlights the dearth of knowledge as it relates to the ideology of religious freedom as an American value upon which our country was founded. I think everyone that opposes the mosque at ground zero should be mandated to take a civics course before voicing opinion on this matter, but I digress.
We tend to run on emotion when making decisions. For example, we don’t really know who the enemy is on this war on terror – so let’s include all Muslims. Even the good ones, and by the way let’s forget the taxes that are paid by them, the contributions made by them to the overall culture of America. Even if they have just as much right as any other American to practice their faith, let’s pretend they don’t or make such an issue about it that it becomes political kryptonite.
It appears now that the core controversy is not that a mosque is going to be built in the vicinity of the attacks – yes, the vicinity of ground zero. It has transformed into an issue of religious freedom and equality.
This approach also turns a blind eye to the history of America being an immigrant nation and subtlety transforms us into the belief that our religion and beliefs are better.
Here’s to the realization that we’ve seen something like this developing before, say Germany 1939.
We’re better than that.
Lucius Daye, a service-connected disabled veteran, is working on his MBA degree from Syracuse University. A member of The Olympian’s Diversity Panel, he can be reached at email@example.com.