Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ignorance and Panic Fuel New York Mosque Debate

On the fateful day of September 11, 2001, a group of Muslim extremists purportedly crashed multiple planes into the Twin Towers in New York. The place where the Twin Towers used to stand is called Ground Zero. Iman Feisal Ramf is an American Muslim. He wants to build a community center and mosque in the place of an old Burlington Coat Factory. But the place where he wants to build it is two blocks away from Ground Zero. His intentions are to show people that most Muslims are peaceful people.

However, many people are against it. Because some extremist Muslims are accused of crashing into the Twin Towers, a number of people are going against all Muslims! But not all Muslims are extremists. This is a cruel generalization, since like Christianity, there are many branches of the Muslim religion. The first amendment talks about the separation of church and state. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “The Islamic center may be the most important test of the separation of church and state in America as we may see in our lifetimes.” And so this should not be a legal argument. Protesters say it would be disrespectful to build a community center and Mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero.

Some claim that it is ‘sacred’ ground. Well then how many blocks away does it need to be built before it becomes ‘normal’ ground? Battles over mosques are going on in several places around the country, but none of them have to do with the direct connection to 9/11. Ali Akram, a doctor who supports the project, said, “The people who say the mosque is too close to Ground Zero, those are the same people that protest mosques in Brooklyn and Staten Island and Tennessee and Wisconsin and California. What radius will they go for? There’s no end to it.” I agree with him, because this is not about what happened on 9/11, this is about opposition towards Muslims.

Ignorance and panic are what is fueling these protests. Some say that Muslims should not have the same rights as we ‘Americans.’ But there are about seven million American Muslims in the U.S. They are as American as we are; either born here or legally immigrated here. “The Constitution doesn’t let governments treat one religion differently from another” says Brian Gallagher.

In conclusion, I think the mosque should be built, because we should separate church from state. And there should not be a ‘radius’ of where a Mosque can not be built. In addition, we should all respect each other's religion. If we do build the Mosque, then it will show Muslims that we have tolerance for all religions. But if we do not not, we will be showing a prejudice against Muslims for their choice of religious practice.


  1. This is a paper I wrote for my U.S. History class. Hope you like it :)

  2. Interesting argument - I enjoy reading what you write!