Wednesday, May 26, 2010

a mosque grows in manhattan

that there are conflicted feelings about a mosque being built a few blocks from ground zero in manhattan should be a given; that those feelings should trump considered thinking about it is not. a mosque should be built there.

the overwhelming vote in favor of endorsing the mosque (29 to 1) by the local community board is an indication that there is a fervent wish to build bridges between locals still affected by the near-decade old wtc attacks and the faith whose twisting convinced some followers to fly two airplanes into the twin towers. it is the equivalent of building a church near the site of wounded knee, and I am in favor of that too.

the board's vote is not binding--it has no real say in the matter--but it does indicate the feelings of community members, and suggests that there's an opportunity for reconciliation that might never come again. of the sincerity of injured families and groups which spoke out against the building I have no doubt--I'm certain they deeply feel this is an affront--but I would also point out this quote, attributed to bill doyle, leader of the group coalition of 9/11 families: "Many families of Sept. 11 victims fervently opposed the proposal, saying they were offended by the idea of building a prayer space so near the site. 'That should be a serene site...Now you’re going to see protests and demonstrations there all the time'" (link may experience problems). bill doyle is probably talking about his own group's plans to disturb the peace.

the impetus for most of such opposition is an unstated desire to keep the two groups, attacker and attacked, segregated and in conflict. in the face of a nearly-unanimous vote willing to provide a symbol for bridging the divide, such opposition is like peeling back a scab. it's time to let the wound heal.

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