Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mosque is No Way to 'Build Bridges'

From Thomas Kidd, at USA Today:

Delonas Cartoon

On Tuesday, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission voted, correctly, to deny landmark status to a fairly nondescript building that formerly housed a Burlington Coat Factory retailer. The only reason that the notion of landmark status had come forward (despite weak arguments about the building representing mid-19th century economic growth) was because a Muslim organization wants to build a mosque there, and the building stands near Ground Zero, the former site of the World Trade Center. Building the mosque near the epicenter of the 9/11 tragedy is in extremely bad taste, but the Constitution's protection of religious freedom should allow it to be built.

This case is a perfect example of the delicate nature of religious freedom. Religious freedom is most tenuous when the religious act in question is unpopular, and the building of this mosque is unpopular, to put it mildly. The proposed Islamic center shows an incredible lack of sensitivity on the part of the Cordoba Initiative, the group backing the mosque. One wonders whether Oz Sultan, spokesman for the group, can be serious when he says that the project will "build bridges" and that the Cordoba Initiative is "committed to promoting positive interaction between the Muslim world and the West." Could this group really be so out of touch, or is it intentionally trying to provoke a harsh reaction to prove some point? We don't know, but the overwhelming consensus of public opinion is that the idea of building this mosque on this property is deeply offensive. It insults the memory of those who died at the hands of jihadist terrorists.
More at the link.

Cartoon Credit: Sean Delonas.