No freaking way. In recent days, some governments in Muslim countries have announced their intent to build a mosque and Islamic information center near the site of what was once the World Trade Center. While I’m completely dedicated to the principle of religious freedom in America, I am adamantly opposed to the construction of a mosque in Lower Manhattan. For the benefit of people who haven’t spent a year learning Arabic, and serving as an Arabic linguist in the Naval Security Group. (I also spent over a year in the Persian Gulf.) I’d like to point out that there is a Muslim tradition that mosques are to be constructed on land conquered from the infidel. Centuries ago, my Scottish ancestors no doubt celebrated acquiring conquered land by burning a cross on it. That was a custom amongst people who had never heard of black people. If, however, someone tried to burn a cross today in the middle of Harlem, I seriously doubt that would lead to a peaceful resolution.
Similarly, I figure that Japanese followers of Shinto have just as much right to build a temple as Christians do to build a church. However, if Shintoists tried to erect a shrine over the wreckage of the USS Arizona, I would have a major problem. In response to my collaborator’s point that there are several mosques in Manhattan already, I don’t care. I don’t want any new ones build near the site of 9/11. I would be in favor of opening Piggly Wigglys on either side of them.
The allowing of the building of a mosque near the World Trade Center site sends exactly the wrong message.