Islamic cultural center brings out the prejudice in New Yorkers
What makes New York City great is that it’s a melting pot of nationalities, races and religions. Where ever you come from in this world you can be sure there is a community waiting for you there. That’s why it incenses me that certain conservatives along with a majority of New Yorkers themselves oppose the building of a mosque, given Manhattan’s cultural diversity.
The location is what the majority of people seem to have a problem with. Being only two blocks away from the heart of the 9/11 terrorist attacks (the terrorist attackers of course being Muslim), some people believe it’s too close for comfort. As Sarah Palin said “it’s like a slap in the face”. Of course, I disagree with the half-term governor.
The hundred million dollar mosque in question that seems to have stirred up so much anger and controversy is scheduled to be built about two blocks away from ground zero and not in fact on ground zero as many people are being led to believe.
The 13-story Islamic center to be built at 4551 Park Place can hardly be called a “mosque” as it will contain a Muslim prayer room, 500-seat auditorium, theater, performing arts center, fitness center, swimming pool, basketball court, childcare services, art exhibitions, bookstore, a culinary school and a food court. It will be more of a YMCA than a house of worship.
Some people call the building of this Islamic Center offensive because the terrorists that committed the horrendous crimes did so in the name of Islam. They seem to forget that they were religious fundamentalists: they do EVERYTHING in the name of Islam, their religion masks any true motives they might have.
Opposition for the mosque doesn’t surprise me when it comes from people like Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich; they will always put their own faith first. When I hear the same sort of rhetoric coming from organizations like the Anti-Defamation League, an institute I normally trust and support, I must admit I get a bit miffed.
People at the ADL apparently don’t support the NYC mosque because “we wouldn’t be allowed to build a church near Mecca” in Saudi Arabia. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Mecca is the holiest of sites in all of Islam. Are they trying to say that ground zero is the Mecca of Christianity? Even if New York City was the birth place of Christ, Saudi Arabia does not have the religious freedoms that the United States is supposed to have.
The resistance to the Islamic Center clearly stems from a prejudice or general hatred of Muslims. I’m not a religious man, but I bet if those terrorists had been Christian fundamentalists there would have been no opposition to anyone building a church there on Park Place.
Since people normally hate what they fear and are afraid of what they don’t understand, in this case Islam, I find that building a cultural center is a great idea. It will help bring understanding and people of all faiths closer together making New York City even greater as a result.