The discordant din of the 911 mosque controversy has taken a nasty turn. Not surprisingly, supporters of constructing the mosque, just a stone’s throw from Ground Zero, are outraged at those opposed to putting a mosque there. Unfortunately, their predictable knee jerk reaction to its opponents is to label them racists and bigots.
The opponents to erecting the mosque on that spot claim that it is in deference to the sensibilities of tens of thousands of victims, whose number includes the family and friends of the 3,000 murdered innocents. Rather than respond to the opponents’ explanation as to why they oppose the mosque at Ground Zero, their claims are unceremoniously brushed aside as anti-Muslim, by the very folks who profess tolerance. They do not allow that opposition to the mosque is based on the abhorrence of acts of murder perpetrated by terrorists in the name of their misguided understanding of Islam.
Fortunately, the majority of adherents to that faith have an understanding of its 21st Century imperative, which is to live harmoniously with those of other faiths.
It is the anguish of tens of thousands of victims, which includes family and friends of the 3,000 souls who perished on that site that warrants a special kind of sensitivity. The ‘rights’ issue is a non-issue and only serves to deflect and dishonor those who have suffered an irreplaceable loss.
There is no question that the proponents of building the mosque have a right to do so, but that is not the ground upon which the issue stands. There are other places to build the mosque and at the same time build bridges spanning an abyss born of suspicion and mistrust.
The resolution of differences does not depend upon the gratuitous proclamations of politicians and pundits, but rather upon the gift of an open heart and outstretched hand reaching out to those sorely in need of compassion, empathy and kindness. Those who have no legal right, nor claim, to that hallowed ground, nevertheless need to have the issue put right—for they only have one site, Ground Zero, upon which to build a lasting memory of those they love and remember, even as they grieve over their loss and pray for their souls.