If religious freedom and tolerance were the real agenda…

Ricki Lieberman

My POV: building a 13+ story mosque/community center overlooking the graveyard that was the Twin Towers is not a matter of religious freedom or tolerance.  It is a matter of appropriateness and sensitivity.  Sort of like the monastery that the Catholic Church built outside of Auschwitz and then removed when it finally understood that doing so had nothing to do with the right of the nuns to pray, but rather that the location was insensitive and inappropriate.  

If religious freedom and tolerance were the real agenda, the group would have gladly accept Governor Paterson’s sensible compromise of another site, in the name of tolerance and community harmony/responsibility.  It did not, saying that it had to serve the needs of lower Manhattan.

Religious groups generally build where there is a local constituency – think parishes or synagogues or Jewish community centers.  Is there a significant Muslim community living in downtown New York?

There is also the question of the sources of the $100m+ that will be raised.  The unwillingness of the development group to make provisions to reveal the sources of funds, suggests they have something to hide.  If they are so eager to emulate the 92nd St YMHA or the JCC of Manhattan, they should adopt the same transparent fundraising procedures that these and other groups use for capital campaigns.

New York is basically a Muslim-friendly town, with mosques everywhere.  I reject those who have seized on this issue to question the right or ability of Muslims to grow in New York.  Freedom of religion is alive and well in New York, and I also question those who insist that this is a core issue of religious freedom and would make those of us who disagree into bigots. 

This is not an issue for government to decide.  The only issues should be appropriateness and sensitivity in the context of respect for the broader community.   At this point, only the mosque/community center group is able to make that decision.  

Unfortunately, don’t hold your breathe.

My POV – Ricki

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One Response

  1. Your POV Ricki is right on target. NY has been more
    than sensitive and tolerant yet the same has not
    been reciprocated, WE know why they have chosen
    hallowed ground to build a monument to the
    Massacre below .I for one am tired of those,
    Including Bloomberg and Obama who believe Nyers
    should embrace a symbol of why it all came to be
    with open arms. I am glad Gov. Patterson offered
    an alternative site because it showed Islam’s true
    intent. I did expect Obama to become involved and
    I expected him to speak exactly as he has.
    He calls the murders of 3,000 people a “traumatic experience”. Really, NO
    Hopeful he being voted out of office as the POTUS
    Won’t be as traumatic for him as that day was for every
    American.

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