For a great many people in today's America, ANY Islamic center anywhere on the North American continent is too close to Ground Zero and will lead to bad feelings.
If you follow that sort of logic, you don't end up getting to build your center anywhere.
How far away is far enough? There are actually currently two mosques that are closer to Ground Zero than this one.
As a Jew and the daughter of a Shoah survivor, I am well aware that my mere existence offends certain people. I refuse to hide as a result and I refuse to force anybody else to hide.
I didn't know that, actually -- can you tell us more about those other two mosques
Actually, I was misinterpreting the news story I read, but there are two definitely within the neighborhood:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/14/nyregion/14mosque.html
Both are overflowing and it was clear that there is a need amongst the Islamic communities for a mosque in that neighborhood.
There are also Islamic services every Friday in the Pentagon chapel. And, in fact, the chapel is in the part of the Pentagon that was hit - less than 100 feet away.
There are other mosques nearby. This is not a mosque, it is a community center, that contains a mosque. And here's the key, they are not adding a mosque, they are replacing an existing facility. There is already a facility there that functions as a mosque. They are not adding a mosque, they are adding a swimming pool.
Why is there fear and risk? Because certain public figures turned this into an issue. It's a non-issue, but politicaly minded people turned it into one. Go to ground zero, and walk to the location of this project. You will see more halal food carts that you will know what to do with. Islam is strongly represented there, like so many other cultures. It's new york. Will they back down? They are New Yorkers, ok, they are muslim new yorkers but they are new yorkers. Back down because they are afraid of offending someone?
If you move a community center out of the community, can you still call it a community center?
It doesn't matter WHERE they build a Muslim community center. The terrorist thugs who are willing to attack Muslims will attack them no matter what. Build it on the Moon, it will STILL be a target for violence.
It's the same risk. It doesn't matter. Putting it somewhere else won't make it safer. People who equate all Muslims with terrorists aren't going to care WHERE the Muslims are.
If I were the Muslim community, I'd build my community center where there was room, and that was convenient for my community to get to.
Which is what they're doing, as far as I can tell. It's not like there are a whole lot of buildable locations in downtown Manhattan.
Yeah, that's what I don't get. Folks saying, Well, they should built it further away....but when you ask them where they think that is, it's always weirdly untenable distances. My Mormon/right-wing-inclined family has said stuff like, well, not in New York proper, or maybe a few miles away would be better...and I want to head-desk and say, "You're asking people who live in a particular community to build their community center OUTSIDE the community? AWAY from the community?" They don't seem to get that they're making pronouncements about an existing community wanting to erect a space they can easily access.
Well, sure if she wants to go out dressed like that, and have a drink...
It appears mostly to be provoking the fringe of American xenophobes who would be quite happy if their hatefulness leads to some Fine Upstanding Citizen chucking a bomb into the place. You know, the sort of criminals who nobody will actually call "terrorists" because they're white.
An interesting twist is that the site was chosen because
of it being so close to WTC, and having been a building into which the wreckage fell:
The location was precisely a key selling point for the group of Muslims who bought the building in July. A presence so close to the World Trade Center, “where a piece of the wreckage fell,” said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric leading the project, “sends the opposite statement to what happened on 9/11.”http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/09/nyregion/09mosque.html
“We want to push back against the extremists,” added Imam Feisal, 61
I found that quote by accident; the blogger pointing to it was displeased in that the NYTimes article originally included another line, "New York is the capital of the world, and this location close to 9/11 is iconic"
, and now does not.
The problem here is that 1, these bigots are choosing to be "provoked" by the community center, and 2, the bigots are actually just attacking the center as a politically correct proxy for their attacks on the community that is being served by the center itself.
If it wasn't the community center it'd be something else, because the existence of the community, not the center, is what is "provoking them" in the sense of "provoke" that the klan or transphobes or rapists use to justify their criminal acts.
So why not build a center that will fulfill the needs of the community if anything they do will piss off these idiots? Remember that the people complaining about the center believe that calling Obama a muslims is an insult because it portrays him as an evil terrorist who wants to destroy america.
In their minds.
The only way to pander to those being "provoked" is to kick all the muslims out of america.
Which isn't acceptable.
So fuck them.