Park51, aka Cordoba House, aka the “Ground Zero Mosque,” is a planned Islamic cultural center. The $100 million, 13-story structure would house an auditorium, a theater, a gym, a basketball court, a childcare center, a book store, a cooking school, a food court, and a mosque at the site of an old Burlington Coat Factory.
This is America, a nation founded on religious freedom. So yeah, where’s my shovel?
Not so fast. The majority of Americans oppose Park51 because the building is “too close” to Ground Zero, where Muslim terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center towers, killing nearly 3,000 people.
Protesters say that Park51 is “insensitive” and “sacrilege on sacred ground” and “a gross insult to the memory of those who were killed on that terrible day.” Why? Because it’s an Islamic cultural center, and the 9/11 terrorists did their deeds in the name of Islam.
This confuses me.
First, it’s a bit odd to draw such a connection between the acts of a small Muslim terrorist group and the identity of a religion practiced by over 1.5 billion people around the world. This is not an Al-Qaeda cultural center. This is a cultural center, open to the public, for adherents of what may, by 2070, be the world’s largest religion.
Second, do protesters feel the same about analogous cases? Would they protest U.S. buildings constructed at the sites of the two largest U.S.-perpetrated terrorist acts in history: the nuclear bombings of civilians in Nagaski and Hiroshima? Would they oppose the building of Christian churches near the sites of massacres committed by the Christian terrorist group The Lord’s Resistance Army? Somehow, I suspect not.
I don’t write all this because I’m a fan of Islam. Islam is irrational, and generally bad for humanity. In fact, I think Islam is demonstrably the worst major religion in the world. (I can say more later, but for now let’s start with just one comparison. Christianity was founded by and modeled after a Jewish pacifist who predicted the end of the world. Islam was founded by one of the most successfully violent generals in world history, who married a child. Let’s just say you have to try harder to make Christianity evil than to make Islam evil.)
But the arguments of Park51 protestors look more like hypocritical bigotry than sound reasoning to me.