Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Islam is not scary.

There’s a debate going on right now about whether a Muslim community center, including a place for Islamic worship, should be built two blocks from Ground Zero in New York. Many people think it’s a slap in the face to all the victims from 9/11, that it’s a tribute to Islam and a victory for the perpetrators of the attack.

Understandable. I can see where these arguments come from, but they’re wrong. The building of this community center, (yes, community center, including a culinary school, swimming pool, and performing arts center) is not of bad-taste, is not going to create more terrorists, and is not a victory for supporters of 9/11.

It’s a community center. That’s it. It’s a place to worship, swim a few laps, and get involved with members of the community. If the Muslim faith wasn’t attached to it, everyone would be saying, “Hell yeah, community centers are vital in large cities.” But Since the word “Mosque” has been attached to it, everyone assumes they’re going to be launching grenades from water-balloon launchers at Ground Zero.

Which is an important distinction to make, by the way. The building isn’t on Ground Zero. It isn’t located in the footprint of the Towers. It’s down the street. A short jog. Further than Brett Favre can throw a football. Out of shouting distance. It’s not like Al-Qaeda said, “First we’ll blow up the towers, hang loose for almost a decade, then build a community center down the street that gives local children a good place to be active and learn as the final ‘Fuck you!’ to America!”

People are outraged by this because they see a headline that says, “Mosque to be Built on Ground-Zero” and they freak out. To a lot of people, Islam equals suicide bombing, and mentions of 9/11 equals fuck-everybody-else. Blind patriotism springs up and eyes become shut off from reason and the actual facts.

The simple truth is that a mosque is nothing more than a place where Muslims practice their faith. The only differences between a mosque and a church or a synagogue are different songs and different names for “God.”

9/11 was a huge attack on America which caused people to “stand up” and “support the beliefs our country was founded on.” However, one of the original beliefs of our country was freedom of religion. That’s why we came over here in the first place. If the community center in New York is not allowed to be built because “it would be shameful to our country,” then we are enormous hypocrites and are only doing exactly what we are trying to stop: The dissolution of the core beliefs of our country.

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