Almost a decade after the anniversary of the darkest day in living memory that our country has witnessed, plans to build a Muslim mosque and community center have stirred a wide debate on whether or not it is right to build a place of Muslim worship just two blocks from where Muslim terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center.
In response to the plans to build the Muslim center, many Americans have argued that the construction of the mosque is extremely insensitive to the family and friends of those killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. People are claiming that it promotes potential future attacks and negates the honor of ground zero. Many Christian American’s are upset over the plans and have supported fanatics such as Pastor Terry Jones of Florida, who rallied Christians to burn copies of the Koran, the holy book of the Muslims.
The Loquitur disagrees with these types of people who hate and protest the Muslim religion. We stand behind every citizen’s right to worship or not worship a higher power and believe that all Americans should be actively supporting religious freedom in our country.
The community center and mosque were collectively approved by the Community Board of Lower Manhattan. The majority voted because of America’s religious freedoms. All American citizens have a constitutional right to worship in the religion of their choice. We are built on the conviction that American citizens all have the fundamental human right of freedom of religion. President Barack Obama declared, along with the mayor of New York City, that we must continue to abide by our fundamental values.
In addition, the building of the mosque and community center met all criteria to begin construction. Therefore the board had nothing legally hindering them from allowing them to build.
The Loquitur sees prejudice as the primary issue that is fueling much of the public opinion. We, the Loquitur, point out that those who participated in the terrorist attack were not simply Muslim but extremists. It’s unfair to think that those who will be a part of the community center and mosque will be organizing any sort of hate crime.
In this specific time of distress alongside when we mark the commemoration of 9/11, tensions are high when these people who practice a different religion attempt to move into a new direction, one that the Loquitur sees as a positive one. This is a better time than any to refuse to give in to prejudice and stand up to show people around the world that we are a country that celebrates all different types of religions.
President Obama made a public statement recently about the widespread prejudices existing among citizens of our country.
“Muslims are fighting in Afghanistan in the uniform of the United States armed services. They’re out there putting their lives on the line for us…and we honor their service. Part of honoring their service is making sure that they understand that we don’t differentiate between them and us,” Obama said.
In U.S. history we have many examples of how war and terror have led to a prejudice against entire societies. We have held prejudices against Jews after World War I, the Japanese after World War II and during the current war on terror, we have people calling for the burning of the Koran. We need to stand against the prejudice and refuse to the divide among our own citizens.
The Loquitur believes that in this vulnerable time in our country we need to recognize the values that America is built on. We are a nation of unity and freedom. We ask the Cabrini College community to be more aware of our rights and our common ground with our fellow citizens and not give in to prejudices.