This debate is driving me mad. I keep thinking of that famous quote:
First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
— Martin Niemöller
This is America. We are allowed to worship however we want wherever we want. No matter what anyone else thinks of it. We’re even allowed to be atheists, Satanists if we like. There were Muslims, American and otherwise, that died at Ground Zero. Consider how the families of these people feel about this conversation.
We have American soldiers who happen to be practicing Islam while serving our country in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention numerous other stations around the world. Consider how these men and women feel about this conversation.
Al-Qaeda may have invoked Islam in their attacks on the World Trade Center and on the Pentagon, but Islam did not put a contract out on America.
President Bush did not declare a war on Islam. We declared war on terror. Let’s think clearly, and remember what our country was founded on — personal freedoms, freedom of thought.
From our Declaration of Independence, which declares it to be “self-evident” that “all men are created equal,” to our constitution, which wraps things up by saying “…no religious test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” it is perfectly clear that practicing Islam anywhere in New York is not, in itself, illegal.
In my opinion, telling a religious organization where it can build is one of the least American things we can do. If this were a church of any denomination, would we be having this conversation?