President Obama cited historic presidence for religious tolerance during a speech he gave on Friday, in which he offered support for an Islamic community center. Plans to build the $100 million dollar center have been met with a lot of controversy, as its developers have received approval to build the center three blocks away from Ground Zero.
I was almost impressed that Obama had decided to take a definitive position on a controversial issue, until I read that NYC Mayor Bloomberg had taken the same position a week ago. I’m not surprised that the so much controversy is being raised arround the issue. During a recent episode of The Daily Show, John Stewart pointed out the many protests against the building of mosques, which are not located within such close proximity to Ground Zero, although the proximity seems to be the main argument driving the protests against the center. He noted opposition to local mosques that reach as far away from G.Z. as California. It doesn’t even surprise me that the opposition has pegged it a mosque, when in fact the development also includes a performing arts theatre, swimming pool, culinary school & restaurant and a gym.
An issue that does concern me is that the developers are comfortable and adamant about building the center in that area; It seems to already be a target for hate. It also concerns (but doesn’t surprise) me that the opposition to the center has directly credited Islam with the 9/11 attacks. I suppose now that Saddam’s regime has been toppled, we need another scapegoat to misdirect our hurt and anger towards.