I am continuously amazed by people who firmly believe that a person is an idiot for having an opinion about a subject or issue, that they don’t agree with. I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of thought. While I may not always agree with a person’s perspective or opinion, who am I to call that person a ‘complete idiot’ or tell them that they’re not entitled to their opinion because (for example) they’re not American? I’m sorry, is there a ban preventing global citizens from forming an opinion about anything American? Or Canadian? Or Russian?
On August 5th, Richard Martineau expressed his opinion on the subject of allowing a mosque to be built next to Ground Zero. He also blogged about this on August 14th, following President Obama’s decision to support this endeavor. Essentially, he is asking why it is necessary to build this mosque next to Ground Zero. He wonders if the project organizers realize that the 9/11 wound is still very fresh. And I have to ask, will this wound ever really ‘close?’ The 9/11 attacks caused a lot of damage (to put it mildly) – socially, emotionally and psychologically. This affected numerous families, friends, colleagues – the people affected by the attacks will never forget what happened, who provoked the attacks, and the people that they lost. Is it too much to ask that this new mosque be built elsewhere? Isn’t this like pouring salt on an open wound? There are over 100 mosques in New York – do New Yorkers really need another? And more importantly, were New Yorkers asked if they supported this project, or was the decision simply made for them?
Sure, you will find plenty of people who support this new mosque. But, I’m pretty sure you will also find plenty of people who don’t support it, who are insulted by it, who are in disbelief. For me, it’s a question of sensitivity and respect. While Obama seems to think that this is just a question of religion, I reckon it goes a little beyond that.
What do you think?
Update: Ross Douthat takes a look at both sides in this column he wrote for the NY Times on August 15th. Ian Gurvitz also wrote an excellent article for Courrier Internationale. Unforutnately, this article is only available in French so you’ll have to Google-translate it if you want to read it.