I didn’t lose anyone close to me on 9/11, but I am closer to the experience than most Americans having been at Ground Zero on 9/13. I was there, right at the rubble, could have burned my hands on the still burning hot metal of the little remaining infrastructure of Tower 2. I saw the dumpster labeled “airplane parts” where I could see the main landing gear, a piece of the fuselage with the American Airlines symbol still clearly visible, smoke and dust everywhere. And I saw the crudely spray painted words and arrows put in place for rescue workers pointing towards “The Morgue” to which any and all body parts were to be aggregated.
The thought of a $100 million Mosque (the “Cordoba House”) being built at this sacred site affects us all in different ways. For those who lost loved ones, rescue workers, peaceful muslims, intellectual elites, and people like me. We are all entitled to our own emotions and opinions about this issue.
Because this is America, what we aren’t entitled to is to forbid the building of the Cordoba House. We can speak out against it, we can encourage its developers to move it uptown, we can even march on the site and protest. But in America we don’t tell people where they can and can’t build churches, or what kind of churches (assuming they are built to code and with appropriate zoning fairly determined).
I personally don’t like the idea of the Cordoba House at Ground Zero. I think it is provocative and unnecessary. But I can’t and wouldn’t stop it if this is where the Muslim community decides to put it.