A Mosque at ground zero?

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President Obama's recent approval for the construction of the Cordoba Centre, an Islamic centre and Mosque near the site of the September 11 attack on the twin tower attack has quite understandably raked up a huge controversy. The President claims to have based his approval on the basic principle of religious freedom, as according to him there is no reason why Muslims should be denied the right to build a place of worship at the given location. The move is being strongly opposed by many including retired FDNY Deputy Chief Al Santora father of Christopher the youngest victim of 9/11 who see this as an insult to all those who lost their lives in the ghastly terrorist attack. Supporters of the Cordoba centre however feel that a Mosque near the site of attack would be a testimony to America's liberal credentials and the free spirit of New Yorkers in particular. They argue that any steps by the government to stop the construction of the mosque could give it an image of being bigoted and intolerant to Islam and push moderate Muslims into the fold of religious fanatics and extremists. Detractors of the Mosque however feel that establishing an Islamic centre including a Mosque would be seen as a victory by the same groups that planned and carried out the attack on the twin towers and give them a sense of jubilation, they also feel that Imam Feisal Al Rauf who is heading the initiative is not above board. Supporters of the Mosque however hold the view that the entire Muslim community cannot be blamed or held responsible for what a handful of terrorists did and the American public should not let itself be swayed by politicians who are trying to make an issue of the proposed Mosque and divide the people on religious lines. The controversy rages on...

While much can be argued in favour of and against both sides, we feel that the right thing that a government which wants to project itself as being neutral and non-religious would be to encourage the construction of a 'Peace memorial' near the site of the 9/11 attack where visitors could spend a minute in silent homage to the victims, meditate or just go around the place. This would be better than building a Church, Mosque or any other place of worship and would also help the government steer clear of any controversy.


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