Mosque could send a powerful, positive message
Concerned by opposition to building a mosque a short distance from where the two towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, President Obama said, "Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country" — but later added that he was only referring to the constitutional right to freedom of religion.
Not mentioned was the possibility for reconciliation between people of different religious beliefs that could take place within a cultural center such as the imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has proposed.
Opponents to a mosque being built are saying their problem is Islam itself, arguing that even the most Americanized Muslim secretly wants to replace the Constitution with Sharia law. Meanwhile, opponents to same-sex marriage ignore the possibility that two men or two women might enjoy a monogamous relationship throughout their lifetimes without the responsibilities that having progeny entail. And opponents to endorsing a nuclear weapons treaty disregard the Iranian claim that their use of nuclear power would be for domestic purposes only.
To promote understanding among people of all ethnic origins and faiths, I believe we might build a cultural center at ground zero, where Americans could join with Muslims and others in honoring the diversity of lives that were lost on 9/11, unthreatened by a mosque a few blocks away.
Joanna C. Rovelstad