At the annual White House Ramadan Dinner, President Obama clarified his stance on the construction of the Muslim center near Ground Zero. He stated that Muslims have the same right to freedom of religion as everyone else in America, and if they want to build a mosque, they have just as much right as those who would build a church, synagogue, or Hindu temple.
The following day, President Obama expanding on his comment by saying: “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country is about. And I think it’s very important, as difficult as some of these issues are, that we stay focused on who we are as a people and what our values are all about.”
Republicans were quick to criticize President Obama, claiming that he initially supported the construction, but backed off the next day. Republican congressman Peter King appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union,” saying that the President is disconnected from average citizens, who, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll, are 70% opposed to the center’s location. Jerrold Nadler, the Democratic congressman whose district includes “Ground Zero,” countered the Republican attack saying, “We were not attacked by all Muslims. And there were Muslims who were killed there.” The families of 9-11 victims are split in their views on the construction of the site.
MOMism: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Emotions are raw over this issue. Still fresh in the minds of the American people…still painful, still scary, still at War, still confused, still no resolution really.
There is so much going on in our country right now, people are afraid…of losing their jobs, of paying the bills, of terrorist threats, you name it, it seems out of control right now. We are afraid. And, everything changed after 9-11. It symbolizes a horrific event in our nation’s history, but also the day we became afraid.
We can rationalize it, because we do believe in everyone’s Constitutional rights…to practice whatever religion they want, to say what they want, to carry a gun if they want…we don’t have to like what people say or do, but we respect everyone’s rights to say and do it. But, we are still so emotionally exposed when it comes to 9-11. Time and place seems appropriate here…it seems as if we need to heal a little longer. Nothing seems resolved yet. Maybe we need some more outreach from the moderate Muslim community…to teach us more…to denounce the extremists…to succeed at some sort of closure…to help us all heal. Because we are afraid.
Yes, Muslim citizens have every right to build a mosque near Ground Zero (there are already mosques near Ground Zero, as close as four blocks away), but now? Just as the “Freedom Tower” is being built, it seems like rubbing salt in an open wound. If we work together to heal first…build foundations of relationships and watch the construction of our sky scrappers together…celebrate the symbolic representation of the American spirit and our collective resiliency…we’ll still have the scars of 9-11, but we’ll have thicker skin and be a stronger, more unified nation.