The Islamic center at Ground Zero

It looks like the Islamic cultural center being proposed for construction near the site where the World Trade Center stood before 9/11 will be built:

Plans to build an Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site moved forward after New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to allow the demolition of a building that would be replaced by a mosque.

The panel denied landmark status to a long-vacant 152-year- old lower Manhattan building on Park Place, formerly a Burlington Coat Factory department store. The unanimous vote cleared a hurdle for the site to be torn down and the mosque, recreation and cultural center to be built.

The proposed mosque has drawn opposition from former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who have called its proposed presence near the site of the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history inappropriate. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn have supported the project.

“To cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists,” Bloomberg said at a news conference today on Governors Island in New York Harbor, within view of the Statue of Liberty, where he was joined by Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy. “No neighborhood in our city is off limits to God’s love and mercy.”

The Cordoba Initiative, the project’s sponsor, describes itself as a pluralistic organization seeking better relations between the Islamic community and other faiths. Plans for the center include a 500-seat auditorium, swimming pool, restaurants, bookstores and space for art exhibitions, according to the organization’s website.

via Ground Zero Mosque Plans Move Forward After Key Vote – Bloomberg.

We do have freedom of religion in this country, so I see no legal basis for preventing this construction.  But this is not just a mosque.  Swimming pool?  restaurants?  And I’d like more information about the Cordoba Initiative.  Is this a Muslim group that claims Islamic sovereignty over Spain?  If so, they are likely radicals.  And is there any doubt that radical Muslims will use this monument as an occasion for triumphalism? But, again, religious freedom has to mean freedom for Muslims and everyone else as well as for Christians.

We can complain about something without thinking that the state should prevent it (a principle that has other applications). [Like what?]


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