Aspects of the Cordoba House Controversy

1) Can it be stopped? Probably not. It would be unconstitutional for the government to stop it. Politicians trying to use legal tricks to block it should stop. On the other hand, people have a right to protest.

2) Is it gloating? No. Even Jeffery Goldberg, rarely a champion for Islamic causes, praises Imam Rauf and assures his readers that Cordoba House would be the antitheses of a victory mosque.

3) But how would you feel about a Japanese shrine near the Arizona or any other hypothetical analogous example? I would support the constitutional right for the structure to be built as long as it complies with existing laws. I would also welcome an effort by a peaceful group to disavow the violence of a group with whom they share an ethnic, religious or national bond. So if a group of Japanese people who condemn the attack on Pearl Harbor chose to build a shrine in the name of peace near the USS Arizona, I would accept it. The location of Cordoba House is not analogous to a shrine ON Ford Island. I would similarly support effort by a German group condemning genocide with a religious center near Auschwitz (not inside one of its buildings).

4) They don’t allow Churches in Saudi Arabia, do they? The United States does not ban religions based on an association between those religions and oppressive nations. We didn’t ban Protestantism during WWII, and we don’t ban Buddhism based on China’s oppression of its various minorities. We don’t respond to oppression throughout the world by enacting it here.

5) We wouldn’t have allowed it in the past! In the past, we threw Japanese Americans in concentration camps while treating German prisoners with more dignity than we did Black American solders.

6) They’re trying to spread Islam throughout the world! If trying to spread a religion throughout the world made that religion evil, Christianity would be a the top of the list.

7) Personal Opinion? I think Cordoba house was a bad idea that will likely instigate violence and delay the very healing that its supporters are trying to encourage. But if those who don’t like it allow it to be build as Constitutional law requires, it will not be a silent acceptance of insult, but a display of allegiance to our Constitution and the religious freedom that it guarantees.

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