Building Islamic Center also builds tolerance

Heric Rubio

Nine years ago we all watched in horror as two of America’s most iconic buildings toppled to the ground in one of the vilest acts of terrorism in modern history. As we saw those images replayed over and over, we were told that those responsible were of the Muslim faith.

In the following years, as more information on the situation was made public, we came to realize that those responsible were extremists and that these acts were not condoned by the rest of the Muslim world.

So why is it then that the proposed building of Park 51 Cultural Center, a mosque and Islamic center two blocks from Ground Zero, is causing such an uproar?

Has it not been made clear that the people behind 9/11 were extremists, some of whom weren’t even Muslim? In fact, according to Edgar Hopida of the Center for American-Islamic Relations, the “organizers of the cultural center.were among the Muslim leaders and organizations in American who condemned the terrorists and their actions.”

To deny these people the right to build their place of worship where they please would go against every American ideal. Was this country not built on the backs of those escaping religious persecution? Were our soldiers not fighting for the past nine years in the name of freedom and democracy?

It seems to me that this country just isn’t happy unless it’s going after someone. So here’s an idea, if we’re going to stab cab drivers in the neck for what someone with similar, yet distorted, world views did, let’s crucify a Catholic for what some priests have been doing for centuries to little boys.

If we’re going to burn down the future site of a mosque in Tennessee, let’s destroy Christian super churches like the Rock over the Crusades.

Or better yet, let’s not do any of this. Let’s take a cue from the leaders of the Park 51 Cultural Center and establish a dialogue between the various faiths. Let’s learn from our past mistakes and end this cycle of constant civil disagreement.

In a time where we’re trying to move ahead as a country, allowing this to be built so close to such a sensitive site, an area that is, according to Hopida, “filled with liquor stores, porn shops, and other food places,” would be a step forward in our evolution as a nation.

Heric Rubio is the City Times opinion editor