Ground Zero mosque a symbol of our ideals

Map of downtown New York City locates the World Trade Center site, the controversial proposed Islamic center and other institutions and businesses in the neighborhood MCT 2010

With MOSQUE, McClatchy Washington bureau by Willam douglaas

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The man, money and motives behind the Ground Zero mosque are enough to justify moving it elsewhere.

At the very least, it seems this mosque is disrespectful to the memory of those who died at the hands of religious extremists nine years ago this week. At the most, it seems like a victory lap for a group of anti-American radicals who claim the United States has as much blood on our hands as Al Qaeda does.

The opponents of this mosque, some 70 percent of the American public and political leaders on both sides of the aisle, want the mosque to be built somewhere else. Not because they are anti-Islamic, but out of respect to hallowed ground, regardless of what the Far-Left commentators would like you to believe.

But, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t build it. In fact, we should absolutely build it.

Some of the more passionate opponents see this mosque as an Islamo-fascist declaration of conquest. However, if we let them build it, it will become the exact opposite.

We can turn it into a triumph of American ideals.

We can announce to the world that no act of terror, no matter how brutal and unjustified, will shake our beliefs in religious freedom, freedom of speech and freedom to assemble. We can tell the Muslim world that we do not harbor hatred and that we do not hold them responsible for the acts of madmen who murdered innocent people in the name of god.

We can show the citizens of the world that America is a place of mercy and forgiveness.

The supporters of radical Islam want us to protest and stop this mosque. They want to show their moderate cousins that America hates Islam. They want to use this as a recruiting tool for their next class of homicidal pawns.

But, we can beat them. Not with our might, but with the values that make us a great nation; the very same values the terrorists detest so greatly.

If we let our ideals speak for us, we can show them there is nothing they can do to destroy the resiliency of the American spirit.

We can show that in spite of everything a mosque at Ground Zero is okay by us.

It would be a bold statement to our friends and an even bolder one to our enemies.

It is easy to understand why many people don’t want a mosque, funded by questionable sources, so close to a site of such great significance.

But, this columnist can think of no better way to honor the memory of those we lost than to build it. This mosque will do a better job than any monument could ever do.

It will forever be a statement that we are for freedom of religion everywhere. Not just where it’s convenient or where it makes us comfortable, but also where it challenges us and pushes us to live the values we hold so dear.

They may tear down buildings, blow up planes and murder children in the name of god, but they must never cause us to lose faith in religious freedom.

If nothing else, we should build this mosque on sacred American ground because we couldn’t

build a synagogue in Mecca. It will stand as the perfect example of American greatness.

We afford the same rights to people who disagree with us. We go out of our way to protect the very same people who are trying to destroy us. And we stand for something because it is right, and not because it’s easy.

So when you walk into a church, synagogue, mosque, temple or other house of worship this weekend, or you choose not to, remember that you are there freely because everyone is allowed to make that choice for themselves in this country. Not everyone else is so lucky.

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