The Mosque Near Ground Zero: A Case of Insensitivity
"Of all the sites in all of the cities in all of the United States, this is probably the least appropriate to build a mosque, because it reopens hardly-closed wounds in the consciousness of a people that have been attacked … The New York debate isn't about freedom - but sensitivity."
"Of all the gin joints
in all the towns in all the world," complained Humphrey Bogart as Rick
Blaine in Casablanca, when Ingrid Bergman (Ilsa) appeared precisely in
his, resurrecting an old and deeply-buried pain. Barack (Hussein) had Obama had
to say something like that in order to rectify his notable gaffe in defending
the right of the Muslims to build a mosque near Ground Zero: Of all the sites in all of the cities in all of the United States, this is probably the least appropriate to build a mosque, because it reopens hardly-closed wounds in the consciousness of a people that have been attacked … The New York debate isn't about freedom - but sensitivity. In a bout of Zapaterism [reference to Spain's prime
minister] - a syndrome that manifests by telling everyone what they want to
hear - the American president succumbed to the temptation to win Muslim sympathy
during a dinner commemorating the Islamic holiday of Ramadan. But the angry
reaction of his countrymen forced him to back off when confronted with the
logically-adverse currents of public opinion. In the end, perhaps a little late,
he put things in their proper terms: the right to build mosques is not
debatable in an open society, but maybe to do so in this place is a bad idea.
At the root of this
controversy, which is so familiar to us, living as we do in a country that has also
been hit by Islamic fundamentalism, isn't so much the issue of tolerance, as that
of reciprocity. The liberal state provides for freedom of religion and makes it
possible without major problems, as evidenced by the massive Ramadan celebrations
in Europe and America. But such peaceful coexistence shouldn't be clouded by
gestures that could be interpreted as unnecessary provocations.
The coexistence of the
civilizations in fact functions in day-to-day reality - in Spain, Muslim workers
even have a right to adapt their workday to the practice of fasting - and without
significant interference in their exercise of prayer or preaching. This is an
issue assumed as a matter of course within democratic societies; however, it
doesn't receive reciprocal treatment in the majority of Islamic nations, where the
erection Christian churches or the celebration of Christmas and Easter are often
prohibited. It is this lack of corresponding fairness that leads to suspicion
and aggrieved sentiments.
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
And so, the New York debate
isn't about freedom - but sensitivity. That Cordoba House - Oh My Lord, the Andalusian myth! - the magnet
that some imam wants to build in the place where the tragedy [of 9-11] hurts
the most, won't heal any wounds - it will reopen them. And although it is clear
that Islam isn't responsible for what happened there, it is just as obvious
that the societal impact of such an initiative will not bring willing people
together, but rather drive them apart. Tolerance must be mutual or it isn't
tolerance; Obama’s error suggests that at least in cases involving sensitivity,
one must rely on the common sense of coexistence.
[Editor's Note: The name of the community center, the Cordoba House, is meant to invoke Cordoba, Spain, between the 8th and 11th centuries, where Muslims, Christians and Jews are said to have co-existed peacefully. This may be the "Andalusian myth" referred to by the author.]
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