A very, very complex question. While it’s obvious that Islam didn’t attack the United States, rather a small group of radicals operating on their idea of Islam; it still seems to me to be a bit of a risqué move to build a mosque on the site of the nation’s greatest tragedy, committed in the name of that particular faith.
The BBC have posted a video of some of the reactions people had when the announcement was made. One woman holding a sign up that read “Islam builds mosques at the sites of its conquests and victories”. Well, historically she’s quite accurate; but then again every conquering race up to and including the United States (who, let’s face it, are steadily becoming the modern-day British Empire) built structures to mark their victories. However, to assume that the events of 9/11 were a ‘victory for Islam’, I feel, is a little bit ignorant.
That being said, can you think of an instance where the building of a religious structure so close to the event of a radicalist faction’s attack would be welcomed? After the fall of the Spanish Inquisition throughout Europe, it took decades for anyone to feel comfortable about Catholic structures being built, especially if they were going to be built and the sites of burnings and tortures.
Although I perfectly understand that the radicals don’t directly represent the principles of the overall faith; does it not seem like stirring up trouble for trouble’s sake to built a monument to something which the insular and culturally ignorant (no offence intended) society of the USA would regard as the body of people that attacked their homeland? This is, of course, operating on the semi-justified stereotype that Americans don’t really know much about the world outside their borders and lump groups of people they don’t understand together to better focus their aggression towards them.
The Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, said he hoped the mosque would “bring our city even closer together”; said in the most true and noble sentiment, worthy of the constitution upon which the ‘land of the free’ was founded. Unfortunately for Mike, the ‘home of the brave’ is now firmly the ‘home of the scared and vengeful’, and like any man or beast that’s backed into a corner and feels out of its depth, it’s going to respond with unthinking violence.
I honestly hope everything turns out for the best, but I can’t help but think this is a terrible idea.