John Grooms of Creative Loafing titled a recent post, “Ban all mosques and illegal immigrants?!” I’ll address the latter charge first. Illegal immigrants are already “banned” by federal law. Their very presence within our borders is a crime punishable by deportation. Illegal immigrants have no right to reside in the United States. Enforcing our laws is not an act of xenophobia, it’s a mark of civilized society.
Now, on to the first charge. No one is saying “ban all mosques.” Okay, perhaps a few fringe nutcases have said that, but “the right wing” is not declaring war on American mosques as Grooms would have us believe. Instead, a number of concerned citizens are rightly expressing outrage that under the guise of “tolerance” and our freedom of religion we’re going to allow the construction of the next stop on the Terrorism World Tour.
Grooms fails to grasp the central debate. It’s not about what can be built, it’s about what should be built. The very name “Cordoba House” and general lack of consideration of non-Muslim visitors should be obvious red flags for a center that’s—at least publicly—supposed to be about cultural exchange and increased understanding. Then there’s the Cordoba House’s ominous Twitter response to Greg Gutfeld’s proposed gay bar.
Why should we be expected to “consider the sensibilities” of the Ground Zero Mosque’s backers if they’re not going to consider the sensibilities of everyday New Yorkers whose families and friends were murdered by radical Islamic jihadists? If we’re going to welcome a mosque named after the Cordoba caliphate, then the mosque backers should be equally welcoming of a gay bar named Granada’s.
Finally, on freedom of religion: there are over 100 mosques in New York City. To pretend that not building the Cordoba House, the Ground Zero mosque, jeopardizes Islamic New Yorkers’ ability to practice their religion is pure nonsense. It’s a histrionic attempt to justify the project by any means possible. Grooms would like to interpret the first amendment and freedom of religion as a requirement that we condone the activities of others, no matter how repugnant. To follow Grooms’ logic, one would have to support the construction of the James Ray Cultural Center across from the National Civil Rights Museum.