Going to ground over his words?

I want to tread gently on the subject of plans to build a mosque near what is called Ground Zero. The matter is bound to be controversial, given the events of September 11, 2001, and the many arguments that make it appear as a strike by followers of Islam against those who do not share that faith, and of course a direct attack on the USA. So, what does the US President add to the discussion by coming out with what appeared to be a definitive position in support? Could he be anything but a lightening rod for the already polarized positions?

He said on Friday that, in keeping with American traditions of religious freedom, people had the right to build structures that facilitate the practising of their religion. He said: “That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.” He appeared to step back from endorsing the plan, however, when the next day he qualified his remarks, saying that he was not commenting on the wisdom of the plan. While he believes Muslims have the right to build the mosque and community center so close to where two hijacked jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center towers, killing 3,000 people, he is not sure it is a good idea. He is clearly mindful of the deep held hurt and sensitivities but felt that he had to express a civic position, but when he speaks, his civic position is immediately political.

Those who oppose the president politically or are against the idea have plenty to jump on, and were quick to paint the president as insensitive to a significant portion of America’s population, and especially those whose loved ones were killed in the horrendous tragedy at the World Trade Center. There may never be a way for those directly affected to ever feel that those who may have some connection with the perpetrators have any normal rights.

Like the attack on the World Trade Center, it is now a fact. The president’s words are the same: they have been uttered and the discussion will never be the same again. Somehow, I don’t feel that the president’s trying to qualify the impression given by his original comments will make any difference to those whose minds are made up. More so that the words were uttered by a president who,unlike any of his predecessors, has more than a passing acquaintance with Islamic traditons, even though he is now a practising Christian.

Do the views of those who will not be convinced matter more than those who may be swayed?

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About The Grasshopper

Professional international economist, recently retired from an international organization. I use blogging as a way of organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, and spent many years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for a few decades, and worked and travelled abroad extensively. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of girls. Also, married to an economist.
This entry was posted in Government, Language, Public policy, Religion, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Going to ground over his words?

  1. ac says:

    The physical and emotional wounds are not healed for the country. So for the President to speak in such in a manner is like (a) throwing gasoline into a raging fire (b) adding insult to injury. He should know better. No one would dispute the American right to religion; we all know and respect that. However, this issue is not only about religious freedom but for showing the respect for those who lost their lives and loved ones in such an horrific act. America is a big country they can build a mosque anywhere. But why Ground Zero? Shows lack of respect.The president should have been more thoughtful.

  2. BAFBFP says:

    The fact that MOST Americans enjoy being lied to, especially by their Government, (how else could they be involved in some kind of drawn out military campaign ongoing for the past one hundred and twenty years) leaves me numb on the subject but to say that the true victims, other than the people of the Middle East are the members of the affected families who are convinced (know) that the true culprits of this event have not yet been publicly exposed. What torture knowing that the idiot majority are looking in every direction to point blame but at themselves for being so easily duped… and you who lost a loved one 9-11 is powerless to do anything!

  3. Pingback: President Obama, the Ground Zero Mosque and a grasshopper named Dennis « Barbados Free Press

  4. Pingback: Global Voices in English » Jamaica, U.S.A.: Thoughts on the Mosque

  5. Dennis Jones says:

    You are right, its as if those planning the Mosque had a hand in the destruction of the Towers so they could build there at a later date. The US of A is a big Country, why build a Mosque right where the Towers were? To me it seems they, (Mosque builders) are wanting to put it there to provide a visual comfirmation of Muslim triumph over the US. I disagree to allow them to put it there for that reason alone. There are way too many people who have lost loved ones because of the Muslim belief that is contorted and twisted by the fanaticals to serve whichever purpose they are believing in at the moment. The right to practice whatever religion is very strong in this Country, because of that, the Muslims must have the same right as I do, to believe as each feels. That being said, the laws of this Country must be followed by all, for us in the US to live in harmony.

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