First…I don’t hate Muslims. True, I practice Christianity, but I believe the constitution protects ALL Americans’ right to worship (or not) where and how they will. I just think that placing a mosque, or “Muslim Center” near Ground Zero is a bad idea.
Reality is much different than how people think something should be. I know that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf wishes that this Muslim Center will bring people of different faiths together. He hopes to show New Yorkers and the world that not all people who practice Islam are religious extremists bent on slaughtering blue-eyed babies. He intends this center to be a vector of reconciliation. Of healing.
That just won’t happen. The reality in this country is that many people are incensed that this idea is even being considered. The word that jumps to most people’s minds is “betrayal”, not “healing.”
This situation reminds of another time when a religious man with good intentions caused chaos.
In 2003, the bishops of the Episcopal Church elected Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, to the status of Bishop. His intention was to build up the church, and foster of period of openness and understanding. Sound familiar? What ended up happening was almost immediate chaos, a barrage of lawsuits, and people who were on the fence on that particular issue were pulled kicking and screaming onto one side or the other. My point is not that electing a gay bishop was wrong (although that’s an issue for a separate post). My point is that a religious man had good intentions for his actions and wanted to help his faith, where in reality… the opposite happened. The effects of the schism he caused are still being felt today.
I believe this Imam truly has good intentions. There are not going to be any secret terrorist training facilities hidden beneath Ground Zero. But the amount of public outcry at this perceived slight will far outweigh the benefit that he will bring.