I'm utterly baffled by many of my otherwise intelligent friends who have utterly lost their freakin' minds over the "mega-mosque"/"monster-mosque"/"super-mosque" which is supposedly being built across the street from/in the shadow of/on the site of (and, yes, I heard that from one of the blonde airheads on Fox News just yesterday) Ground Zero, so that Muslims can continue thumbing their noses at us by insisting that we put our First Amendment money where our mouths are.
The most baffling part of it for me is that at least two of these people are NEW YORKERS!!! They know where Ground Zero is. They know where Park Place is. And yet, they persist in using some nine-year-old grudge as an excuse to promote hatred and intolerance.
No. 1 - We don't use 9/11 as an excuse to espouse MORE hate and MORE intolerance. I realize we were all raised to (soto voce whisper) hate the brown folks. And, because we do have a First Amendment, I suppose you get to do that, as long as you keep it to your own damn self. The people who died on 9/11 do deserve the respect... they deserve enough respect that haters don't use their deaths as an excuse to hate more.
No. 2 - THE MOSQUE IS ACTUALLY NOT A MOSQUE, it's a combination cooking school and community center (complete with a basketball court) that just happens to include a prayer room (what with Muslims needing to pray three times a day and all, this is a matter of practicality).
No. 3 - (And this is rather an irrelevant point, since even if the misnomer "Ground Zero Mosque" were accurate, it would still be Constitutionally protected by the First Amendment) THE PARK51 COMMUNITY CENTER IS NOT WITHIN SIGHT OF THAT SACRED OF ALL AMERICAN HOLY PLACES, GROUND ZERO, but actually located two blocks away, on Park Place. (see map below)
Rest easy, haters... your precious Ground Zero is protected from the desecration of a mosque in its sight-lines. You'll still only be able to see the Burger King and the souvenir stands which profit off the tragedy by selling memorabilia from 9/11 (because I guess that's okay, huh). Not to mention the nudie bars and OTB storefronts that punctuate the neighborhood.
Not that that really has an effect on property values in the area. What was once a thriving residential and commercial area has nearly become a ghost town, with residents and retailers having fled years ago. And with no new Trade Center project in the immediate future, the fortunes of those who have remained behind are in doubt.
But that's okay. Make sure we keep those dirty Allah-worshipping foreigners (many of whom are native-born Americans, not that the haters care) from opening a community center across the street from what used to be that OTHER holy American icon destroyed on 9/11 -- The Burlington Coat Factory (What? They destroyed the Burlington Coat Factory? BASTARDS!!!) It might actually begin a revival of business and breathe life into the surrounding community, but don't you mind about that. That shouldn't concern you.
I've had enough... I have been patient with you long enough. The facts of this situation are ridiculously easy to research, and the fact that the haters haven't done it, but just plunged in to hatred full-bore has now worn through my last nerve.
Got it, haters? Do you understand now? Can you visualize your blind ridiculousness and folly? Can you put your racism on hold for about two and half seconds to take a look at the map and realize you're being manipulated by the right-wingers to do their hating for them? If you want to be a puppet of the Right, be my guest (this is also Constitutionally protected). But you should know that's what you're doing.
Just don't do it in my presence. Because I warn you, in a war of words with me, you'll lose. And I'll crush you. Crush you. I have now decided to hate the haters. I realize that that goes against the principles of my Buddhism. But I hate the haters so much, I'm willing to brave the horrible karma just to do it. Shut your mouths. You're not helping.
(The map was pulled from this article by Foster Kramer at The Village Voice blogs.)