Just How Far From Ground Zero Is A Mosque Acceptable, And Does Size Count?

Posted by | August 29, 2010 20:52 | Filed under: Top Stories

One way those who don’t really like mosques at all have of opposing the Lower Manhattan Tolerance Center is to say it’s about location, location, location.  This is not true of all the opposers, of course, but it’s an artful dodge for some. So what is the proper distance, asks Chris Moody at The Daily Caller.

  • Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, for instance, said last week that there should be a “zone of solemnity” around sites like Ground Zero, but did not specify how far such a zone should spread.“I do believe that there are special places on Earth that should have a zone of solemnity around them,” he said last week. “I would strongly urge those who are thinking of putting a mosque within that zone to rethink their position.”

Hey, you’re not even running in New York. Wouldn’t you be better off saying it’s up to the locals? When pressed, Quinn’s office couldn’t come up with a proper distance from Ground Zero.

  • Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich has said that he would approve of a mosque if it were near Central Park, which is just beyond four miles off the site. Likewise, former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has criticized the mosque’s position on grounds that it is “steps away from where radical Islamists killed 3000 people.”

What, Midtown is too close? Can we agree that Sutton Place would be okay?  What about Chelsea? Can’t Muslims have a place to go when they disembark a train at Penn Station?

  • …a spokesman for House Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, simply said that Reid thinks the community center should “be built someplace else.”

Isn’t one Sharron Angle in a political race enough?

  • It’s just not that simple, said Robert Spencer, author and editor of the website Jihad Watch, adding that it would be impossible to pin down an exact appropriate location for an Islamic center in the neighborhood. The proximity to Ground Zero is just one component of a wide range of factors that ought to be considered, he said. These include “the historical connections of the new site to 9/11 and the buildings in the surrounding area.”

Given the aid and comfort Spencer gives to Islam-haters, one wonders if he believes that the closest place a mosque should be is someplace outside the United States. And Spencer doesn’t want to come out and play. (A Spencer rally is pictured)

“I’m not going to give you an address. There is no way I could possibly do that or anybody could do that,” he replied when asked during a phone interview. “…You’re trying to trap me and I know it. You want to play the game? I know how to play this game. I’ve been doing this for many years, alright? I’ve talked to lots of reporters, I know the games you play. I ain’t playing. You’re trying to get me to give you an address and say ‘oh, if it’s one block over or one building over then it’s okay with Spencer, but one building over here, no then it’s a triumphal mosque.’ Well I’m not playing.

  • Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and an opponent of the project, said that while he disagreed with the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission decision to approve the project, he did think there was a more proper distance. “My guess is two or three blocks further away,” Land said. “Something that would not be within eyesight if it weren’t for intervening buildings or that you couldn’t hit with a rock from Ground Zero.”

Land might want to reconsider, since I lived about a mile away at the time and saw the smoke arise from the World Trade Center from my location. Then again, I believe the mosque should be built anywhere they want it.

  • “I would not say that there is a specific distance that should be maintained between any given mosques and Ground Zero,” said Stephen Schwartz, executive director Center for Islamic Pluralism, a Washington-based organization that has published articles arguing against the mosque’s construction. “The problem with the Park51 project is its size and ambitious, if not overbearing character. Even had there been no controversy, the large building, its definition as an Islamic Center with a mosque accommodating 1,000 people at Friday prayer, and the ambitious publicity for it underscored the question of insensitivity.”

So, would it be acceptable if the mosque accommodated 5oo people? 100 people? How about a phone booth? Do we really now have to debate whether size counts?

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By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.

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