This has created quite an outcry from people who should know better. I simply do not get it. It was not Islam per se that did the terrible 9/11 crime, but rather a small number of Muslims. How anyone can want to pin a crime committed by a few members of a religion on all of their members just boggles the mind. Surely nobody would object to Catholics building a church close to where some slaughter of Belfast Protestants by Catholics (or vice versa) took place.
I often hear people say that they do not dispute the right of the Muslims to build there, they just think it is “insensitive”, or “in bad taste”. Why is that? Again, though it seems so obvious it shouldn’t even have to be said, most Muslims are not guilty of the attack on the World Trade Center. And while it is true that the United States is currently at war with two predominantly Muslim countries, we are of course not at war with the Islamic religion.
If the proposed mosque (or Islamic community center) were known to be an al Qaeda cell, or any group claiming to be responsible for the WTC attack, then the issue would be different (although one might feel even then that there is an advantage to keeping ones enemies in a known place where they can be more easily watched).
Assuming the property is owned and the project is funded by a Muslim institution, there are no conceivable grounds for preventing them, or even discouraging them, from building it. We should even be proud of having them from putting it there, as it is a clear demonstration of our basic rights to freedom of expression and freedom of religion, as well as the recognition of property rights. Maybe it will even serve as a good example to the many religiously dogmatic Muslim states.