…the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks included innocent Muslims, some of whom were killed in the attacks. But when considering the pain and suffering of those who survived 9/11, or who were traumatized by it, it’s worth considering that there are more than half a million Muslims living in New York City. They saw what other New Yorkers saw. They smelled what other New Yorkers smelled. They experienced the same devastating horror and sorrow. They were New Yorkers like any other New Yorkers. They were no more responsible for the attacks than were any other New Yorkers.
[...] The Muslim faith is no more responsible for the 9/11 attacks than is the Republican Party responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, perpetrated by registered Republican Timothy McVeigh. Should the Republican Party choose to build local headquarters near the Oklahoma City memorial site, would anyone object? This isn’t about the pain and suffering of the 9/11 victims, it’s about bigotry.
If all Muslims are to be held responsible for the horrors of 9/11, then all Americans are responsible for every act of bigotry and hatred perpetrated by those whose reactions to 9/11 were most irrational and extreme. Where does it end? Perhaps this is where it should end. Perhaps it’s time to start getting this right. Perhaps it’s time for people to rediscover their basic sense of humanity. Perhaps it’s time to heal collective wounds rather than exploiting, deepening, and adding to them.
If the mosque was being built 200 blocks from Ground Zero instead of two, nothing would change in the minds of those opposed to its construction. Nothing would change because this issue has nothing to do with proximity and everything to do with bigotry. It really is that simple a matter.
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