Please, no mosque-burnings or ethnic cleansings
If your blood pressure was dangerously elevated when you read previous posts on the proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan, I earnestly suggest that you turn elsewhere now, perhaps to the “Joke of the Week.” It would distress me to think that I might have injured your health.
People who are outraged at the proposed Islamic center near the World Trade Center site might consider that the Masjid Manhattan has operated a house of worship on Warren street, between Broadway and Church, since 1970. Its members currently meet at a location on Broadway while they seek a permanent site.
Perhaps, since the residents of Manhattan have had no particular objection to their presence over the past forty years, just as the residents of Manhattan proper have had no particular objections to the proposed Islamic center, there is still an opportunity for rational views to prevail.
Of the people who commented on my original post about the right under the First Amendment of this Muslim group to build a house of worship, one, exactly one, acknowledged that constitutional right. The other objections went in for heavy breathing and arguments beside the point. One, and I think this was supposed to be the sockdolager, asked how I would like a Japanese temple at Pearl Harbor.
As it happens, Lisa Miller reports in Newsweek, about fourteen percent of Hawaiians consider themselves to be ethnically Japanese, and presumably some of them live and work on Oahu. Moreover, there already is a Buddhist temple, the Aiea Hongwanji Mission, half a mile from Pearl Harbor.
The hoo-hah over mosques in America will not come as a surprise to anyone who has read Mr. Hofstadter’s Paranoid Style in American Politics. We have been prone to these ugly and embarrassing outbreaks since we hanged witches in Salem. Like our periodic financial panics, they pass.