Things seem awfully heated in America just now; so heated you could probably toast a slice of bread by jabbing it on a stick and holding it toward the Atlantic. As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, millions are hopping mad over the news that a bunch of triumphant Muslim extremists are about to build a “victory mosque” slap bang in the middle of Ground Zero.
The professional exaggerators who initially raised objections to the “Ground Zero Mosque” keep calling it the “Ground Zero Mosque”, incidentally, because it’s a catchy title that paints a powerful image – specifically, the image of a mosque at Ground Zero.
When I first heard about it, I imagined it was just a rumour that had grown arms and legs in the telling – I was wrong. The “Ground Zero Mosque” is a genuine proposal, but it’s slightly less provocative than its critics’ nickname makes it sound. For one thing, it’s not at Ground Zero. Also, it isn’t a mosque.
Wait, it gets less interesting. It’s not being built by extremists either. Cordoba House, as it’s known, is a proposed Islamic cultural centre, which, in addition to a prayer room, will include a basketball court, restaurant, and swimming pool. Its aim is to improve inter-faith relations. It’ll probably also have comfy chairs and people who smile at you when you walk in the door.
To get to the Cordoba Centre from Ground Zero, you’d have to walk in the opposite direction for two blocks, before turning a corner and walking a bit more. The journey should take roughly two minutes, or possibly slightly longer if you’re heading an angry mob who can’t hear your directions over the sound of their own enraged yelling.
New York is a densely populated city and there are lots of other buildings and businesses within two blocks of Ground Zero, including a McDonald’s and a Burger King, neither of which has yet been accused of serving burgers and chips on sacred ground. Nevertheless, for the opponents of Cordoba House, two blocks is too close, full stop. However, they haven’t produced a map pinpointing precisely how close is OK.
That’s literally what I’d ask them given the opportunity. I’d stand there pointing at a map. That hasn’t happened. Instead, 70% of Americans are opposed to the “Ground Zero Mosque”, presumably in many cases because they’ve been led to believe it literally is a mosque at Ground Zero.
According to a recent poll, one in five Americans believes Barack Obama is a Muslim, even though he isn’t. A quarter of those who believe he’s a Muslim also claimed he talks about his faith too much. Americans aren’t stupid. Clearly these particular Americans have either gone insane or been seriously misled. Where are they getting their information?
Sixty per cent said they learned it from the media. Which means it’s time for the media to give up. Seriously, give up now because either you’re making things worse or no one’s paying attention anyway!