I'm watching the news here in my hotel room in San Francisco.
Today's "news/entertainment" (because that's what television news has become) features a small town minister intent on burning the Koran and debates about whether building a mosque near Ground Zero is appropriate.
The minister claims it's not about him, it's about the principle. When pressed by the reporter, he declares that his issue with the Koran is that it doesn't recognize Jesus as "the crucified and resurrected saviour." So burning the Koran is justified in his mind.
Oh my. Where do you begin to address such stupidity?
But what about New York City? There is such a kerfuffle about building a mosque near Ground Zero that even President Obama is carefully weighing his words about the issue.
"Not on sacred ground," declares the opposition. If not on sacred ground, where does one build a place of worship?
Do people actually believe that the Islamic faith is to blame for 911? Do they actually believe that every Muslim is a terrorist? Do they actually believe that the actions of a small group of terrorists is proof that all Muslims support such violence?
If they do they probably think that every Italian family belongs to the Mafia; every Japanese North American deserved to be interned during World War Two; and all indigenous people are shiftless drunkards who need to be taken care of by the state.
Whatever happened to freedom of religion and equal rights? Whatever happened to tolerance? Where is multi-culturalism?
And where the hell is common sense?
Certainly not with Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, who was quoted in TIME Magazine online:
"The former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, claimed that the project, which is partially intended to be an interfaith community center, would be a "desecration," adding that "decent" Muslims ought not object to his opinion."
Fortunately, Mr. Giuliani no longer holds public office.
Enough with the hate.
We desecrate the memory of all those that were killed at the Twin Towers by perpetuating ignorance and intolerance.
A mosque, a church, a temple, a synagogue should all be built around the site. We should use each of these "scared sites" to remember the dead and build communities based in trust, respect and friendship.
These buildings would stand for all the world to see that terrorism cannot divide us.
© Patrick O’Neill 2010. All rights reserved