Mosque at Ground Zero

By: Courtney Harrington

Two blocks away from Ground Zero lies the new Islamic community center where Muslims will go to worship. Photo courtesy of Google images

   On September 11, 2001, a tragedy struck America that would forever go down in history. Al-Qaeda terrorists took over two planes that day and crashed them into the two World Trade Centers in New York City, killing almost 3,000 people. Nine years have passed, and still men and women are working to turn Ground Zero into something memorable. Just as things seemed to be calming down, uproar began.

            A few short blocks away from where the World Trade Centers once stood there soon may be a new Islamic community center. The center itself would cost around 100 million dollars. In the15-story building, people would have access to a gym, swimming people, a performing arts center, and a mosque. The mosque is said to be a place were Muslims can sacrifice themselves and the things they own; in other words this would be a place to worship. When President Barack Obama was asked if he thought it was okay for a place such as that to be allowed so close to Ground Zero, he responded by simply saying yes. His response sent America into a frenzy.

            “Barack Obama has abandoned America at the place where America’s heart was broken nine years ago, and where her true values were on display for all to see,” Debra Burlingame, co-founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America, said. Obama’s statement about the community center was interpreted in several different ways, although most found his statement to be disrespectful to America. Some people simply argue that the mosque should be built a little further ways away.

When cornered by reporters in Florida on a Saturday afternoon, Obama claimed that he was simply talking about religious freedom. “In this country we treat everybody equally and in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion,” Obama stated. The President received praise from the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

            On the other side of things, there are some people who agree and support the building of the mosque near Ground Zero. “I think it’s the right thing to do. I lost 16 friends down there. But Muslims also got killed on 9/11. It would be a good sign of faith that we’re not condemning all Muslims and that the Muslims who did this happened to be extremists. As a black man, I know what it’s like to be discriminated against when you haven’t done anything,” Marvin Bethea, a Ground Zero paramedic said. Others think that building the mosque in New York City would be a good was to “bridge cultural divides” that Americans have.

            The issues over building the Islamic community center two blocks away from Ground Zero are still being debated, and people are on fire about the situation. The governor of New York has offered to talk to the Muslims to attempt to work out an agreement on a new location, but nothing has been decided at this moment. So will the community center be built near Ground Zero?


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