Governor David Patterson of New York has offered a piece of state land in exchange for the property within two blocks of the World Trade Center site on which Muslim developers wish to erect a Muslim cultural and worship center, also known as a mosque. The Governor observed that the plan "obviously ignites tremendous feelings of anger and frustration." A blog site has suggested the developer has rejected the governor's offer.
In Canada, Tarek Fatah, a Muslim author, in an interview with Fox News, called the project "a deliberate provocation." He said in the interview, "They might have the right to build the mosque, but they do not have the wisdom." Elsewhere, in an opinion piece in the New York Post, Mayor Bloomberg was called sanctimonious for declaring that opponents of the project "ought to be ashamed of themselves."
Research into Muslim opinions about the matter shows a wide range of views and name calling, not unlike the dialogues between liberal and conservative factions in this country's political theater. The writer on a site called muslimmatters.org in an article entitled,"Tarek Fatah Does Not Represent Me: Muslims 101 for Media," finishes his (her) diatribe against Mr. Fatah by asking the question, "Who represents mainstream Muslims?" and answers the question in favor of the Sunni 'mainstream' version. The comments to the article are worth reading and provide insight into the complex world of Muslim opinion.
The Washington Post ran a recent article written by the Iranian-born daughter of a 9/11 victim who was on one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center that day. Her opposition to the mosque, as well as to any other religious or nationalistic structure at that site is poignant.
It's interesting to note that Muslim opinions often seem to differ on grounds of scriptural interpretation even as American political opinions differ on mainly economic and political philosophy bases. The mistrust existing between Americans and Islam appears to be rooted in this difference. Where Muslims see the Koran and its various interpretations as the only arbiter and are often quite emotional about the matter, Americans have a fundamental distrust of theocratically-based opinions as the only basis for argument. In their own way, both are polarizers, allowing no middle ground unless the arguers agree to discuss their differences and come to a compromise or an understanding to disagree.
I would again encourage comments on this topic.