08 September 2010

Mosques and Burning Quarans: Legality v. Respect

After sympathizing with both views on the proposed mosque two blocks from ground zero, Thomas Sowell has proposed a perspective which I can fully support. It should not be illegal to create an Islamic center near ground zero, but it is profoundly insensitive of the Muslim community to even consider it.

Ironically, there are vehement calls for the Floridian pastor to show respect for Islam by not burning Quarans on September 11th. Unless those demanding that he not follow through with his plans are also pleading that the Muslim community similarly show respect by not building the proposed community center in New York, they are hypocrits. Some have even gone so far as to say that there may be vengeful killings of Americans in the middle east in reprisal for the Quaran burning in Florida. If this happens, it is merely a confirmation that there is a lack of tolerance among muslims and a dual standard.

Bibles have been burned by Muslims, and Christians have not reacted by killing Muslims. Nor have the people currently decrying the burning of the Quaran spoken out against the bible burnings by Muslims. If there are truly two separate Muslim communities, radically violent extremists and peace-loving, then it would be helpful to hear the peace-loving side publicly decrying the violent side.

In matters of principle, we should be consistent. Respect for others often extends beyond the letter of the law. The Muslim community should refrain from building their community center near Ground Zero for the same reason that they feel the Quarans should not be burned by the pastor in Florida. Each side stands to gain respect only if they demonstrate it themselves. Above all, the United States government should, if anything, entreat both sides to be respectful, and fund neither. By funding the mid-east trip of the 'Ground Zero' Imam, and openly supporting the Islamic Center while criticizing the Quaran-burning, our government is fueling the flames of intolerance by applying a flagrantly biased dual standard.

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