Leaving the political controversy aside, the proposed Islamic community center would fit very well into – and improve – the urban landscape around ground zero. The same can’t be said for the sleazy shops nearby.
President Obama and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg have defended the building of the community center by invoking the First Amendment. “The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are,” the president declared.
Republican conservatives, like former House speaker Newt Gingrich and current House minority leader John A. Boehner, have based their opposition to the center on their concern for the feelings of those who lost loved ones on 9/11. “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in New York,” Gingrich said by way of analogy.