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Wednesday letters: Muslims should remember that sensitivity and tolerance work both ways

An inconvenient right | Aug. 17, Daniel Ruth column

Sensitivity can work both ways

Rational people do not dispute that the New York City Muslim community has a legal right to build a mosque two blocks from ground zero, that being plainly stated in the Bill of Rights.

However, if the Muslim community, with their hair-trigger sensitivity to any perceived slur upon their faith, can declare a fatwa upon Salman Rushdie because of what he wrote, or against the Danish newspaper that dared to publish cartoons that were perceived as mocking Islam, then why are some Americans immediately branded as bigots when their sensibilities are trammeled?

People who test rights to the extreme make me very weary, such as the Nazis marching in Skokie, Ill., or the Andres Serrano photo mocking Christianity in 1987. Still, I wearily continue to defend their right to do so; just don't suggest that I am a bigot because I'm not especially happy about it.

Daniel Ruth's clever substitution of Methodists for Muslims does not quite hold as an analogy. If Methodists danced with joy in the streets when the World Trade Center fell, if they were in a state of ecstatic delirium to see the American flag burned, if they had repeatedly bombed embassies, bars, dance clubs, etc., wherever Americans gathered, or sunk our naval vessels, then, yes — Americans would be justifiably furious with Methodists. We deal effectively with our home-grown radicals (Timothy McVeigh, et al.), but the Muslim world doesn't seem so inclined.

It should go without saying that, of course, most Muslims are not radicalized. But there is a sufficient number of them throughout the world that are, and if the moderates only could be as sensitive to the average American's feelings as they are to their own, I would be the first to send a small donation to the mosque in New York City, provided that they build it somewhere other than near ground zero.

It's not about rights. It's about common sense and not poking your thumb in your neighbor's eye.

Paul Dixon, St. Petersburg

Fla. candidates blast Obama over mosque Aug. 15, story

Obama shows courage by taking an unpopular stand

Rick Scott is quoted calling President Barack Obama "a cowardly politician" and that Obama's comments on the New York mosque issue are "not that of the leader of the United States of America."

Taking an unpopular stance to make sure the Constitution of the United States is upheld is not what a "cowardly politician" would do. To me, President Obama showed true leadership in making sure all people have religious freedom. It is very easy to support what is popular, but it takes courage to stand up for what is right, even if it is very unpopular.

We don't have to like where this mosque is being built, but we have to acknowledge the constitutional right to build it wherever it is legal to do so.

Susan Rand, Tarpon Springs

Fla. candidates blast Obama over mosque Aug. 15, story

Defending the Constitution

I was shocked to see how some of our candidates are so bigoted against Muslims. Somehow because the 9/11 terrorists were Muslim therefore all Muslims must be guilty. All these candidates are running for public office and they criticize our president for standing by our Constitution. It is hard to believe.

They say that building a mosque two blocks from ground zero is insensitive to the 9/11 victims. Some of those victims were Muslim. And it is insensitive that we are even questioning the right to build a mosque wherever they want to. All these candidates should be ashamed. This is America and we have a Constitution and separation of church and state. The president took an oath to uphold the Constitution and he did it. I have yet to see any religion that doesn't have dark side. That doesn't mean we condemn the whole religion.

Charlie Crist was the only one who stood up for what's right and he has my vote. In the governor's race we don't have much of a choice in either party.

M. Leslie Nichols, Safety Harbor

Obama supports plan for mosque near ground zero | Aug. 14, story

Just build it elsewhere

This article from the Washington Post really got my blood boiling. In a way, I'm not surprised that the Post would write "blocking the mosque, as some leading Republicans have angrily demanded …"

What? Am I to understand that no Democrats are opposed to the building of the mosque near ground zero? Oh, I wish that once again the news could be honest and not politically driven.

The imam who wants this built promotes it as "a place to foster religious tolerance." Is the religion of Islam tolerant? I am not opposed to the building of the mosque. I believe that out of respect, they should understand the feelings of those who are angry. They should choose not to build out of respect and tolerance.

Ronald Melone, Clearwater

Obama supports plan for mosque near ground zero | Aug. 14, story

A slap in the face

I am completely dumbfounded and appalled that our president would back a project such as the mosque near ground zero. This is a direct slap in the face to all the victims of Sept. 11 and their surviving family members.

It's not about "the right to build a place of worship … in accordance with local laws." It's about Barack Obama's open support for a religion that was indirectly responsible for the worst terrorist attack on American soil.

Just because it's legal to build a mosque in Manhattan doesn't mean it's right. Obama waited months to make a comment on this issue and his silence speaks volumes with me. I fully support religious freedom in our country, but just not at the expense of those who perished on that terrible day.

Michael Fernandez, Seminole

Obama supports plan for mosque near ground zero | Aug. 14, story

Do as they do

President Barack Obama stated at a White House dinner that his support for Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's plan to build a mosque two blocks from ground zero was based on our commitment to religious freedom, and went on to cite the Bible's precept of doing unto others what you wish they'd do unto you.

As a logical extension of this idea, I think the president should have Imam Rauf, whom the State Department is sending to the Middle East to promote peace with Islamic leaders on our behalf, sound out those leaders on allowing our National Council of Churches to build a Christian worship and conference center near the heart of Mecca.

The decision on where to locate the imam's Cordoba House might then be made based on the response to this request.

Jeff Corydon, Tampa

Wednesday letters: Muslims should remember that sensitivity and tolerance work both ways

08/17/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 6:37pm]
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