It’s a (relatively) Free Country

Though a lot of people seem to think otherwise.
I’m referring, specifically, to the controversy over the construction of an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan, about three blocks from where the World Trade Centers once stood.
To be precise, I’m not really sure why it’s a controversy at all: the people involved bought the property (an abandoned Burlington Coat Factory store) and wish to construct a religious community center on the property. So long as they’re in compliance with zoning and whatnot, they should be able to construct whatever they please there. The fact that it’s to be used for religious purposes should have no bearing whatsoever on its construction — people have a First Amendment right to believe (or not) as they choose (( Personally, I’m not religious in the slightest, and think that religion in general is somewhat silly. Even so, I respect people’s right to hold whatever beliefs they want, regardless of what I think of them.)). What’s the big deal?
All the arguments I’ve heard against the Islamic community center would make perfect sense…if “Muslim” was synonymous with “terrorist”. Of course, this isn’t the case: there’s over a billion Muslims worldwide and the vast majority are ordinary, decent people. Those within the US (and, indeed, anywhere else in the world) should not have their religious freedoms trampled on because of baseless opposition. Yes, some Islamic extremists have done terrible things to the US, but that should have no bearing whatsoever on Muslims as a group, the particular individuals wishing to build this center, nor on the construction of religious buildings.
Do I think it’s unwise or ill-advised for the owners to want to construct their facility so near the former World Trade Center? Not at all; it’s a free country, it’s their property, they can build whatever they want there.
Don’t like it? Don’t go there. Problem solved.

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