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Aug-17-2010 20:08printcomments

Should We Toss our Freedoms Away in Support of Common Decency?

The Mosque debate is about two issues: Freedom of Religion and Common Decency.

Ground zero mosque redneck

(HARRISVILLE, N.H.) - Freedom of Religion is a right guaranteed by our constitution. Anyone who has read my articles in the past knows that I believe the rights granted by our constitution are sacred. This right is no exception!

Should those U.S. citizens who practice the religion of Islam have the right to build a mosque where they want? In my opinion, yes! I make no exceptions or qualifications to that answer. We cannot and should not make exceptions to when the rights granted by our constitution are honored or for which U.S. citizens we support these rights. Constitutional rights are to be honored this time and every time for any and all U.S. citizens regardless of race, creed, sex, or country of national origin. NO EXCEPTIONS!

The Constitution was created to identify, itemize, and protect the rights of ALL United States citizens. There is no statement in the constitution that says “for Christians only” or “Except for Muslims”. If we start making this type of distinction or exception, we might as well burn the Constitution because the freedoms granted by it will soon be only a memory. Once an individual is granted U.S. citizenship, their rights should be inviolate.

Now to the second issue . . . Common Decency. Those of us who are sensitive to the feelings and injuries of others, understand why so many people, especially in the Manhattan area, are so firmly against the construction of a Mosque so close to what has become known as “Ground Zero”. Friends, relatives, co-workers, and fellow citizens were killed by people who have been identified as members of radical Islam. It must be difficult for those still hurting from their losses to focus on the word radical and separate it from the word Islam. In the minds of those children whose father or mother will never return home because of what took place on that day, building a Mosque that close to the site where their parent was murdered would be akin to building a Ku Klux Klan enrollment center at the site where Martin Luther King was killed. It is a common decency issue. In my opinion, consideration should be given to the feelings of those who lost so much on that day, by those funding and/or supporting the construction of the Mosque.

Should those U.S. citizens wanting to build the Mosque be denied the right to do so? Once again, I must say NO . . . they should not be denied that right! Should those same U.S. citizens who want to build the Mosque consider another, further distant site in deference to the losses suffered at ground zero on 9-11 . . . In my opinion, YES . . . they certainly should! Building a Mosque that close to ground zero is in absolutely poor taste and is horribly inconsiderate of the losses suffered there on 9-11.

Bottom line, however, the rights of U.S. citizens are clear and propriety does not enter into the picture. In my opinion, it would be a horrible injustice to deny any U.S. citizen their rights under the law or to make any law abridging the rights of a U.S. citizen for any exception regardless of anyone’s personal opinion no matter how understandable that opinion may be. As citizens who value the principles our country should stand for, we should not be selective in which of those principles we support or when we support it, and we should certainly not pick and choose which U.S. citizens should have the rights based upon those principles . . . not if you want being a U.S. citizen to have any meaning or value . . . but, that is just my opinion!

Writer Robert Collingsworth is an American who isn't hesitant to talk about the good side of his country, and that is a welcome thing in this day and age. admittedly, is very critical of both American politics, as well as those of other nations that we perceive is being wrong in their motives and actions. At the same time, within these structures we criticize, are many outstanding people who make each day a better place for all those around them. They embody and personify the American spirit that is sometimes fleeting, but always present. These are some of the things Robert takes into account when writing commentary that is designed reach people, to "get them thinking" in his words, and indeed it does.'s goal is for all people to be on the same page, we appreciate Bob's more conservative approach toward that same goal."

You can write to Bob Collingsworth at this email address:

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Vic August 21, 2010 8:57 pm (Pacific time)

KevIn...look at a map...The so called "Ground Zero Mosque" is five blocks away from "Ground Zero"..Isnt that far enought away for you haters? Timothy McVeigh was a radical Christian...should we ban all Christian churches from Oklahoma City??? You fool no one...your agenda is clear.

Kevin August 21, 2010 9:05 am (Pacific time)

Radical Islam is not, by any means, a majority of Islam. But with its financiers, clerics, propagandists, trainers, leaders, operatives and sympathizers -- -- according to a conservative estimate, it commands the allegiance of 7 percent of Muslims, i.e., over 80 million souls -- it is a very powerful strain within Islam. It has changed the course of nations and affected the lives of millions. It is the reason every airport in the West is an armed camp and every land is on constant alert. Ground Zero is the site of the most lethal attack of that worldwide movement, which consists entirely of Muslims, acts in the name of Islam and is deeply embedded within the Islamic world. These are regrettable facts, but facts they are. And that is why putting up a monument to Islam in this place is not just insensitive but provocative. Just as the people of Japan today would not think of planting their flag at Pearl Harbor, despite the fact that no Japanese under the age of 85 has any possible responsibility for that infamy, representatives of contemporary Islam -- the overwhelming majority of whose adherents are equally innocent of the infamy committed on 9/11 in their name -- should exercise comparable respect for what even Obama calls hallowed ground.

Vic August 19, 2010 7:31 am (Pacific time)

Whatever the outcome of this is, the fact that America made it an issue reveals our glaring hypocrisy, blatant racism and double-standards. The damage has been done.

Anonymous August 18, 2010 6:59 pm (Pacific time)

How about those who always demand seperation of church and state. You know for example those who want to take all xmas displays out of public view, so where are they on the below AP article? Can someone explain how in the sam hill this imam is getting standard federal reimbursement for his travel expenses? Is he a government employee? A government contractor of some kind? Why is he getting taxpayer money to go on a fundraising mission? Is this legal? Who authorized it? This doesn’t pass the “smell” test. "US spending $16,000 for imam's Mideast tour [ As Nancy calls for Investigation of Mosque Critics] AP ^ | Aug 18 2010 | AP WASHINGTON (AP) - American taxpayers will pay the imam behind plans for a mosque near the Manhattan site of the Sept. 11 attacks $3,000 in fees for a three-nation outreach trip to the Middle East that will cost roughly $16,000, the State Department said Wednesday. The department said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf will get a daily $200 honorarium for the 15-day tour to Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which is intended to promote religious tolerance. Airfare is included, as well as the standard federal government per diem for expenses and lodging in each of the cities he will visit, spokesman P.J. Crowley said. Those per diem rates range from nearly $400 to nearly $500, according to official documents. "

Peace August 18, 2010 6:40 pm (Pacific time)

M. Dennis Paul there are over 100 mosques on Manhatten. As you wrote "...Mosque/Cultural Ctr. affords resident an opportunity to actually meet and find common ground with the Muslim community..." If common ground has not been reached by 100 mosques nearby, will one more matter? Many of you may recall when we had political cartoonists making caricutures of Mohammed, the muslims were asking for respect and sensitivity and to cease doing that. Essentially it did stop. Now we have the majority of Americans across the country asking for respect and sensitivity in this matter. Maybe not building this mosque would be a good first step in finding some common ground based on mutual respect of differing feelings. This is not just a New York situation, but a national one.

Anonymous August 18, 2010 3:19 pm (Pacific time)

911 was an inside job, the evidence is overwhelming. the main reason people do not want to research is because they cant handle knowing their government would do something so atrocious. sorry, they lied to invade Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent families just like you and I. Proven fact. and they did it for oil. Anyway, back on track here that is more reasonable. I DONT CARE ABOUT THE MOSQUE, I care about the bankers robbing us blind, setting up a police state, the patriot act, laws being passed in DC that nobody gets to read until they are passed etc. Muslims have not hurt ME one bit, but the GMO, flouride poison in the water that every other country except the U.S. has banned, banks that cause havoc and then want us to pay for it, the illegal useless was etc. The main terrorists in this country, are goldman sachs/federal reserve bank. They are economic terrorists that control this country, and have controlled this country since 1913. This is nothing but a distraction from the failed wars and failed economy, expanded police state, and the end ofour civil liberties. I can fight the islam extremists, and probably win, but I cant fight the bankers, they own everything.

Douglas Benson August 18, 2010 7:22 am (Pacific time)

The terrorists have won! We have let emotion trump reason .Instead of standing strong and showing they cant shake us ,we have willingly sacrificed our freedom .Will we continue to show we are cowards or will we put our money where our mouths are and let freedom reign? This one small step of building a community center should be celebrated as a return to the core values of our country. FREEDOM. Peace

Vic August 18, 2010 7:10 am (Pacific time)

Great article and great comment by M. Paul. Timothy McVeigh was a "radical" Christian..would there be an outcry if a church was being built next to the Edward Murrow bldg.? I do not believe the true 9-11 perps were either Muslim or Arab, so for me it is a moot issue and possibly a smokescreen to keep "good Americans" (bigotted,willfully ignorant racists) angry enough to keep the wars for profit going.

M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. August 17, 2010 9:13 pm (Pacific time)

Bob.. I usually agree with you. We depart on this one, however. Asking that the Muslim community consider moving their location simply feeds into the absurdity being promoted by politically motivated miscreants. A far better notion would be to ask the residents of Manhattan to consider that among those who died in the 2 towers attack (if it was, in fact, an attack)were Muslims; that (if, in fact, it was an attack)the perpetrators were criminals and not representatives of the Muslim faith or community; that the Mosque/Cultural Ctr. is NOT at "Ground Zero" (in fact, a reasonable distance away; that the Mosque/Cultural Ctr. affords resident an opportunity to actually meet and find common ground with the Muslim community; that the Mosque/Cultural Ctr. affords the Muslim community a place for worship no different than, say, a Catholic church (which, I might add, could also be viewed as an affront seeing as how many young Manhattaners have been victims of sexual abuse over decades by Catholic priests)or a synagogue (and I remind that a group of Jewish men were seen dancing over the 2 towers demise); that the Mosque/Cultural Ctr. contributes improvement to a rapidly decaying section of Manhattan; and that by not feeding into the misplaced prejudice, anger and hatred that the political miscreants are rabidly promoting, Manhattaners could show the world that they are healers instead of neo-con puppets who can't get enough of war and seek to cause ever more hatred and attacks (if, in fact, this was an attack)on America in order to falsely justify the next big war. We have enough falsely justified wars now. It is time to raise consciousness above the warmongering, stop the aggressions we have already heaped upon the world, and start the healing. I love you, Bob.

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