Written by Roger Ebert:
1. America missed a golden opportunity to showcase its Constitutional freedoms. The instinctive response of Americans should have been the same as President Obama's: Muslims have every right to build there. Where one religion can build a church, so can all religions.
2. The First Amendment comes down to this: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." It does not come down to: "The First Amendment gives me the right to repeat the N-word 11 times on the radio to an
inoffensive black woman, and when you attack me for saying it, you are in violation of my First Amendment rights."
3. The choice of location shows flawed judgment on the part of its imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf. He undoubtedly knows that now, and I expect his project to be relocated. The imam would be prudent to chose another location, because the far right wing has seized on the issue as an occasion for fanning hatred against Muslims. It has also narrowly reframed the project as a mosque, rather than a community center with a prayer room, which is what it would be. To oppose it on the grounds that it is Muslim is religious prejudice and nothing else. The Muslims who attacked the World Trade Center are not the Muslims who are building the center.
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