When I opened up The Miami Hurricane on Monday, I was very excited to read Andrew Hamner’s opinion piece on the “Ground Zero Mosque,” as I personally feel very many people are uninformed on the issue. Unfortunately, by the end of the column I instead found myself completely enraged, as the article only perpetuated the many lies and half-truths that have been spread by its opponents.
First and foremost, despite the fact that Mr. Hamner used the word approximately 12 times throughout his article: IT IS NOT A MOSQUE. It is an Islamic Community Center, which, yes, has space for prayer, but to conflate any Muslim area with a mosque (which are not bad places to begin with), is so incredibly ignorant.
Furthermore, the community center is NOT located on Ground Zero (in reality, it is more than two blocks away and won’ t even be visible from the site once completed), so to refer to it and imply that it is directly located on the World Trade Center site is misleading and helps to fuel the anger directed towards ALL Muslims, as it portrays them as disrespectful towards the memory of 9/11.
To prevent the center from being built basically sends the message not only that anyone who makes the majority uncomfortable should change who they are, it also perpetuates the close-minded American view that all Muslims are evil and must be stopped.
The truth is, the builders of Park51 have every right to build wherever they want, even if it was right across the street. It is never right to suggest that we withhold certain groups’ constitutional rights, or, even worse, that they willingly give them up because it would be “better” for society. Who do we decide is evil next? How would you feel if you were the minority?
What is really needed is a way to educate the people of our country on the positive aspects of the Muslim religion, so they can see it as another way that peaceful people worship God, not as a terrorist breeding ground, as so many people hurtfully believe.
Emily Louwsma is a senior majoring in elementary educagtion major.