Some people in New York are offended by the building of a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center bombings. Clearly these objections to the mosque are rooted in bigotry rather than common sense. Obviously, the people who committed those acts of terrorism do not speak for Islam any more than the man who gunned down abortion doctor George Tiller speaks for Christianity, but you wouldn't hear people suggesting that it would be insensitive to have Christian church services located near the site of George Tiller's killing.
Columnist Andrea Peyser of the New York Post betrays her own prejudice in a column about this issue in which she characterizes a group with an explicit agenda of hostility towards Islam as a "human rights group". The name of the group? "Stop Islamicization of America" 'Nuff said.
It is clear that we have a long way to go towards interfaith dialogue. Fortunately, the press report that I cited above does indicate that not everyone looks at it in the same way:
Marvin Bethea, a paramedic who survived the toxic collapse of the twin towers and suffers from a range of afflictions, including post-traumatic stress disorder and asthma, said he supports the mosque.
"Not all Muslims are terrorists," Bethea said. "Muslims died on 9/11, as well. This is a tremendous gesture to show that we're not all full of hatred and bigotry."