Originally Published: September 4, 2010 9:59 p.m.
I am a naturalized Moslem American, born in Istanbul, Turkey. Nobody can deny Imam Rauf's and his followers' legal right to build a mosque very close to ground zero. The issue is not if the project is legal or not, but if the location is right or wrong - particularly in light of the fact that a mosque already exist in the close vicinity. It is obvious to me that building the mosque so near ground zero is very improper. One of the pro arguments concerns Moslem sensitivities. What about the American sensitivities?
Imam Rauf wants the complex to be a bridge between Islam and the West. With the controversy he has created, he will never accomplish his so-called goal. I believe many of his actions and words do not back what he is advocating.
We, the Americans, are between a rock and a hard place on this issue. Regardless of the outcome, we cannot win. A good number of Moslems, mostly living outside the U.S., will believe they have won in either case. If the mosque is built at its proposed site, they will have accomplished their goal. If it is not built there, they will declare that Moslems are not being allowed to practice their religion freely. This adds ammunition to their claim that America and the West are trying to destroy Islam.
Y. "Turk" Kangal