"Putting a mosque at Ground Zero is like building a Benihana at Pearl Harbor."
-- Comedian Jim Norton, on a New York City community board's near unanimous decision to allow for the construction of a mosque within spitting distance (in more ways than one) of the former site of the World Trade Center
The New York Times: Near Ground Zero, the Sacred and the Profane/5.27.10
For the record, I see both sides of this issue and -- as much of a cop-out as this may seem -- I'm very much on the fence about it. Having been in New York City, at the World Trade Center site and with the families of the missing and dead, right after 9/11, I completely understand the outrage of many of them -- and think that it's more than justified. Putting a mosque at the exact place where the towers once stood feels grotesquely insensitive, given the undeniable link between the warped ideology adhered to by the attackers and the supposed "religion of peace" that is Islam. That said, I also get that the creation of a shrine to the very belief system the attackers midguidedly saw themselves as the defenders of would be a fun little of "fuck you" to their memories -- and to the extremists who still consider America the Great Satan. The thing is, I don't think the gesture would matter one bit to those in the Muslim world who despise us.