Mosque debate should be a non-issue

After reading the two letters to the editor from Aug. 31 about the “ground zero” Islamic community center, I had to offer a letter in favor of the center.

The only arguments I’ve heard offered by opponents of the center are based on emotions and fear. “This is a ‘victory mosque'” or “This is disrespectful and offensive to victims of 9/11.”

I’m sorry but freedom of speech and religion come with the certainty of being offended. If we blocked everything that offended us, we’d end up like Saudi Arabia.

The people who bombed the WTC are not the same people who want to build this community center. My Christian friends are not the same people who bomb abortion clinics. If we attack every group of people on the basis of something a few individuals do who claim to represent that group, we’d have a revisiting of the Japanese-American internment camps during WWII.

I find it very sad that the same individuals who attack this Imam and paint him as a terrorist would just as soon be crying persecution if this was a Church.

The opponents of this center are nothing but fear-mongering, hypocritical, prejudice bigots who fail to understand that there are other citizens in this country besides just them and other people who died on 9/11 than just White Christian Americans. Muslim Americans also died as well both in the initial bombings and in the rescue missions.

This issue is a non-issue. No group of people should have their rights cut out because some of us don’t like what they do or say.

To those who are offended by this center, I have only one thing to say. I’m offended by the way you treat fellow citizens.

As an atheist, I support this Imam and all moderate Muslims just as I support all moderate religious individuals. I hope the building of this center goes forward and is a symbol of the tolerance of America.