Profile in Courage

Friday, August 13, 2010

Yesterday, the New York Times had a profile of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s support of the construction of a Muslim community center a few blocks away from ground zero in Manhattan.

Bloomberg Official Photo

The article details his position as one in opposition of religious discrimination, something his parent’s faced as Jews trying to buy a home in Massachusetts.

Yet his quote really simplifies the argument:

“If somebody wants to build a mosque in a place where it’s zoned for it and they can raise the money, then they can do that,” he said. “And it’s not the government’s business.”
No matter what someone’s emotional reaction is to the building of this center, there is no way to stop it. Any efforts will be a violation of one group’s religious constitutional rights, which would be settled by the courts, likely in favor of the Muslim people developing the center.

I think it is important to note that this center will welcome people of different faiths as a way to bring the community together. Isn’t this kind of what we all dreamed and cried for following September 11, 2001?

Bloomberg could have dodged the whole argument and left it to the courts and various development boards to settle. Instead, he has weighed in on it in support of religious tolerance, despite public oppostion.  One person said it is the mayor's finest hour.  It may very well be.


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