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MIKE VINSON: Mosque at Ground Zero — The grassy knoll factor

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From the East Coast to the West Coast, and most places between, the hot news topic has been, and, quite likely, will continue to be, “Islam/Muslims/mosque.”

Granted, it is all-too-easy to run a subject “into the ground,” to coin an old phrase.

However, given the fragile nature of this subject – Islam vs. Christianity, sincere concerns vs. radical schisms – all peppered by a few agenda-propelled, double-talk politicians viewing current approval ratings with one eye and the upcoming election with the other, every responsible American should set aside enough time to seriously ponder this matter.


Because the future of America very well could be hanging in the balance – teeter-tottering back-and-forth.

On Aug. 14, at a White House ceremony to mark the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, President Obama stated: “As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”

Countered U.S. Rep. Peter King, (R, New York), whose district is on Long Island: “It’s insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of Ground Zero.”

A logical take is that President Obama and Rep. King, for the most part, speak for collective America regarding the pros and cons of this controversy.

Sure, if you want to put forth the necessary effort and really get into specifics, there are numerous case studies that support the theory that, in general, Muslims hate Americans; Muslims mistreat their women; Muslims are a legitimate threat to American security.

On the other hand, though, there are case studies that reinforce the theory that the aforementioned are applicable only to extremist Muslims, that there are law-bidding Muslims who choose to live in America, simply, to have better lives, and harbor no ill will against America.

But, again, Obama and King sum it up.

Still, some are in agreement that the proposed building of a mosque approximately “two blocks from Ground Zero,” site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, does add a new dimension of concern.

Many have asked the simple, yet oh-so-important, question: What is the real reason behind the Islamic community wanting to build a mosque so close to the spot where the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place, a God-awful moment in American history?

One side will argue that Islam is attempting to shove its practices and political prowess down America’s throat.

Another side will counter that Islam, merely, is exercising its right to Freedom of Religion.

Thus far, the wisest comment I’ve heard on this issue came via the highly popular, rock-radio show John Boy and Billy, which airs live out of Charlotte, N.C.

The guest, that particular morning, was a man who had served as mayor of Charlotte during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (I didn’t catch his actual name. He might still be the mayor there.)

While commenting that – in an attempt to maintain as much calm as possible – as mayor of Charlotte he visited churches, synagogues, and mosques in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. He also said, essentially: Yes, legally and Constitutionally, Muslims have the right to build a mosque near Ground Zero, but it’s not the right thing to do, and they shouldn’t do it.

It’s gonna do more harm than good.

He displayed Solomon-like wisdom when he further stated: It wouldn’t have been right if Lee Harvey Oswald’s family had expressed a desire to bury him near the Grassy Knoll, would it?

You can take it from there …

Mike Vinson can be contacted at mike_vinson56@yahoo.com.
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Members Opinions:
August 22, 2010 at 4:06pm
Best commentary on this I heard came from Phil Valentine:
August 22, 2010 at 4:10pm
Issues like this have been part of our American Heritage since colonial times. Time Magazine has a great photo essay on this subject ....

August 22, 2010 at 4:23pm
This issue reminds me of one of your previous articles on the Highlander Folk School, the leadership school where many black civil rights leaders were trained. 1957, the Georgia Commission on Education published a pamphlet entitled, "Highlander Folk School: Communist Training School in Monteagle, Tennessee". Finally, in 1961, the state of Tennessee revoked Highlander's charter and confiscated its land and property.

It also is reminiscent of the KKK marching in Murfreesboro against the building of ST. Rose Catholic Church.

As seen in the above TIME article, history repeats itself.
August 23, 2010 at 9:06am
In terms of moral balance, exceptional writing skills and, to borrow from the author, 'wisdom,' this one nailed it for me. What Mr. Vinson demonstrated in this column was a literary version of 'firm love'. He adeptly tackled a tough subject without going out of his way to cause needless hurt.
August 23, 2010 at 9:26am
Something else I would like to point out: Vinson quoted U.S. Rep. Peter King as saying it would be 'insensitive' for Muslims to build a mosque near Ground Zero. I agree with Rep. King. And Rep. King's statement ties in so nicely with the comparison Vinson used by quoting the gentleman on John Boy & Billy - if Lee Harvey Oswalds family expressed a desire to bury his remains near the grassy knoll, it wouldnt' be right. Correct. Instead it would be 'insensitive'. Good analogy.
August 23, 2010 at 1:10pm
Vinson makes a good point. While it may be someone's constitutional right to build a momument to Adloph Hitler across the street from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washtington, DC, it would surely be "insensitive."
August 24, 2010 at 9:36am
RON PAUL [R-TX] comments on the Mosque issue:

“In my opinion it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it.

They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill conceived preventative wars.

If Islam is further discredited by making the building of the mosque the issue, then the false justification for our wars in the Middle East will continue to be acceptable.

The justification to ban the mosque is no more rational than banning a soccer field in the same place because all the suicide bombers loved to play soccer.

Conservatives are once again, unfortunately, failing to defend private property rights, a policy we claim to cherish.

The outcry over the building of the mosque, near ground zero, implies that Islam alone was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. According to those who are condemning the building of the mosque, the nineteen suicide terrorists on 9/11 spoke for all Muslims. This is like blaming all Christians for the wars of aggression and occupation because some Christians supported the neo-conservative’s aggressive wars.

This is all about hate and Islamaphobia.

Political demagoguery rules when truth and liberty are ignored.”
August 26, 2010 at 10:21am
My man Vinson hit another home run with this one, carefully dissecting a difficult subject while putting it back together with expertise. Though she shows a tendancy to be pro Islam, I even detected a hint of approval
from ellie.
August 27, 2010 at 11:01am
I love Vinson! Keep it up!

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