Should there be a mosque near the World Trade Center?

DKS Editors

Muslim groups in New York recently spoke out on the issue of an Islamic center and mosque near ground zero, saying the issue is about more than a piece of real estate.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who has been the driving force behind the project, didn’t say whether he would consider moving the project but said the United States should work to embrace religious and political freedoms, the Associated Press reported.

Controversy surrounding the construction has made it a symbol of religious freedom, with people split about whether the site should be built.

President Barack Obama has wisely refrained from endorsing or condemning the mosque. After stating that Muslims have the right to practice their religion like any other U.S. citizen, he made a clarification for those who interpreted it as support.

“I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there (near Ground Zero),” Obama said. “I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding.”

An endorsement would offend the friends and families of those lost during the attack, but condemnation would violate the very rights this country was founded on.

Considering a Newsweek poll conducted at the end of August showed about 24 percent of the country believes Obama is Muslim despite previous statements of Christianity, his neutrality is probably a good idea.

After all, the right of Rauf to build the mosque is undisputable. The First Amendment prohibits any laws restricting the free practice of religion. Whether the decision is tasteful is another matter.

But if our government decided to restrict rights provided by the First Amendment, the U.S. would be no better than the fear-mongering terrorist groups.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.