I haven’t weighed in at length on the “Ground Zero Mosque” debate yet. You’ve heard other people sum it up well already, but N.K. Jemisin is who I’m going to quote, in part, from John Scalzi’s blog:
And so much of the rhetoric on this issue ignores the basic facts: that the building’s nowhere near Ground Zero (it’s 2 blocks away; in Manhattan, that’s miles, figuratively speaking); that many Muslim Americans died on September 11th, so this “disrespects the victims’ families” crap is just that, crap; that the site is by no means sacred; that there are already two mosques in the area and they’ve been there for years; and that this is mostly furthering the political ambitions of people who don’t even live here. Per that link, the people who do live in Manhattan are in favor of Park 51… yet for some insane reason the media seems most concerned about what people in Florida think. Florida.
Someone on Twitter was recently wondering whether whoever came up with the phrase “Ground Zero mosque” was also responsible for Obama’s “death panels”. It’s nearly as provocatively misleading, conjuring up sinister images of minarets towering triumphantly over the exact spot of the disaster. It’s an entirely dishonest way of trying to make people scared of a community centre half a mile away [Edit: Maybe rather closer, “two blocks” is what people are saying, but it makes no real difference], and it’s clear that the people using it don’t actually have anything substantive to argue with.