The Muslim community has the absolute Constitutional Right to build a mosque near Ground Zero. Moreover, by case law it is fairly clear that the “free exercise of religion” clause extends down from Congress to local governments. So, there is nothing legal that can or should restrict the building of a mosque. However, just as the mosque is legally indisputable, it is also an indisputable fact that 19 Muslims, in the name of fanatical Islam, murdered nearly 3000 American citizens at Ground Zero.
Sometimes, you have the Right to do something but it is just not right to do. A reading of the entire First Amendment might be helpful:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
We can all think of plenty of examples when we had the Right to free speech but it’s just was not civil, polite, correct, considerate or perhaps even expeditions to exercise that Right. We can say what we want but there are consequences – I know this personally. I can also think of many examples wherein the Press has restrained itself. Indeed, wasn’t an episode of South Park modified out of respect for Islam? Haven’t Muslims demanded the Press and media restrain itself out of respect for their religion? Surely, the Muslim community understands that sometimes something is legally permissible yet not socially acceptable.
Perhaps one more clause in the First Amendment may help us understand the disconnect in the Muslim community between what is Right and what is right. The Muslim community also enjoys the Right to peaceably assemble. However, from 911 to Major Hasan, all I recall were repeated calls for non-Muslim Americans not to overreact. I don’t recall people rushing from Mosques to the streets and protesting the hijacking of their religion. I don’t remember throngs of Muslims with signs and flags protesting these murderous acts.
Okay, build your mosque, it’s your Right. But that don’t make it right. And, more and more non-Muslim Americans are shaking their heads and wondering what you really believe.