Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NEW YORK MOSQUE; Take a Deep Breath

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NEW YORK MOSQUE; Take a Deep Breath

Article excerpt

When an emotional subject surges across the exposed nerve endings that pass for the news media these days, it's wise to take a deep breath - and wait.

Wait for a few facts to emerge from the passion and the knee jerk presumptions from all sides.

The Obama administration learned that lesson in spades when Shirley Sherrod was quickly fired from her job for making racially insensitive remarks, only to learn that she was the personification of racial healing.

Such is also the case with the terribly misnamed Ground Zero mosque.

Hallowed ground: The building is a former Burlington Coat Factory store, two blocks from Ground Zero. Amid those skyscrapers, it's not within sight of the hallowed ground.

Like a Y: It's a community center designed like a YMCA. Among its many elements, reports The New Yorker: classrooms, an auditorium, galleries, a restaurant, a swimming pool and a gym. And also a prayer room - the mosque.

No insult: It was placed near Ground Zero but not as an insult to American civilization. One of the rooms will be a memorial to the victims of Sept. 11, 2001, which include Muslims, by the way.

A government traveler: The prime mover of the mosque is not a radical. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has been sent on diplomatic missions to the Middle East by the George W. Bush administration. The FBI tapped him to conduct sensitivity training for its agents, The New Yorker reported. He has been a leader in the interfaith movement in New York City.

As The New York Times reported Sunday, he has been accused by people in Egypt of being an agent of the United States. …

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