It (ground zero) housed a number of key financial futures markets and a number of high-powered business offices, but it wasn’t a holy site to say the least. Unless money and international finance is your god.
It has become a memorial for the people who died there, but it is sacred only to the American civil religion that blends generic Ten Commandments-style theism with patriotism. A bit of free-market economics gets folded into that faith as well, so that the Word Trade Center’s demolition-by-plane was seen as a jab at American neoliberal economics.
Jesus ran the money-changers out of the Temple. Modern patriots are trying to make the modern money-changers HQ into a new temple and want no ideological competition in the neighborhood, especially from seeming fellow-travelers of the folks who trashed the Twin Towers.
It’s an important place of remembrance, yes. But it isn’t worth trashing the Constitution to keep competing visions from that part of Manhattan.
But it seems to me that this is not a difficult matter to understand or decide. In fact, it comes down to an utterly simple question. Either we think all Muslims are somehow implicated in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, or we don’t.
If all Muslims are thus implicated, then of course they shouldn’t be allowed to build near Ground Zero. Nor should they be allowed to build near anything else that matters to the rest of us. In fact, they should all be rounded up and exiled as the clear and present dangers that they are.
If we don’t think all Muslims are implicated in the attack, then of course they should be allowed to build a mosque or community centre or whatever the heck they want to build wherever the zoning and funding will allow—just like any other citizens.
(Thanks to Bene Diction for the Stackhouse link)