I'm willing to call it what it is. The opposition to building a mosque near Ground Zero in NYC is rooted and grounded in a Judeo-Christian chauvinism. It's true and it's OK. Let's get comfortable with this.
Like many nativists I share this instinctive bias against the spread and intrusion of "foreign" religions. Especially against their representation on hallowed ground. The Romans were biased in favor of Rome, the Athenians were chauvinists for Athens, the French for La France. Likewise, given a choice, it's Pax Americana for me. So it's like this: the fall of the World Trade Towers on 9/11 bonded this country, if only for a little while, in suffering and sorrow and left deep, deep scars. The memory of that day should never be forgotten as long as any American who witnessed it lives. Those who died that day cannot be forgotten if you love America. That is why the ground must be memorialized somehow. The question is, who gets to memorialize it?
Now, whatever else may be said about the 9/11 attackers on that day, they went to their deaths in the name of ALLAH clutching their Qu'rans. They muttered his name and committed themselves to a matrydom that was consistent with the teachings of the Qu'ran. Their struggle was, according to several passages in the Qu'ran and the Sunna, a "just struggle". This is why the voice of "moderation" in Islam doesn't really exist. It's there on the page, as they say. If the so-called extremists can point to the writings on the page - what can the moderates say? As far as I can tell, they have been incredibly unpersuasive on their own soil. Where is the freedom to build a church or synagogue in the heart of Islam - Saudi Arabia - for example? The beatings and jailings over Western dress is not the voice of moderation in action, it is the voice of moderation in defeat. Islam is functionally and fundamentally intolerant because it has to be. Dissent is disallowed in Islam. It is not a religion that is consistent with enlightened thinkers and ideals. Read up on some of the Ayatollah Khomeini's writings while he was in exile in Paris, or from Sayyid Qutb's memoirs from America in the Fifties and you'll get my drift.
So the building of a mosque on this hallowed ground by "moderates" in order to "build understanding" is not only incredibly insensitive to the memory of those who died at the hands of Islam, it is shallow in its reasoning. Americans have not - to my knowledge - undertaken a public campaign against Islam and against mosque-building in this country, so who is it exactly that needs this "voice of moderation"? Americans? Hey, we're the tolerant ones. Muslims? Physician heal thyself!
The so-called moderate Muslims have not put forth an argument worthy of the ground on which they intend to build.
Now, nobody questions the legality of the mosque building. By virtue of the laws of this Judeo-Christian country, the mosque builders have the right to build. Now into the fray comes comments from our madrassa-educated, non-churchgoing, Kenyan-Leftist, and dictator appeaser president, Barak Obama. And what our Islamic president doesn't get and what most people on the left and among the intellectual and ruling classes don't get, is that the American people, despite the 1st amendment of freedom of religion, are stubbornly root-and-branch committed to Judeo-Christian values, especially when it comes to freedom of worship.
I'm just telling it like it is. For everyday Americans Islam is still a gross unknown. It is FOREIGN. It is OTHER. It's not "us" and never will be "us". It is not a religion that the Founders of this country and the Framers of the Constitution would have conceived as a legitimate expression of Providence, of enlightenment, or of blessing and commonweal. The Judeo-Christian faith has served us well in so many areas where Islam has utterly failed. So quite frankly, Islam is a poor choice over against the religion handed down to us by our forefathers. In fact most Americans, if polled, would probably agree that Islam and Islamism are antithetical to Judeo-Christian values and civilization. And they would be intuitively correct in my view. (How many of my own African-American brothers and sisters realize that Islam would NEVER have freed the slaves? or given women the right to vote? Indeed, Islam has yet to emancipate women from burqa's and hijabs. "Moderate" Islam at work.)
So, yeah, I'm against a mosque being built at Ground Zero too, for different and similar reasons as most of the opposers. Moderate Islam must convince its own house of its justness and worth. And there is no principled reason to build on the ground of 9/11 aside from Muslim triumphalism.
That said, I would not be against, as I suspect most Americans would not be against, the building of a church or a synagogue there. So there. Your "freedom of religion" argument altered. YES to a church. YES to a synagogue. Absolutely NOT to a mosque.