Rudy Giuliani, the mayor of New York at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, isn't opposed to the building of an Islamic center in New York. He, like millions of others, just doesn't want it two blocks from the World Trade Center site.
The solution to this emotional issue that hits every American in some way is compromise. Without it, there would be no winners. Stand in the way of the imam who wants to build the community center and mosque and you're going against the Constitution and defying religious tolerance. Let him build it where shadows of the Twin Towers once reached and you're sending the wrong message to all of America. And it's a dangerous message - one that would spark fear, anger and, more than likely a protest every now and then. The promotion of peace would hit the wall.
Freedom to practice religion in this country is protected by the First Amendment, but there are other things that need protection, too, like the families of the victims of 9/11 still coming to grips with and trying to make sense of what happened almost nine years ago. This is a case where common sense and sensitivity supercede even the Constitution. Nothing supercedes the Constitution, you say? Try selling that to the sons and daughters who lost parents, or to the parents who lost sons and daughters on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
To many, to all of us, the Twin Towers site is both sacred ground and a battlefield all at the same time, much like Pearl Harbor. It shouldn't be home to an Islamic community center. Any reasonable person knows that not all Muslims are terrorists, but bringing groups together and balancing diversity can be accomplished without trampling on that sacred ground.
There are people out there filled with a lot of hate and fear - hate and fear that didn't exist before 9/11. These are people who don't want this thing built at all, whether it's two blocks from the site of the attacks, or two miles - ordinary Americans who lost loved ones at the hands of Islamic extremists. They don't get to make this decision. They just have to live with it. Hopefully, however, those who will make the ultimate call and determine the fate of the proposed Islamic community center will take their feelings into account.
We don't need to promote the Constitution as much as we need to protect the unwritten rights of the very people protected by it - the "fellow Americans" whom presidents always refer to when they address a nation of people, some of whom now only have pictures and memories of the relatives they lost on Sept. 11.