“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
Eugene Robinson: Jefferson Would be Ashamed of Republican Mosque Panderers
Lies, distortions, jingoism, xenophobia-another day, another campaign issue that Republicans can use to bash President Barack Obama and the Democrats. First it was illegal immigration. Now it’s the so-called “Ground Zero mosque,” which is not at all what its opponents claim.
First, it’s not at Ground Zero. The site in question is two blocks north of the former World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan; an existing mosque is just a few hundred feet more distant from the site of the collapsed towers. Second, while the planned building will indeed house a place of worship, it is designed to be more of a community center along the lines of a YMCA. Plans include a fitness center, swimming pool, basketball court, bookstore, performing arts center and food court. Kebabs do not threaten our way of life.
Most important, organizers have made clear that the whole point of the project is to provide a high-profile platform for mainstream, moderate Islam-and to stridently reject the warped, radical, jihadist worldview that produced the atrocities of Sept. 11, 2001.
William Saletan: Islam Is Ground Zero
Why we should build the proposed Islamic center in Lower Manhattan.
Are we at war with Islam?
That’s the central question now in the debate over the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero. On Friday, President Obama entered the debate, defending the right of Muslim-Americans to worship where they choose. He was then chastised by Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, House Minority Leader John Boehner, and other Republican leaders. Yes, they conceded, the project’s sponsors can legally build it at the planned site, two blocks from Ground Zero. But that isn’t the issue. The issue, they argue, is propriety. As Palin puts it: “We all know that they have the right to do it, but should they?”
Confronted by that question on Saturday, Obama ducked it. “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there,” he said. “I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have.”