This letter to the Economist gave me a perspective I hadn't thought of, nor have I seen anyone mentioning it:
SIR – Lexington (August 7th) was correct about the planned building of a mosque near to the Ground Zero site from a legal standpoint: any attempt to stop its construction would be defeated in the courts, but his conclusions are wrong. The issue is not one of law or even morality, but of raw emotion. It is similar to an incident in the 1990s when the Catholic church in Poland wished to build a Carmelite convent near the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The Jewish community objected to it because they felt that building a convent near where so many of their friends and relations had died was an act of incredible insensitivity. The matter was brought to Pope John Paul II who withdrew the plans as he did not want its presence to be a source of pain for the Jewish people. How decent of him. How sensitive to the feelings of others.
Those who wish to erect the Cordoba House mosque could learn from the pope’s decision and tell the people of New York that, after reflection, they realise that building a community centre will not foster understanding but is likely to have the opposite effect, and they do not wish it to be the cause of any further anguish to those who lost loved ones at that place on that terrible day.
Derek E. Barrett
Long Beach, New York