September 14th, 2010
01:21 PM ET
Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
I usually ignore Michael Moore, who has long seemed to me a liberal doppelganger of the worst conservative ideologues. But when he said on September 11 that the Islamic community center should not be built near ground zero but on ground zero my ears perked up. Hadn’t I heard that before?
Here’s what I wrote:
Here’s what Moore wrote, a position he reiterated yesterday to Wolf Blitzer on CNN:
He then put his money where his (big) mouth is, pledging to match the first $10,000 raised for this Islamic community center by the Cordoba Initiative.
I am with Michael Moore on this one, but I’d like to add another reason.
Over the last few days the New York Times and other media outlets have reported on a makeshift mosque that existed on the seventeenth floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center—a place where Muslim cooks and secretaries and bond traders and janitors could go for their five-times-a-day prayers. Such spaces for prayer and prostration exist all across New York City, and across the United States, wherever Muslim taxi drivers, for example, stop to pray together in an empty supply room or on a sidewalk in the open air.
If anywhere in Lower Manhattan is declared off limits to a mosque, if it is decided that 2 blocks or 4 blocks or 10 blocks is too close, what does that mean for the Muslims who will be working in the office buildings now under construction at ground zero? When Muslims start to gather for worship on the 17th floor will protesters sweep in to condemn them? Will they be told they cannot pray?
Not in my America. And not in Michael Moore's.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.
From around the web
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.