The NYC mosque controversy

The more I think about the NYC mosque controversy, the more I realize that I just don’t really care.  R.R. Reno gave voice to that feeling in an article this morning.  I particularly liked these passages:

“I’m not interested in denying the specific feelings, worries, or fears, but let’s look at the context. America is an extremely powerful nation with a very robust, vibrant, and remarkably successful culture. Therefore—and this goes to the root of my indifference to the issue—an Islamic Center in New York is irrelevant. Compared to the locomotive of American society, it’s like a penny on a railroad track. […]

Aristotle ranked magnanimity among the virtues that characterize a man who is at once powerful and noble. This virtue involves treating those who are weaker with a certain indulgence. When a servant breaks a vase, a magnanimous soul waves it off. If an underling owes a debt, it is forgiven as a gesture of indifference. “Don’t worry about it,” says the magnanimous person.

Although we often see its fierce side in the news, by and large Islam is weak. It’s not vying for political control or cultural dominance in America, where it’s largely irrelevant. Radical Islam is of course a global threat, but mostly as a power of disintegration rather than a force to be reckoned with. The country currently facing an existential threat from Islam is Pakistan, not America.

We should be magnanimous. Abdul Rauf’s Islamic Center on Park Place may be a good idea or a bad idea. I’m not sure myself. But this seems obvious: in comparison to the very big fact of America, it’s a small idea, and not worth worrying about.”

Author: Kleiner

Associate Vice Provost and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University. I teach across the curriculum, but am most interested in continental philosophy, ancient and medieval philosophy as well as Catholic thought, all of which might be summed up as an interest in the ressourcement tradition (returning in order to make progress). I also enjoy spending time thinking about liberal education and its ends.

3 thoughts on “The NYC mosque controversy”

  1. I just read a comment on an atheist website that has the best statement on this controversy I have heard yet.

    Plus, has anyone looked at the Ground Zero site lately? It’s trashed. It’s gross. If this is supposed to be a memorial, a place for people to come to remember, mounds of dirt and scaffolding is not going to do the job. It truly worries me that our politicians and citizens are too busy being worried about a religious group trying to practice hope and love and peace (which IS what Islam teaches), than to memorialize a site they consider oh so sacred. In contrast, Park51 should be a non-issue.



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