New Yorker Daryl Lang takes some photos of other structures and businesses in his neighborhood, including strip clubs, bars, McDonalds and curbside souvenir hockers, located the same distance from the Ground Zero site as the proposed Muslim community center:
What’s my point? A month ago, I wrote about my support for a group of Muslim New Yorkers—whom I consider my neighbors—and their right to put a religious building on a piece of private property in Lower Manhattan. Since then, the debate over the Park51 community center, inaccurately nicknamed the “Ground Zero Mosque,” has jumped from talk radio to mainstream conversation, and turned nasty in the process. Sarah Palin wrote that, “it would be an intolerable and tragic mistake to allow such a project sponsored by such an individual to go forward on such hallowed ground.”I'm glad that Sarah Palin was able to put aside her disdain for big city liberal elitists long enough to tell them how to run their own town (for their own good, of course). As far as the outrage over the proposed community center located two and a half blocks away from the World Trade Center site being too close I still have three questions that no right-winger can or will answer: 1) How many blocks would then be far enough away to show proper respect for the victims on 9/11? 2) What system or formula did you use to arrive at that number? 3) Why would being even one block closer than the number you chose be so much worse? The reason these questions can't be answered is because this isn't about proximity to Ground Zero or respect for those victims, it's about not liking Muslims and conflating religious tolerance with national weakness to score cheap political points in an election year.
Look at the photos. This neighborhood is not hallowed. The people who live and work here are not obsessed with 9/11. The blocks around Ground Zero are like every other hard-working neighborhood in New York, where Muslims are just another thread of the city fabric.
At this point the only argument against this project is fear, specifically fear of Muslims, and that’s a bigoted, cowardly and completely indefensible position.