Opinion: Why I defend Muslims

“The support for criticizing a mosque is half a mile wide and an inch deep. And at the end of the process, the only people who will remember it are the people who feel threatened by this –not just Muslims, but Sikhs, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Mormons.” – Grover Norquist, conservative activist

A couple weeks ago, a non-Mormon friend from high school e-mailed me that quote and asked me, “In light of the Ground Zero mosque controversy, do you feel any particular solidarity with the other religions Norquist mentioned?”

I responded with a link to my column on the subject, and told him that I strongly supported the Muslims’ right to build their place of worship. But I didn’t really answer his question. The truth is, I didn’t feel especially unified with other minority religions that have traditionally been persecuted in the U.S.

That is, until last Sunday.

On an assignment for Newsweek, I attended the opening service for the “9/11 Christian Center” near Ground Zero in Manhattan. If you haven’t heard of this project, it is essentially meant to be a counterweight to the proposed Park51 Islamic cultural center. Founded by a Florida preacher who was inspired to “fight the lies of Islam,” the Christian center will hold services every Sunday in a Marriott ballroom in lower Manhattan until they can find more permanent facilities.

Read the rest of this story at deseretnews.com
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