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I'm discouraged when I hear people of any faith talk about another faith as all good or all bad. If First Baptist in New York wanted to build a community building near ground zero, would we say "no way," even though many Jews and Muslims died there as well as Christians and those with no faith?
Our president — who by the way, is not only a citizen of the U.S. but a Christian baptized in the United Church of Christ and daily guided by a Pentecostal minister — had it right when he said we should allow this structure to go forward.
The Imam (Muslim spiritual leader) is a progressive Sufi Muslim, wanting to promote dialogue and peace between faiths. The structure is not designed for radical Muslims to preach Jihad.
Did Timothy McVeigh bomb the government building in Oklahoma because he was a non-Christian? I believe he was part of a radical group professing Christianity (not that I recognize what he did as Christlike.) Neither do I recognize the radical Muslims that engineered and carried out 9/11 as true Muslims. Too many of us pick some piece of sacred text out of context to rationalize acts of violence, power grabs or destructive deeds.
In Afghanistan, we are trying to win the hearts and minds of Muslim citizens so they will not follow al-Qaida or the Taliban. Their response to our denying peaceful Muslims a place to dialogue or worship will be to disbelieve our good intentions.
The early colonists would have denied building permits to Catholics and Jews who they thought were evil. Fortunately, we had Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to design a government that included all faiths.
Mary Ellen Myers