Letters to the Editor

September 04, 2010

Proposed New York City mosque should be nonissue

To the editor:

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. After all, we locked up more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II. So why should I be surprised by the reaction to the proposed construction of a mosque in New York City?

But it's not even a mosque. It's a 13-story-high community center with a basketball court, culinary school and restaurant, among other facilities, with only the top two floors set aside for worship. It's also being promoted by one of the most moderate Muslims, a man lauded by President George W. Bush only a few years ago.

I understand why many cite the sensitivity of placing such a building immediately at ground zero, but the proposed Islamic community center is not "at" or "next to" ground zero - it's several blocks away. A person wouldn't even be able to see the building from ground zero. You'd have to go out of your way to do that. And by the way, there is already a small mosque just a block or so away from the site of the proposed building.


OK, so you're still not convinced. So exactly how far away would this community center have to be built to satisfy you? Six blocks? Ten blocks? In the next county? In Connecticut?

And where does this nonsense stop? Perhaps with rounding up all of the more than 1 million Muslims in this country and locking them up, as we did with the Japanese-Americans? Boy, when we get scared, we really do get carried away. But then, we all need scapegoats, don't we? Does this sound familiar?

And by the way, not all of those who lost loved ones on Sept. 11 object to the building of this Islamic community center. A woman - whose name I neglected to write down - recently was on a national news program and spoke out in favor of the construction of the building. She's not alone either. There are many who lost loved ones on Sept. 11 who are fine with this proposed project.

A handful of radical Muslims were responsible for Sept. 11, and a tiny percentage of the some 1 billion Muslims around the world are considered a possible danger to our country, yet we Americans have painted them all with the same brush. We never learn.

Finally, Muslims lost their lives on Sept. 11, too. Nearly 30 died at ground zero on that awful day in 2001.

To me, this is a nonissue, even though many officials have made it one (despite the fact that our U.S. Constitution clearly states that there is to be a separation of church and state, another point many Americans often forget). American-Muslims are as much a part of this country as you and I, and their right to practice their religion, where and when they want, is as sacred as yours and mine.

So where does this stop? It needs to stop here. Our freedoms are for all. Once we begin picking and choosing who can worship what religion and where they can do that - or whatever the case might be - there might be no stopping it. And we all understand where that can lead.

Jeff Driscoll

Candidate says citizens deserve a debate on the issues

To the editor:

I am concerned to learn of Sen. (Don) Munson's refusal to participate in a debate of the issues important to the citizens of Washington County.

As I have said from the beginning of this campaign, I respect Sen. Munson's service to the people. I know that he believes as I do that service in the General Assembly is an honor that must be earned.

We both have very different voting records and very different philosophies of the role of government. We have a duty and obligation to talk to the citizens about how we would represent them.

The citizens of Washington County need to hear directly from both of us. They need to hear our explanation of our past votes, as well as what we will do about the pressing problems like high taxes, overspending, and the 10 percent rate of unemployment in our county.

This campaign is about the citizens of Washington County and the type of representation they want in Annapolis. They deserve an opportunity to ask questions directly of us and hold us accountable for our past actions and votes.

A government accountable to the people is what our founding fathers envisioned all those years ago. I sincerely believe that a debate would be the best way to discuss the issues with the citizens of Washington County. Let us appear before the citizens and have a free and unfiltered discussion of the issues.

Del. Christopher B. Shank

Editor's note: Del. Christopher B. Shank, a Republican representing Subdistrict 2B in Washington County, is running for state Senate in District 2, which covers most of Washington County.

County commissioners need to hold developers to APFO

To the editor:

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