the "ground zero mosque"
The proposed mosque--actually, it's more of a cultural center--at or near the World Trade Center site presents a complicated issue. If I had been the lawyer for The Cordoba Project, I might well have advised them to seek a different site, or at least to explain themselves better to the public than they have done. And it may be that some sort of compromise is still possible.
Still, there is a certain kind of issue that--even if one would have preferred it never be posed--requires a clear-cut answer once it actually is. Whatever the political wisdom of the project, it is simply inadmissible to bar something on the grounds of religion, no matter how strongly felt the opposition may be. That the project is pretty clearly intended as a refutation of the mentality of the 9/11 bombers--Cordoba was a city in Spain noted for at least temporarily good relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims--makes the case that much clearer. That doesn't mean opponents don't have a right to be heard, or that they should be called racists, or bigots, and so on; but only that their arguments should not trump religious freedom in this particular case.
The role of the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) in opposing the project strikes me as especially unfortunate. Does is not occur to Jewish groups that arguments made against Muslims--they are alien, they are violent, they pray to a god of fear rather than a god of love--are exactly those made against Jews in times past? All this kind of position will do is convince your average secular American that, as the expression goes, "they're all crazy"--Jews, Muslims, anyone in that part of the world; not a long-term winning hand.