Live From Ground Zero

Amy Davidson in The New Yorker:

I must say that this ad leaves me almost speechless with rage:

Just to be clear, the plan for the proposed community center, to be called Park51, does not, as the ad, which was paid for by something called the National Republican Trust PAC, might suggest, actually involve spiking a minaret into some smoldering ruins, to the sound of masked men cackling. (“Where we weep, they rejoice.”) It would be on the site of a defunct Burlington Coat Factory, on Park Place, two blocks away from Ground Zero. In the same vicinity, there are several fast-food places, bagel shops, banks, shoe stores, a movie theatre, a couple of churches, at least one gentleman’s club, and, even nearer, Century 21, the discount department store.

I do not mean—I hope this is obvious—to call for an expulsion of strip clubs or designer-sale free-for-alls from the zone around Ground Zero, but to point out that the area is a busy, living neighborhood that has flourished since and in defiance of the terrorist attacks. (It is home, among other things, to a great Little League, on whose fields there is, depending on how the games go, both weeping and rejoicing.) A mosque near Ground Zero is not, as the ad says, a way to “celebrate that murder,” but a celebration and sign of everyday life, and the way it continues, as well it should. Downtown is a community, one in which Muslims live. Why on earth shouldn’t there be an Islamic community center?

More here.