Ishaan Tharoor in Time:
Opposition to a proposed mosque near Ground Zero swelled into a furor this week after its planners on Aug. 3 passed the last municipal hurdle barring them from building it. New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg spoke passionately in defense of the project. “Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans,” Bloomberg said in a speech that day. “We would betray our values and play into our enemies' hands if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else.”
Bloomberg's predecessor didn't agree. The former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, claimed that the project, which is partially intended to be an interfaith community center, would be a “desecration,” adding that “decent” Muslims ought not object to his opinion. Other GOP politicians and talking heads who have far less to do with the events of 9/11 — or, for that matter, New York — have joined the chorus, arguing in some instances that a mosque near Ground Zero would be a monument to terrorists.