May 28, 2011
Last summer we followed stories about the controversy surrounding the proposed mosque in Lower Manhattan, and about the proposed construction of other mosques in America. As a follow-up, this piece of news appeared recently, regarding the proposed mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It’s a piece of good news for all of us who value religious diversity, openness towards others, and elemental justice: a lawsuit– brought by opponents of the construction of the mosque– has failed:
MURFREESBORO — Chancellor Robert Corlew III ruled that plaintiffs suing the county for approving construction of a mosque just outside the city limits have failed to prove they’re being harmed.
“We must note that, under the law, the Plaintiffs have not demonstrated a loss different from that which is common to all citizens of Rutherford County,” Corlew wrote in his ruling issued this week. “That Islam is a religion has been proven in this case. That the county ordinance allows construction of a church or place of meeting within a residential planning zone as a matter of right in this case is further undisputed.”
via Court decides plaintiffs not harmed by mosque | The Daily News Journal | dnj.com.
August 3, 2010
The Anti-Defamation League made its statement in opposition to the Cordoba Mosque nearly a week ago. Some of its reasoning is being echoed by others in opposition, including Dan Senor in today’s Wall Street Journal. Here is the final paragraph of the ADL’s statement:
Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam. The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right.
via Statement On Islamic Community Center Near Ground Zero.
The distinction between “rights”– as in what is legally or constitutionally permissible– and “right”– as in what is morally correct– is a helpful distinction. The next question is: what are the other elements in this situation, in addition to the conceivable pain that some victims will feel, that would help us assess what is the right thing to do? There is more to a moral judgment than calculating potential pain. More on this later. (See “Rights and Right– Part Two” for further moral reasoning on the location of the Islamic Center)