08/19/2010 11:41 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Build the Mosque

Those who oppose building a mosque, the Cordoba House, on private property a few blocks from Ground Zero, have got it all backwards.

They root their opposition, not in intolerance or bigotry (they claim), but in the insensitivity of the project to the families and victims of 9/11. I think they are wrong. In fact, I think it'd be insensitive if we didn't build the mosque.

They aren't building the Cordoba House on Ground Zero. In fact, they are building something called the freedom tower, just a few miles from something else called the Statue of Liberty. Perhaps energies would be better spent reflecting on the meaning of those words -- freedom and liberty.

Nor is this a memorial of any sort to the 9/11 hijackers, that would be like putting a Nazi memorial outside the Holocaust museum.

I have to believe that the wars we've fought -- I fought in one of them -- were fought for something more than SUV's, cold beer on a Friday night, and Snooki.

The friends I lost died fighting in our name -- not necessarily because they believed we should or shouldn't be in Iraq or Afghanistan (though most did), but because they believed there was something special about the promise of our country.

Martin Luther King Jr. said it best....

"In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:"

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Opposition to building the Cordoba House near Ground Zero sends a clear message to the world that we are an intolerant people who cannot tell the difference between 1.5 billion Muslims and a handful of extremists. Forget hijacking airplanes, we're hijacking an entire religion.

Instead, we should be celebrating the construction of a mosque there or anywhere else in our country.

It pains me that our political leadership, my mayor aside, have not seized this as an opportunity to remind our fellow citizens what makes this country great. To me that is far more than insensitive, it's a betrayal.

Give them a backbone and drop them a note...

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