Op-Ed Columnist – Islam and the Two Americas

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In this Opinion article in the nytimes.com, Ross Douthat provides a very balanced view on the burning question of the building of a Mosque a couple of blocks from Ground Zero. How to enable and reconcile religious freedom along with cultural integration? Certainly, this issue is stirring a lot of emotions and I would argue that, at its core, is a fundamental question for the future of America: the need to cultivate diversity and maintain a national identity.

The matter is complex. On the one hand, there is the outside appearance of the Mullahs and orthodox muslims and the physical construction of a mosque. [The presence of Hasidic Jews and the building of synagogues do not stir the same polemic.] On the other hand, we have the ‘invisible’ component in the form of the sharing of values, and the challenge of detecting the presence of “normal” (in outside appearance) muslims à la Faisal Shahzad (the failed NY Time Square bomber).

The debate is likely to rage on and, in its resolution, will potentially be a key to how America will manage its future. In any event, in the meantime, I can only smile when I see that Google Ads posts at the bottom of the article (at least when I read this article on line) a link on “How to convert to Islam”…

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