A controversial cultural center is expected to be built extremely close to Ground Zero, the site of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. Although many think that this center is in fact a mosque, it is basically an Islamic YMCA, complete with basketball courts and other activity rooms. The only thing that sets it apart from any other YMCA or recreation center in New York City, is that this “mosque” is complete with an Islamic prayer room. This prayer room is posing as the epicenter of an international dispute. Many people have different opinions about the construction of this “troublemaker”, including students at Oyster Bay High School.
Dylan Rankin, Junior at OBHS, feels, “It is too close to Ground Zero, many families are still grieving the loss of a family member and building a mosque will not help them get over it.” Almost every other student interviewed agrees with him. Jillian Boccia stated, “It’s almost like the Islamic group that wants to build the mosque at this location is praising the 9-11 attackers, and that’s not right.” Its seems that most of the students at Oyster Bay High School are taking the sides of most Americans, the side that is totally against the building of a mosque on Ground Zero.
But, there are a select few who believe that the answer to the How-Do-you-feel-about-this-mosque question is not a simple build/do not build it. Some feel that this problem has an answer entirely more complex. Some feel, that the Islamic people who are trying to build this center should not build this based solely on morals, but they also feel that it is not the government’s place to prevent the construction of this center, that it is constitutionally wrong. People like David Natale feel this way. He stated, “I believe they [the Islamic leaders] have every right to put it there. I simply believe it is not morally correct.” Before anyone’s mind is made up, Mr. Pontillo, Social Studies teacher at OBHS, says “Make sure you know the facts before you make up your mind, don’t just go along with what others are saying, decide for yourself.”
On Saturday, August 14th, 2010, President Barack Obama informally announced his support of the building of the mosque. Of course, his statement caused controversy amongst many Americans, and made many angry towards the President.
It seems as if everyone in America, from students at Oyster Bay High School to the President of the United States, has their own opinion about this mosque. One thing that everyone seems to manage to agree on, is the simple fact that this mosque will pose as a problem for weeks, months, and maybe even years to come, and will leave a mark on American history forever.
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