Join the Debate: Should Freedom of Religion Trump Sept. 11 Sensitivities?

Debate continues over whether a mosque should be built a few blocks from Ground Zero

It’s a debate New Yorkers (and iVillagers) have engaged in for some time, but you know an issue has reached the national level when Miss Universe gets asked for her thoughts on it. Yep, we’re talking about the 13-story community center (which will house a Muslim prayer room) to be built two blocks away from Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan.

When asked by a Miss Universe pageant judge what she thought of the plans, Miss USA contestant Rima Fakih -- who was born in Lebanon and raised in New York -- said she is against it. “I totally agree with President Obama with the statement on constitutional rights of freedom of religion,” she said, adding, “I also agree that it shouldn’t be so close to the World Trade Center. We should be more concerned with the tragedy than religion.”

Even Miss USA and Miss Universe pageant owner Donald Trump weighed in on the issue. “It’s very insensitive and it shouldn’t be there,” he told Extra. “I’m a big believer in freedom of religion but I think the mosque being in that location is absolutely wrong.”

iVillagers, however, aren’t so sure. “I hate discrimination in any shape or form, and I think the people attacking the idea of the ‘mosque’ or ‘community center,’ or whatever it is are just perpetuating hatred,” writes member elosquirrel.

“Let them build their mosque, or community center, or whatever they are calling it,” echoes denise363636. “This is America -- and to deny someone their freedom of religion would be wrong, and would show the terrorists that they are chipping away at our way of life.”

What do you think? Should the community center be built near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks? Chime in below and vote in our poll.

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