By Aimee Drew

The construction of the Islamic Center being built two blocks north of Ground-Zero in New York City has caused too much controversy, provoked too much tension, and wasted too much time.
We are living in a time of ultimate change: a time where the world needs communication, tolerance, and just a little bit of patience. The main concern of American citizens is the insensitivity they feel due to the location of this center. These feelings are completely reasonable; we all remember the tragedies on September 11, 2001: the fear, the anger, the despair. Perhaps the location of the mosque was not completely thought out, feelings of Americans not completely accounted, but in our delicate international state, other issues take priority.
Our world is steadily becoming angry, demanding, and divided. The struggles between the Middle East and America will continue unless someone decides to give something up. We must give up our concern for only our own self-interest. We must work together and become a united world, otherwise there will always threats of terrorism because there will always be someone who wants to show America that it is not the greatest nation in the world.
Once upon a time, people sailed across the Atlantic to a place where they were free to worship whoever they wanted in whatever way they wanted. Have we lost our freedom of religion? This mosque is a place of worship, a place sacred to those who believe in the teachings of Mohammed, who devoutly follow the Qu’ran. Who are we to say that Muslims do not have the right to praise their God?
At the core, the tension between America and Islamic nations is an issue of hatred due to a lack of understanding. Both sides think the other is wrong, blasphemous and in a situation like this, there is no winner, somebody gets hurt and it is usually the citizens, not the politicians.
An act of intolerance started this insanity nine years ago and it will not be solved by further intolerance. Christians, Jews, and Muslims follow their holy traditions. If this mosque is built, it will show the world that we are strong and we are accepting, and we are ready to start over in this new and fast-paced world.
America is an influential nation; there is no doubt of that. If we can stand together and if we can make an effort to understand our neighbors, our friends, our enemies on this planet, we can change the world. Our generation must realize that we must take responsibility for our parents’ mistakes and their parents’ blunders. A time of innovation, communication, and compassion is upon us and this time is ours.