I don’t know if you’ve been following the debate summed up by this excellent piece in The Hindu.
I’ve thought really hard whether to comment on it. Most economists have, taking positions either in favor or against the construction of the mosque. And the debate has slowly degenerated into one that forces people to take sides for and against the rights of a religious community. Bog posts talk about “good” and “bad” followers of Islam, about the rights of a community which many believe, erroneously, to be characterized by its association with the perpetrators of the 9/11 attack and whether public sentiment will be hurt if the mosque is permitted. And the basic question is lost and remains unanswered.
The basic question is whether any religious monument should be permitted at a site where many people from many religions lost their lives. Should their falling be represented and remembered by religious monuments, when they fell in a war fought in the name of religion?
To my mind, the answer has little to do with which religious group wants to construct the monument and more to do with whether religious monuments are the right way to honor their passing. And the answer remains the same whether its a mosque, church, synagogue or temple.
To a certain extent, debates like these, are windows into the thought process of a people. And all that is visible here is confusion and misdirection.