If the Islamic community center proposed a couple blocks from Ground Zero in New York City proves to be a boon rather than a bane to the community, as seems most likely, then we can file this item under "I told you so." It will be the first certified green mosque in the world, according to a scoop by The Daily Beast.
If the report is correct, the plan is not only create the first mosque to be LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, the generally recognized seal-of-approval for green building, but to make the focus of the community center the study and celebration of Islam's environmentalism. Writes Ibrahim Abdul-Matin:
The mosque (which is more accurately a community center with a prayer space) is located on Park Place in Downtown Manhattan, but the new name also reflects a desire to emphasize the intricate (though widely unknown) connections between Islamic teachings and environmentalism. For example, Islam calls upon people to be "stewards of the Earth" and to treat all things in nature as sacred. The new name, Park51, invokes images of trees, creeks, and children playing. Parks are for the public. Parks are fun. Parks are green. And parks are not controversial.
The Park51 Website has about a friendly description of its intentions as can be written:
Park51 will be dedicated to pluralism, service, arts and culture, education and empowerment, appreciation for our city and a deep respect for our planet. Park51 will join New York to the world, offering a welcoming community center with multiple points of entry. With world-class facilities, a global scope and strong local roots, Park 51 will offer a friendly and accessible platform for conversations across our identities.
Those opposed to the mosque see the presence of a Muslim community center near Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center fell to radical Islamicists, as inappropriate. Supporters see just the opposite: Peaceful coexistence and tolerance is fundamental to American ideals, so why not build it near Ground Zero?
What do you think? Does the revelation of green building plans alter your opinion?
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