Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Muslim clergyman who wants to build a cultural center and prayer room two blocks north of ground zero, has repeatedly denounced Islamist terrorism. He admonishes members of his congregation to be, in his words, “both good Americans and good Muslims.” He’s not an ally of Osama bin Laden; he’s an adversary.
Still, it was predictable that some New Yorkers who lost loved ones on 9/11 would object to building a Muslim institution so near the site of their tragedy. They’re entitled to their feelings, and a cultural center that hopes to bridge gaps among Muslims, Christians and Jews needs to take those feelings into account. But they’re not entitled to make their feelings a basis for discriminatory government action.