Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tale of Two Mosques . . . A Sequel

In last month's Tale of Two Mosques, the local acceptance of the Utica mosque was contrasted with the widespread opposition to the proposed New York City "Ground Zero" mosque.  Both cities have long embraced diversity, so accusations of bigotry as motivating mosque-opponents in the latter simply do not ring true.  The comparison revealed that the mosque developers in each place took a different approach, respecting the sensibilities and sensitivities of the local people in Utica, and not caring about local impacts whatsoever in New York City.

Some Muslims are starting to publicly say that the "Ground Zero" mosque is a bad idea.

On this ninth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks we will be inundated with images of that horrific day.  As you watch the pictures of the buildings burning and then collapsing, of people jumping to their deaths, of others fleeing for their lives, you know three things: (1) many people have been emotionally scarred forever from that event; (2) a mosque at 'Ground Zero' WILL be perceived by those who wish to do this country harm as a symbol of conquest and an encouragement for more attacks; and (3) a mosque at 'Ground Zero' advanced as a matter of religious "right" rather than as an apology for a misuse of Islam will inflict further emotional distress on the community.

I suggested that someone should test the limits of free speech and freedom of religion by suing to enjoin the "Ground Zero" mosque on a theory of  "intentional infliction of emotional distress" -- a common law tort.

According to an article posted yesterday on WorldNetDaily, that suit has been brought.

Lawsuit: Ground Zero mosque would be 'terror'
Claims 'it is intended to carry out continuing psychological warfare'

The case was filed today by Vincent Forras, representing himself, a "first responder" who was injured during the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks just a block away from the proposed mosque site. 

Working with the case is Larry Klayman, president of Freedom Watch USA.
The action, not the first filed over the proposal, alleges the project would be a "nuisance" and would result in "intentional infliction of emotional distress." . . .
It is known, the claim states, "that al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations like to and do return to the 'scene' of prior terror attacks, to show that they can continue their campaign with impunity, thereby instilling greater terror and severe emotional distress on the populace. That is why the World Trade Center was attacked more than once and why assets and persons at Ground Zero are likely to be attacked again."
"It is also why the Ground Zero mosque [supporters] want to put an Islamic center specifically at that location – in order to show the world that 'they' can do it again … and to perpetrate continuing and heightened psychological terror on the victims," the case says.

It will be interesting to see how the courts respond to these allegations.  Frankly, I am not expecting that this challenge will be successful . . . The courts, particularly state courts, will probably look at this merely as a "rights" issue rather than a "warfare" issue. Courts are not accustomed to dealing with warfare.

At some point, however, it must be recognized that exercising rights under certain circumstances can be warfare.  When that happens, does our constitution require our nation to be completely vulnerable to psychological attack?  

How should the line of what is or is not to be permitted be drawn?

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