The op-ed piece
in this morning's Oregonian
by U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley
(D-Ore.) on the mosque and Muslim community center that's been proposed near Ground Zero makes for a thought-provoking read.
I appreciate the depth of emotions at play, but respectfully suggest that the presence of a mosque is only inappropriate near ground zero if we unfairly associate Muslim Americans with the atrocities of the foreign al-Qaida terrorists who attacked our nation.
And the senator also writes
Some have also argued that the construction of the mosque would hand a propaganda victory to Osama bin Laden. I think the opposite is true. Al-Qaida justifies its murder by painting America as a nation at war with Islam. Celebrating our freedom of religion and Muslim Americans' place in our communities is a blow to al-Qaida's ideology of hate and division. We strengthen America by distinguishing, clearly and unequivocally, between our al-Qaida enemy and our Muslim neighbors.
Merkley's take is already being contrasted
with other Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a fellow Democrat who's come out in the middle of his tough re-election against
the proposed mosque and Muslim community center.
isn't on the ballot again until 2014, his position today remains a courageous one because it's a stance you can be sure is already going into opponents' political files.