The Muslim Community Center they are building in lower Manhattan near Ground Zero is only disrespectful to feelings which don't deserve our respect. . . and I can prove it.
I think everyone would agree that irrational feelings can be acknowledged without being respected or encouraged. In this case, then, the question becomes: Is this concern about the community center irrational or not? I think I can prove it is using simple logic.
All It takes is answering a few simple questions:
1) Is it rational to think that ALL Muslims are responsible for ground zero?
2) Is it rational to think that Muslims themselves who are completely innocent shouldn't visit or go near ground zero because it is disrespectful?
3) Is it rational to think that any group of innocent Muslims praying in a building near ground zero is disrespectful?
I think it is fair to admit that there is a temptation for some people to answer yes to the above questions because a very general connection between 9/11 and Islam has been made in pop culture.
Any sort of sober logical thinking about the issue, however, will reveal that any answer but NO to the above questions is an irrational answer because there is really no way to connect THIS group of Muslims building the community center in any way to the attacks. In fact, evidence leads to the opposite conclusion. These are domestic Muslims trying to express the healing and peaceful side of their religion. The only way THIS group of Muslims is disrespectful to people's feelings is if those people have already accepted the premise that ALL Muslims, and their religious needs, are offensive foreign enemies.
That is an irrational premise based on irrational feelings that deserves no respect from rational people. I don't care if 99% of Americans polled have that irrational feeling. . IT STILL DESERVES NO RESPECT.
EVERY rule of logical debate and discussion in Western Civilization states that "Ad Populum" arguments are not worthy of respect. They are fallacies. They deserve no more respect in discussion than irrational feelings do.
There is no middle ground here. People expressing concern here are either outraged over an irrational premise or suggesting that we all collectively respect and advocate for people's outrage over an irrational premise. In either case, the feeling deserves to be acknowledged and understood but not given any legitimacy.
This is NOT about the burden of Muslims to choose the appropriate or respectful way to express their civil rights. The burden is on the critics to prove their objections are rational. Then we can decide what is respectful and what isn't.