The New York Times has a story up about what it calls a Muslim “prayer center” in the World Trade Center. Muslims who worked in the Twin Towers met there for their daily prayers — there was even a wash room nearby set up for the pre-prayer ritual cleansing.
By any measure, the “prayer center” in the trade center is much closer to the definition of a mosque than Park 51, the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” — a 12-story non-sectarian community center with a culinary school and sports facilities.
The fact that there was a mosque in the south tower — compounded by the fact that it is as likely as not there were Muslims praying in the mosque on the 17th floor when terrorists jet-bombed the building — should make it harder for Republicans to argue that construction of Park 51 somehow defiles the memory of those who died in the 9/11 attacks.
It should, but it won’t. This controversy is not about Park 51 or even about Ground Zero. It’s about Republican leaders fanning the flames of fear and hatred among their tea bagger base.