This week on campus there has been a big debate on what is acceptable and unacceptable within the grounds of the first amendment right. This right granted in the constitution gives people living within U.S. borders the ability to express themselves freely, whether it offends people or not. It also grants people the right to be able to assemble in a peaceful manner as well as exercise their own religion. Many students believed that what was written in the tunnel was perfectly acceptable within the words of the First Amendment. However, if you asked many of those people how they felt about a mosque being built near Ground Zero, would they have the same answer?
Muslims have the right to be able to exercise their religion in this country just as anyone else does. According to the sources, the mosque is not even being directly built on the exact location that was the home of the Twin Towers. Furthermore, Muslim community is planning to build a community in the Manhattan area, which will house a community center open to the public. They are not planning to bring harm or suffering to anyone. The truth of the matter is that all Muslims are not responsible for 9/11 and they shouldn’t be penalized by the actions of a few. Students believe that the community as a whole shouldn’t lose the Free Expression Tunnel due to the words sprayed on the wall by a couple of lost souls. You can’t pick and choose who has the right to hold the First Amendment. You can’t say that students don’t have the right to speak out against hate speech or more so that they don’t have the right to assemble peacefully to speak out against it. Also, there is no First Amendment right in the constitution that even gives citizens the right to have a Free Expression Tunnel in the first place. It is a privilege that was enacted by this university, which can’t be taken lightly. It seems that some people only refer to the First Amendment right when it refers to something that they don’t believe in. People migrated to this country in part because they wanted to have the freedom to practice their own religions without regulation.
Therefore, in the grounds of the First Amendment rights, the Muslims have the full ability to be able to build the mosque wherever they please. Even if you don’t practice the religion you have to accept it. No religion can be placed on a higher level than others. You can disagree with it, but you can’t deny it. Some people want others to forget the past, but choose to hold on to injustices which offend them. If you are a firm believer that students were justified in writing what they wrote then you might as well join the fight to allow Muslims to have the Mosque in Manhattan.