A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post on the building of a mosque in NYC, a couple of blocks near ground zero. I argued that the government has no constitutional standing to prohibiting such a building. I also argued that the argument for prohibiting the construction of the mosque because it presents a security risk fails. In this post I will argue that it is unethical for the Muslims to choose to build their mosque in NYC.
Principle of Non-maleficence
This principle states that we ought to act in ways that do not bring needless harm to individuals and society. There is an argument that building a mosque in downtown NYC brings unnecessary harm.
First, it is not necessary that they build a mosque in that location. Out of kindness towards others, they could instead build just the student center. Furthermore, they bought the building post-9/11. This revokes the claim that they need to build there since it would be very expensive to buy somewhere else.
Second, people don't just dis-like having a mosque being built in NYC, it really bothers them. Thousands have taken to the street in protest and many claim offense since it is near ground zero, sacred ground. The harm occurs in building a religious building near a sacred site that was tragically created by people of that same religion. It is the same as the Japanese attempting to build a museum for WWII soldiers next to the Pearl Harbor Memorial or building a German cultural center next to a Holocaust site. Hence, people are upset.
Argument from Virtue
By moving the mosque to a different location the builders would be acting virtuously. Specifically they would be respectful. Exemplifying these virtues would do much to help the relationship between Islam and the United States.
-This is not to say the U.S. exemplifies these virtues.
The builders would be respectful by not building the mosque. It would express an understanding of people's views, a consideration of how they feel and in an attempt to express their concern for what has happened in this country. (I think that this last point is very important. If the Islam does not reach out to the United States in love and forgiveness then there will never be reconciliation.)
I believe that it is unethical for the Muslims to build a mosque in downtown NYC. They would be exemplifying the virtue of respect by not building and the principle of non-maleficence is my argument.