So the issue with NYC is different. It's not the fact that they want to build a religious institution rather it is where they want to build it and what religion this building will represent. It will represent the religion that several well-educated men died for when they murdered thousands of people on 9/11. People don't want a mosque to be build near the site of the Twin Towers because they believe that it will be defamation to that site. So they want the government to prohibit it.
Now, if the government prohibits building this mosque, they will be breaking the constitution so they can't prohibit the building of a mosque based on its religion. Anyone who argues that the government should prohibit a mosque being built in NYC needs to rethink their argument. The government simply cannot do that. Mayor Michael Bloomberg sums it up nicely:
“The simple fact is, this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship, and the government has no right whatsoever to deny that right. And if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution."Another Argument
A better argument I have heard for denying the right to build a mosque in NYC is that it creates a national security issue. Yet, I don't know what the basis for this is. The closest piece of evidence I can find in the 10 minutes of research I have committed to this project is that the leader of the project to build the mosque is Feisal Abdul Rauf. He is a moderate Muslim who is attempting to bridge peace between the West and Islam. Yet, he doesn't thing HAMAS is a terrorist group. He condemned 9/11. Yet, he said that the United States had this "crime" coming to her since we have done a poor job in our relation with the Islamic world.
This doesn't make Feisal Abdul Rauf a terrorist. Rather, he views HAMAS differently then the U.S. government and sees that the crime of 9/11 is a consequence of our behavior with Islam. This does not mean he is a terrorist or has connections with terrorists.
Besides lacking evidence, this argument also lacks coherency. How will building a mosque be a threat in NYC? That doesn't make very much sense to me. Why would a terrorist organization use a mosque as a base of operation when any building will do? Furthermore, using a mosque only puts them in a more prominent position, the opposite of what you want to do when you're attempting to avoid detection.
Lastly, the United States has had poor relationships with Islam. Will allowing the building of the mosque improve relationships? Possibly, but not allowing it to be built will certainly hurt it.
The United State government cannot prohibit the building of a mosque in downtown Manhatten because it would be breaching the constitution. Arguing that building a mosque would present a national security risk lacks evidence to support its claim and lacks coherency.