Though TIME’s recent poll shows that 61% of Americans object to the building of an Islamic center near Ground Zero, the Wall Street Journal reports that those local to the area don’t see what the big deal is.
The blocks surrounding Ground Zero are home to a wide variety of businesses, including souvenir shops, an Off-Track Betting facility and strip clubs. One woman, Chris, a stripper at the Pussycat Lounge who volunteered in the rescue effort after 9/11, said she doesn’t understand why people object. “You have your synagogues and your churches,” she said. “And you have a mosque. The people who did it are not going to the mosque”
Another stripper, Cassandra who works at New York Dolls, said, “I don’t know what the big deal is. It’s freedom of religion, you know?”
Other New Yorkers report that they take more of an issue with outsiders imposing their beliefs on what should be done in their city—outsiders being non-New Yorkers.
Ali Mohammed, who runs a food cart near Ground Zero, told the Washington Post that he was fed up with people like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin weighing in on the debate. “They got nothing to do with New York and they don’t care about New York,” he said.
So do all New Yorkers feel the same way? Not exactly. The Journal also notes that local construction workers have visibly objected to the center, by wearing protest stickers and signs. (via the Wall Street Journal)