(This one is work safe)
Talking of which, here are the opening and closing words to James Naughtie’s report for the Today programme on Tuesday:
Naughtie: New York, Ground Zero around the corner. I’m standing on the site of a planned Islamic centre with a mosque, a proposal that’s turned into an angry national debate here and acted as a proxy for the wider culture war between President Obama and liberal opinion on the one hand, arguing that America stands for religious freedom, and the conservative Right on the other, saying that a mosque would be provocative, offensive and wrong.
Naughtie: Which leaves the writer Sam Lipsyte looking out to America from New York, wondering what on earth he can do, and dreaming.
Lipsyte: Sure, is there [sic] a lot of tittering and grousing and sort of blanket dismissal that there could be anything but hate in the Tea Party, and I gotta say that what, y’know, their presentation lends itself to that conclusion. And at my most despairing moments I too have that sense of why can’t New York just be its own country.
Judging by the latest poll for the New York Times, Lipsyte’s dream utopia could only be realised if they deported more than half the people (via Newsbusters):
Two-thirds of New York City residents want a planned Muslim community center and mosque to be relocated to a less controversial site farther away from ground zero in Lower Manhattan, including many who describe themselves as supporters of the project, according to a New York Times poll…
Over all, 50 percent of those surveyed oppose building the project two blocks north of the World Trade Center site, even though a majority believe that the developers have the right to do so. Thirty-five percent favor it.
Opposition is more intense in the boroughs outside Manhattan — for example, 54 percent in the Bronx — but it is even strong in Manhattan, considered a bastion of religious tolerance, where 41 percent are against it.
And yet BBC correspondents such as Naughtie, and Hilary Andersson, prefer to give the impression that such opposition is the sole preserve of a scary, reactionary right-wing Tea Party movement.