Some people think that building at the current proposed site could lead to years of cultural warfare. They think this could put the lives of Muslim-Americans at risk. They think this could undercut the vast amount of good the proposed community center could do at some other site.
If those people are right, building at the proposed location might set back the efforts of people like Imam Rauf to continue folding Muslim Americans into the broader American fabric—a very good goal. If they are right in this assessment, why would we want to go ahead with the proposed location?
If you read Stride Toward Freedom, you will see that Dr. King endlessly deferred, on points which weren’t essential, to people who were massively wrong on the larger questions. He repeatedly deferred to leaders of Montgomery’s white community—to the mayor; to the police commissioner; to the bus company; to white business leaders. He deferred on non-essential points, even as he kept pursuing the larger goal of defeating legal segregation and “social oppression.” He didn’t choose to stand and fight every time the other tribe annoyed, offended or opposed him. He didn’t do that because he was a deeply serious person. ...
Dr. King knew that, if you fight every non-essential fight, you will likely lose out in the end, especially if you’re opposing entrenched power. And Dr. King wanted to win. He wasn’t trying to please the rubes by accepting every possible fight.
Thank you, Bob Somersby.