Advancing a Free Society

In its rows about Islam, the U.S. must avoid catching a European disease

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Last Friday, in New York, I discovered a strip club near the site of the planned Islamic centre, described by its opponents as "the mosque at Ground Zero". As pole dancers gyrated with all the sizzling eroticism of a weary Wal-Mart checkout assistant at the end of a long shift, I asked the burly front-of-house man – Scott, from Brooklyn – whether they had faced any protests about this profanation of hallowed ground. Had any Fox News commentators, for example, been beating an angry path to their door? Well, he replied, one or two passers-by had raised objections since the controversy erupted about the Islamic centre. "People are entitled to their opinions," said Scott, but the "New York Dolls" Gentlemen's Club had been here for 30 years and the folks working in it had to make a living.

Continue reading Timothy Garton Ash in The Guardian