Tue, May 25, 2010 8:50 AM EDT

mosque.jpgNearly nine years after the Twin Towers collapsed, Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan is still smoldering. The public response to a proposal to build an Islamic center near the site has reignited the embers of anti-Muslim animosity. The right-wing blogosphere was apoplectic about plans to create a Muslim-oriented community center two blocks from the World Trade Center site. The Cordoba House, a project of the American Society for Muslim Advancement and the Cordoba Initiative, which work to improve interfaith and community relations, would offer a prayer space alongside other public amenities like a performing arts center and fitness facilities. In an otherwise uncontroversial development plan, the political subtext is straightforward: any symbol of Islam is an affront to the victims of 9/11 and American values. Cue the wingnuts.