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The Ground Zero mosque must be built

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This is why plans for the mosque near Ground Zero should be allowed to proceed, if that's what these Muslims want. We teach tolerance by being tolerant. We can't insist that our freedom of speech allows us to draw cartoons or produce plays that Muslims find offensive and then demand that they be more sensitive to our feelings.

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More to the point, the tolerance we urge the Muslim world to embrace as we exercise our right to free expression, and revel in the glory and the gift of irreverence, is the same we must embrace when Muslims seek to express themselves peacefully.

Nobody ever said freedom would be easy. We are challenged every day to reconcile what is allowable and what is acceptable. Compromise, though sometimes maddening, is part of the bargain. We let the Ku Klux Klan march, not because we agree with them but because they have a right to display their hideous ignorance.

Ultimately, when sensitivity becomes a cudgel against lawful expressions of speech or religious belief -- or disbelief -- we all lose.

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My Aug. 15 column should have included Thomas Aquinas College, not St. Thomas Aquinas College, among the 16 schools that earned the highest marks in an American Council of Trustees and Alumni survey of 714 institutions' commitment to general education.

kathleenparker@washpost.com


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