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Muslims at ground zero now

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This editorial by Dale McFeatters appeared recently on Scripps Howard News Service

Muslims pray five times daily at ground zero. On Fridays, their holy day, an imam comes in to preach. Attendance is heavier than usual now because it is Ramadan.

Unlike the proposed Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan, which is two blocks away and out of sight of where the World Trade Center once stood, the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial Chapel is really at ground zero.

It's almost exactly at the spot where American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon almost nine years ago, killing 125 people in the building and another 59 aboard the aircraft. A plaque in the chapel lists the victims' names. The windows look out over the trees and curved benches of the public memorial outside.

There are a relative handful of Muslims in the military, the number being at least 3,500. But the military takes care of its own.

Nine faiths are allotted special times in the chapel. Since the chapel was dedicated in November 2002, the Pentagon says no one has complained about Muslims praying there.

Unlike the protesters in New York determined to drive out the planned Muslim community center, the U.S. military takes freedom of religion seriously.