I was recently reading “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” The book’s stories are meant to inspire and motivate not only the reader but to inspire those people the reader comes in contact with.

One inspiration I came away with was, “Can I inspire someone today?” I decided that today I would write this letter. Many people are experiencing negative emotions in regards to the building of a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City.

I wondered, if this was the week before Christmas, would people still have negative feelings toward their fellow human beings who happen to practice another faith, or would they remember that the spirit of Christmas is in forgiving and generosity?

When we forgive, we let go of the bad feelings that we carry around, and it’s time to release the hate from 9/11. Studies show that when adversaries are forced to work together against a common foe, the adversaries will often become friends. The foe in this case is fear and mistrust.

My daughter, who is part Native American, married a wonderful Palestinian man and has accepted Islam as her religion.

During Eid, the Islamic equivalent of Christmas, my wife and I visit my daughter and her family to share in their happiness and accept gifts from them.

For Christmas, my daughter and her family visit us to share in our happiness and accept our gifts to them. accepting each others’ gifts, we acknowledge the generosity and respect for each others religion.

I would be honored, if asked, to be able to place the first cornerstone at the new mosque, and having accomplished that, turn and hand the next person in line a stone.

Jeff Plucker
Topsham 

I am writing regarding the outrageous article you have placed on Page A2 of the Aug. 19 paper titled, “Fact check: Islam already exists at edges of Sept. 11”.

This should be placed with all other personal viewspoints, in the opinion section. This article is very misleading, and it comes from someone who obviously is in favor of placing this mosque near the World Trade Center site.

Reading this article I take away from his argument that the opposition is Republican-created and opponents have no idea what they are talking about. This is a location issue and not a religious freedom issue.

So, Mr. Fact Check,

1. Why not mention that 70 percent of the country and 65 percent of New Yorkers are against the location of the mosque, including Howard Dean and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. That sounds like a lot of Democrats are included.

2. You refer to the imam of the mosque as a “complex man”; he said days after the attacks that America was to blame for them as well as the terrorists who performed them.

3. You have to pass over many mosques in Manhattan to get to this site; why do Muslims need one at this location?

4. Why is the imam not open to meeting with the governor of New York to discuss alternatives to make everyone happy?

5. Two years ago this imam had $18,000 in his account; now he reportedly has $100 million. Where did it come from?

This is really about compassion and sensitivity for those who lost loved ones. It’s obvious this strikes a deep chord with a lot of people in a very negative way, and if Islam is all about peace, then why not come to the table and show some compassion for others?

It is interesting that there is no budging or explanation to why the backers want it at this specific location over more financially viable locations.

Anthony Dill
Scarborough 

I am shocked that Sen. Harry Reid and Howard Dean are encouraging Islamophobia and racism against Muslims, although not surprised that Fox News, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck are doing so.

Reid and Dean should be ashamed of themselves for buckling under about the Muslim community center planned near Ground Zero.

In what way does such a center dishonor those who died on 9/11?

It is wrong to blame Islam for 9/11, and people who don’t know that should do some research on the religion.

Start with books by Karen Armstrong and John Esposito. The discomfort that some feel about such a center should not be honored but questioned; if you feel discomfort because people of a different ethnicity move in next door, should your discomfort be allowed to dictate events?

Reid and Dean aren’t thinking this through, or are looking for public approval. The distinction between the right to build and the wisdom of building is pernicious: It makes Islamophobia acceptable.

The Democratic Party should be denouncing this view in the strongest terms.

Cristina Malcolmson
Portland 

There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the proposed building of an Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero — and there shouldn’t be.

I will never forget the horrific events of 9/11; I cannot get the images of that day out of my mind and think often of the terrorist attacks on the country.

Nevertheless, the country should not prevent the building of the mosque. Islam did not fly those planes into the Twin Towers but a radical, sadistic, monstrous group devoted to Osama bin Laden did.

To condemn all Muslims for the atrocious acts of a group that practiced an evil brand of their religion is simply wrong.

We should be and are supposed to be a country were there is freedom of religion, as guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution, and we cannot forget this.

Anything less, anything else is mimicking that which we are fighting — an intolerant, hateful group.

We must never forget what happened and who orchestrated the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But, more importantly, we must never forget who we are supposed to be as a country and what we are supposed to stand for as a people.

Inside the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and on that lonely field in Pennsylvania that day were mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, Christians and Jews, and, don’t forget, Muslims (and, no, I don’t mean the hijackers).

We, as a country, must stand up for what is right. Shall we allow ourselves to be swallowed up by hatred, anger and prejudice or shall we set an example of tolerance and an enlarged policy of liberty?

Don’t forget, the eyes of all people are upon us.

Lynn Sullivan
South Freeport

After reading an M.D. Harmon viewpoint, I’m always left wondering which is more broken — his analytical skills or his value system.

In his piece on the New York City Muslim community center, he claims the political symbolism of the issue is its most important point.

So apparently, people hovering ominously over the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment wasn’t enough for him.

He calls people back from that abyss, only to encourage them to look askance at the Free Speech clause.

Unfortunately, with respect to positive symbolism, it is now too late.

The disgusting (though constitutionally protected) response of major players in the Republican Party has already handed extremists a symbolic victory.

If the American people reward this disgusting behavior in November, we will have handed extremists their best recruitment campaign since our choice to start the second Iraq War.

Going forward, any “voluntary”‘ decision to move this Muslim equivalent of a YMCA would be another extremist victory.

The symbolic victory we could have won would have been a loud, bipartisan, unified call “to show not merely tolerance, but respect towards those who are different from us” as President Obama did in his Iftar address.

Kenneth O’Brien
Gorham

To read the Aug. 20 headlines about the fears surrounding the mosque near Ground Zero and “anchor babies,” you would think that the founding fathers did not know what they were doing, when in fact they knew exactly what they were doing, keeping us from harming ourselves.

Fear is a thief in the night and steals before we know what’s missing. If we don’t take a breath and really look at what we are talking about, worrying about where someone worships or who is a legal citizen will be the least of our worries.

Today’s zealots seem to have a loud voice and a TV channel where they pump the fear 24 hours a day. They seem to be pushed more to the right day by day. I hope a voice of reason and sanity can be heard above all the yelling and realize a more perfect union is to be really free and live as we choose.

It is not to let the person with the loudest megaphone decide for us how free we shall be.

Tim Kennedy
Brunswick

K’Port historical society needs support from public 

Rather than resign ourselves to a Kennebunkport Historical Society without the Nott House (and perhaps without the Pasco Center, as well, if this current board gets its way), we write as long-time Kennebunkport Historical Society volunteers (58 years among us) in favor of saving the society and all its treasures, including the Nott House.

For the first 26 years of the time since 1982 that the society has owned the Nott House, the KHS board was able and willing to raise the necessary funds to maintain the society and its holdings without having to deplete its endowment.

The Nott House is the only antique home open to the public in northern New England that still has all of its original furnishings and fixtures, as well as 33 volumes of Nott House family daily diaries written over three generations, outlining their lives in this magnificent home.

We still believe that the Kennebunkport community will support our programs and fundraisers to fulfill our mission of saving the ‘Port’s history.

In the future, our vision is to have the society sponsor an antique show, a jazz dinner, a fashion show, a golf tournament and both music and a plant symposium in the Nott House garden.

These events would provide fun, social activities and raise needed funds. To enhance the history of the ‘Port for members, visitors and children, we plan antique craft demonstrations and an exhibit on shipbuilding.

The society needs you! Please renew your membership, or join our society, so that you can vote to save both the society and our Nott House at the Kennebunkport Historical Society annual meeting on Oct. 14 at the Townhouse School on North Street.

We hope that all society members will join us in voting to not just save the society and the Nott House, but also to save the very history of this unique town for all of us and for future generations.

Sandy Severance
and other past presidents, past officers
and past board members
of the Kennebunkport Historical Society

Kennebunkport