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Facts vs. Feelings In the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Debate

I’ll be visiting family in New York for the next few weeks, and I plan to check out the progress at Ground Zero while I’m there — and the proposed site of Cordoba House, a Muslim community center and mosque a few blocks from the fallen towers.

Given the emotional debate over this proposal, I want to see for myself how far removed the site is from the actual Ground Zero, what people who live and work in the neighborhood have to say, and where other mosques and houses of worship are located with respect to the planned memorial. In other words, the facts rather than just the feelings, if those can be separated in this story.


(Full disclosure: I lived in Manhattan on 9/11; my husband saw the planes hit. I don’t have the words to describe the hours and days that followed, at least none as good how Jon Stewart put it on Sept. 20, 2001. But as a seen-a-lot native New Yorker and religion reporter, the concept of a mosque within walking distance of Ground Zero doesn’t automatically appall me the way it upsets Sarah Palin and the other vocal critics from across the country.)

Some links to recent coverage of this controversy:


What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.


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Apuleius Platonicus

posted July 21, 2010 at 10:08 am

On the one hand I believe that freedom of religion is a sacred principle. On the other hand I believe that Islam is the greatest enemy that freedom of religion has in the world today.
The solution is not so complicated. The people of New York City should exercise their civic right to control what gets built where in their City. Of course Muslims should be free to practice their religion. But there is no “freedom” to build Mosques just anywhere under any circumstances.
Also, the people of the United States should exercise our sovereign right to regulate foreign influences on our soil. This means, if we choose to do so as a nation, prohibiting the use of foreign funds to build this Mosque (should the people of NYC not stop it on their own).
More Islam = Less Freedom.

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posted July 22, 2010 at 10:42 am

“But there is no “freedom” to build Mosques just anywhere under any circumstances.”
But we have seen many Christian churches turn to the legal system to contest exactly this concept when zoning laws are used by communities to limit attendance at home prayer meetings or Bible studies. As well, we have seen threats of lawsuits from the likes of the ACLJ and other conservative Christian groups when communities seek to exercise control over the building of churches in their communities.
How do you propose we balance the First Amendment freedoms that so many conservative Christians point to when they wish to build a church or hold a prayer meeting with the concerns you raise about Muslims essentially doing exactly the same thing?

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Apuleius Platonicus

posted July 27, 2010 at 11:17 am

“How do you propose we balance the First Amendment freedoms that so many conservative Christians point to when they wish to build a church or hold a prayer meeting with the concerns you raise about Muslims essentially doing exactly the same thing?”
The “balance” is not nearly as elusive as you seem to think. As the latest “beliefbeat” installment discusses, there is already a Mosque operating at Ground Zero, and no one is calling for it to be closed down. Nor is anyone calling for the other Mosques up and running in NYC to be closed.
Stopping the Ground Zero Mosque will in no way interfere with the right of American Muslims “to profess and by argument to maintain” their chosen religion.
Personally I do think that there should a broad prohibition against foreign funds for the building of Mosques in the US. I also think there should be a moratorium on the exportation of US funds for Christian “missionary” work in the rest of the world. The world has had enough of Christians and Muslims pushing their death-cults. If only there was some way for them to just fight among themselves and leave the rest of us out of it.

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posted August 18, 2010 at 11:13 am

It’s not a Mosque it’s a community center. The media obviously support telling lies. Why don’t they say “People are fighting a community center because they don’t understand the definition of community center.” or how about “This politician is lying once again” Plane and simple BS rules. All this talk is just that,talk.Talk,talk, talk, and no one realizing that it is so full of hypocrisy This is The United States of America and freedom should never,never waver or our country will lose in the end.

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