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Debate Continues on NYC’s 9/11 Bus Ads Against ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Here’s the clip of my appearance on Fox & Friends this morning, briefly discussing why I think the 9/11 NYC bus ads against Park51 (formerly called Cordoba House, inaccurately smeared as the “Ground Zero Mosque”) are bad advertising at best, grossly offensive at worst. They had me debating Pamela Geller, of Stop Islamization of America.

The segment is far too short for either of us to have explained our positions fully, and they got my job wrong, but here you go:

 

Just a bit of TV news glamour a few hours before I head to Seattle with baby and beagle. Check back tomorrow for my attempt to catch up on some interesting religion headlines from the past two days, including the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the dropped Kentucky clergy sex abuse lawsuit against the Vatican.

Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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Ibrahim

posted August 11, 2010 at 12:38 pm


Great work.
BTW, odd for Pamela Geller to reference the clan. Here’s a quote of hers that is accessible through the website she advertises on the bus ad:
“it’s the Muslims who are dragging the rest of the world with them, in their genocidal dreams of annihilating goodness, creativity, production, inventiveness, benevolence, charity, medicine, technology, and all of the gifts of the Jews. Our goodness makes them ill.” – Pamela Geller,
She reflects the attitude, and the rhetorical gaming, of every major hate movement in history.



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Apuleius Platonicus

posted August 11, 2010 at 12:56 pm


Please believe me when I say that I would much much much prefer to agree with you than with the likes of Pamela Geller. But the Ground Zero Mosque is a lousy idea, and the bus ads raise a very reasonable question.
I think your beliefbeat column is great Nichole, and even though I disagree with your position on this one, I’m glad you got the spot on FOX.
And “Ground Zero Mosque” is not a smear, btw. It is a mosque and that is what it has been called from the beginning by the people who have planned it and those who support it. And the location was selected precisely because of its very close proximity to Ground Zero.



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Apuleius Platonicus

posted August 11, 2010 at 12:58 pm


(oops – should’ve been “nicole” not “nichole”. eep.)



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Nicole Neroulias

posted August 11, 2010 at 1:39 pm


I respect your opinion, Apuleius Platonicus. But the trouble I have with the opposition to this project is twofold:
1) Park51, formerly known as Cordoba House, has every right to be built in Tribeca, based on American constitutional protections and also the support the proposal received from the city (community board, people who live and work in the neighborhood, the mayor’s office, etc.).
2) Let’s suppose the developers decide to move this project, in light of all the emotional opposition it has generated. Where would be OK? Five more blocks away? Ten more blocks away? Nowhere? And who gets to decide? Where does it end? Will people also be chiming in to object to other developments in the neighborhood, if not at the actual WTC site when it opens? (No Victoria’s Secret store allowed, for example?)
Also, I do think the term “Ground Zero Mosque” is being used as a smear in this case. We don’t call the McDonald’s in that neighborhood the Ground Zero McDonald’s, and I wouldn’t call a 13-story building with a church inside (among other facilities) a cathedral.
What do you think?



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Atikva

posted August 11, 2010 at 4:15 pm


“Hey, maybe one of these 9/11 images will pull up next to one of the buses with the “Leaving Islam?” ads on it. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?”
No, Ms. Neroulias, what would really be a hoot would be to see how you would fare living as a woman under sharia law in one of those wonderful countries practicing this harmless religion of peace that you support so strongly, maybe Afghanistan or Pakistan.



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Robert C

posted August 11, 2010 at 4:32 pm


Sorry Nicole, but she made her points more effectively than you did.
Interesting new development. Greg Gutfield has just announced that he is developing the property next door to the proposed mosque to be an Islamic friendly gay bar as outreach to the Islamic community. Great idea. The proposed names for the bar include; Umeccamecrazy, Ramadamn, Suspicious Packages, and TurbanCowboy among others. (insert chuckles) Let’s see how far tolerance goes.



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MariafromNM

posted August 11, 2010 at 5:01 pm


Sorry Nicole by bot speaking up against terrorism the Islamic community has make a profound statement. I do not live in NY but I know I would not want a mosque were I live because I no longer believe this is a faith but a culture of death…death by emotion, by verbal, by physical assault on their women and by blindly thinking that by blowing up those that do not think and practice as they do that they are on the fast track to 72 virgins. Not to mention they they just plain hate western civilization. Why be here in America…it seems that their only vision is to overtake and destroy…read their centuries of history, nothing changes with them.



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Apuleius Platonicus

posted August 11, 2010 at 5:07 pm


If I believed that Feisal Abdul Rauf, Daisy Khan, etc, were reliable allies against Islamic extremism then I would personally have no objections to them building a mosque anywhere they please.
But since I do not believe that they are any such thing I am not supportive of them building anything anywhere.
In fact, I think that Americans should oppose all mosques unless it can be shown that these mosques have no ties to extremists (including especially all Wahhabi trained imams), have complete transparency in their funding (especially foreign funding), and that they will not be used to promote the introduction of Sharia Law into the United States.
Taking this kind of position is the only responsible way to act in light of what Daisy Khan herself acknowledges: that Islam has been “hijacked by the extremists.”
The Constitution does not protect the “right” of Saudi Wahhabists to spread their doctrines here in the US, nor does it protect the “right” of foreigners to build mosques or anything else on US soil, and the Constitution expressly precludes any kind of parallel legal system in the US, and especially one based on religion (any religion), such as Sharia.
I don’t just apply these kinds of considerations to Islam, btw. I also think that money that flows out of the US in the name of supporting Christian “missionaries” should be subjected to close scrutiny. This is especially the case for the most extremist and intolerant forms of Christianity. I have no more enthusiasm for Christian Dominionism than I do for Islamic Sharia. Which is why I have no time for people like Geller and Gingrich, who are in bed with the Christian fundamentalists who are just as bad as their Islamic counterparts.



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Defiance

posted August 11, 2010 at 8:22 pm


It seems this commentator is unaware of the significance to western civilization of the former name Cordoba House. Cordoba was a city taken over in the Caliphate of Andalusia in the 7th Century, modern day Spain. The Christians there were put to the sword after it’s conquest, and a Mosque built on the foundation of the City’s Cathedral. The name was not an accident, it’s very name of mighty significance, and your ignorance on extraordinary display. Have a great day.



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pagansister

posted August 11, 2010 at 9:08 pm


Guess this is where the USA stops being a country that allows freedom of religion, and starts telling all faiths where they can build their houses of worship. If this Mosque (NOT ON GROUND ZERO, BTW) is prevented from being built, that sets a first time for a city, town, county etc. to be able to say, since we don’t like Catholics, Jews, any number of Protestants, Mormons,etc., you aren’t going to be able to build your Synagogue, Temple, Church, etc, in our neighborhood. After that comes telling people just what they are supposed to believe, what the national religion is, as in some other countries that dictate that kind of thing. As hard as it is for some to believe, every Muslim in the world isn’t out to get us. Should we be careful, certainly, but paranoid? No.



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nnmns

posted August 11, 2010 at 9:20 pm


Even GWB knew it would be stupid and self-defeating to get into a war with the Muslim world. No one could win a war like that and everyone would suffer from it.
Currently most Muslims in the world don’t hate the US, they don’t even think about it. (And lots, perhaps most of them don’t live under sharia and I’d guess don’t want to.) They just go about their days like we do. How might we change that so they hate us and want to hurt us? How about claiming they are evil, their religion is evil and not letting them build any mosques?
Now you might think “Nobody is that stupid!” but in fact people that stupid are showing up right here. There are people posting on here who seem to want to get us into a war with Islam! Of course mostly it won’t be their sons and daughters dying, but they will suffer when we can’t get oil and minerals from places we used to. As will we all.
I have to wonder, why do these people hate America?



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Alicia

posted August 12, 2010 at 10:28 am


Great job, Nicole!
Defiance, Christopher Hitchens, no defender of radical Islam, had this to say about the choice of “Cordoba” as name for this planned mosque:
“I notice that even the choice of the name Cordoba has offended some Christian opponents of the scheme. This wonderful city in Andalusia, after the Muslim conquest of southern Spain, was indeed one of the centers of the lost Islamic caliphate that today’s jihadists have sworn in blood to restore. And after the Catholic reconquista, it was also one of the places purged of all Arab and Jewish influence by the founders of the Inquisition.
But in the interval between these two imperialisms it was also the site of an astonishing cultural synthesis, best associated with the names of Averroes ibn-Rushd and Moses Maimonides. (The finest recent book on the subject is María Rosa Menocal’s The Ornament of the World.) Here was a flourishing of philosophy and medicine and architecture that saw, among other things, the recovery of the works of Aristotle.”



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Alicia

posted August 12, 2010 at 10:35 am


And here is a link to an excellent article on “Cordoba” responding to Newt Gingrich’s distortions about the history of Moorish Spain:
http://gotmedieval.blogspot.com/2010/08/professor-newts-distorted-history.html



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Alicia

posted August 12, 2010 at 11:06 am


I’m a supporter of building Cordoba House at the proposed site, but fears of radical mosques are often legitimate. Today’s SLATE links to this excellent Foreign Policy article on the real 9/11 mosque (the one that helped radicalize Mohammed Atta) that shows what can happen when a mosque goes very wrong:
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/08/10/life_and_death_of_a_radical_mosque
Clearly, American Muslims need to address these legitimate fears, and not simply fall back on charges of Islamophobia when people raise questions about Cordoba House or other planned mosques.



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Joe Jericho

posted August 12, 2010 at 12:37 pm


Before you guys jump into Constitutional rights and kumbaya feelings, you might want to consider a) the feelings of New Yorkers, b) the actions and associations of this Imam, and c) the funding sources of this mosque. Until those issues are explored in greater depth, particularly b) and c), I refuse to condemn, in the name of generalized religious freedom, those who are showing reservations and criticisms of this project.



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Robert C

posted August 12, 2010 at 1:11 pm


I continue to be amazed that many of the same voices who rail against traditional christianity,the Catholic Church or Judaism seem to get all warm and fuzzy and very ecumenical when it comes to Islam. I suggest a year of living dangerously in residence in one of the choice locales subject to sharia law might be further endearing.



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Alicia

posted August 12, 2010 at 2:08 pm


There is also this article on the Daily Beast from liberal Muslim writer Asra Q. Nomani, about the war within Islam for the soul of the religion. She both questions the Cordoba House mosque and is a friend of the Cordoba Initiative’s Imam Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-08-10/why-muslims-like-me-agree-with-the-tea-party-activists
This is not a simple issue, and those who support building Cordoba House are not necessarily doing so thoughtlessly, or in a spirit of vapid feel-good ecumenicism. Indeed, though I hate the phrase, this may be a teachable moment for Americans, Muslims and non-Muslims included. But, we shouldn’t allow the loudest voices of opposition (or support) to drown out rational debate.



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AbramsJJ

posted August 12, 2010 at 6:20 pm


I am happy to see that you are not afraid of Pamela Geller. I am concerned that she is provoking a religious war in this country which may result in fatalities. This kind of stuff happens in the Third World Countries all the time even with their leaders blessing.



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Robert C

posted August 13, 2010 at 10:23 am

William A. Noble

posted August 13, 2010 at 11:33 am


Seems that they who desire to build the mosque at this particular location would be well advised to rethink and, perhaps, decide to build the mosque elsewhere. From what most of us can tell, associated problems with building the mosque at the now chosen location might through time cause a never-ending nightmare of troubles. When the entire population of the US comes into play in what might happen through time, problems never-ending, like unto a cancer, might cause a most undesirable stressful uncertainty at times among those using the mosque. Above all, think of the chances that there might be crazies who would desire nothing less than to severely damage the mosque!



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Nicole Neroulias

posted August 13, 2010 at 12:29 pm


I see your point, William A. Noble. The trouble is, where would be an acceptable alternative location? No one seems to agree on what constitutes an “appropriate” distance from Ground Zero. Also, people are protesting mosques all over the country, so Muslims have every reason to believe that moving to a different location wouldn’t stop the outrage here. (For an interesting comparison to how Jews were once unable to build synagogues in America, check out Jonathan Sarna’s piece in The Forward — http://www.forward.com/articles/129998/)
I’m also still wondering where we draw the line at judging what kinds of facilities are permitted in and around Ground Zero? For people who live and work in lower Manhattan, it’s not just sacred ground — it’s where they live and work, especially once you start getting outside the actual Ground Zero confines. (A 5-block radius encompasses thousands of apartments, offices, eateries, movie theaters, hotel rooms, stores, etc.) I think it’s up to them to decide what goes up in their neighborhood, if not in the actual 1 WTC skyscraper (formerly called the Freedom Tower), which is supposed to include a range of retail and office space, as did its fallen predecessors.
Incidentally, I’m sure there are going to be Muslims working in that WTC skyscraper when it’s finished. Are we going to tell them they can’t pray there?



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Robert C

posted August 13, 2010 at 4:11 pm


From what I understand, the site in question, the old Burlington Coat Factory, was the site where a part of one of the planes actually crashed landed into. That makes the whole arguement mute in my mind.



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Alicia

posted August 13, 2010 at 5:32 pm


Steve Benen responds to Krauthammer’s editorial:
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_08/025191.php



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Robert c

posted August 13, 2010 at 7:28 pm


He’d like to believe he debunked Krauthammer But he really didn’t. If the article wasn’t so on point, he never would have felt the need to pen a rebuttal.



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