City of Brass

City of Brass


what mosque at Ground Zero? why all Americans have a stake in Cordoba House

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

When we speak of national tragedies like 9-11, we often focus on the word “tragedy” and neglect the word “national”. The measure of a national tragedy is how it affects everyone in the nation, often in different ways. For the muslim-American community, the impact was to wrench our attention away from our pressing issues: social justice, cultural preservation, and religious freedom. Instead, we became more focused on terrorism and defining ourselves as a community that was non-threatening and assimilative, spending enormous amounts of energy explaining to people who fundamentally did not care that we condemned hirabah, that we are classic immigrants in search of the American Dream, etc. We have been playing defensive on words like jihad, dhimmi, and shari’a – all words that have a genuine meaning and context, but which have become part of the political discourse and thus rendered as malleable and useless as “conservative” or “liberal”.

And what have 9 years of these efforts brought? The muslim smear against Obama was the first clue – not only it’s existence, but the fact that Obama himself never could bring himself to go beyond “I am not muslim” and say “and so what if I was?” The reason why is simple: Obama made the political calculation that the second part would hurt him too much – and he was probably right.

Which brings us to Cordoba House. This is a planned community center in Manhattan, would not be located “at Ground Zero” but several blocks away, further away than a strip club or a pornography shop. The project would bring a swimming pool, 500-seat auditorium, retail shops and more, greatly benefiting the local neighborhood. And yes, there would be a muslim prayer space. This is exactly the kind of thing that Anwar al Awlaki and Osama bin Laden most fear – muslims in America rejecting their call to jihad and instead embracing their identity as citizens of America and embracing their civic responsibilities to better themselves and their non-muslim neighbors. And in doing so, wage a true, effective jihad against terrorism.

The reaction to this has been utterly insane and hysterical. Protestors against Cordoba House picketed at Ground Zero and a public meetings intended as Q&A and engagement sessions was hijacked by islamophobes screaming epithets. In Houston, former city councilman Michael Berry even suggested that if Cordoba House was built, it should be bombed. The anti-muslim fervor has even spread beyond Manhattan, with protests against a project to convert an empty convent to a mosque on Staten Island, and nationwide an estimated 18 mosque projects have run into fierce opposition, with fears of terrorism being cited as a major concern.

(Let’s reiterate here that Cordoba House is not a mosque but a community center that would be open to people of all faiths. There would be a private area for muslim prayer set aside, but the majority of the complex would be for general community usage)

Let’s also remember that when South Park lampooned the Prophet Mohammed SAW, all muslim Americans with the exception of two idiots on a website accepted it as freedom of speech. Yes, we were insulted, and the cartoon was a “spit in our eye”. The right of South Park to depict the Prophet SAW was never an issue for us, however. For the same reason, the existence of Cordoba House may well be an unintentional insult to some, but freedom of religion is the higher principle here.

I will not budge in my belief that the fear and paranoia are not representative of the mainstream American mindset towards Islam. Local Christian and Jewish organizations have solidly supported the muslim American community in New York, as have the city’s business community and political leadership. The loudest voices are always a minority, but they do wield disproportionate impact over policy and contribute to an atmosphere of intellectual and religious persecution. Just as our Jewish cousins have done, we must be vigilant against any erosion of our community’s freedom of faith, and loudly and vigorously defend and rebut the notion that there is any inherent conflict between being muslim and being American. It falls to us to stand firm and be confident in our convictions that we are just like everyone else.

Related: great essays at Change.org and at altmuslim about why Cordoba House is an expression of American values, and a blow against the jihadists. I urge everyone, muslims and non-muslims alike, to join the Support Cordoba House page on Facebook.



  • AngelElf

    Having a Muslim presence in the heart of Ground Zero is the ultimate in poor taste. This is a thumb in the eye and a slap in the face of America, and a step in the Muslim’s 100 year plan of takeover of the West. Cordoba was the capital of an Islamic caliphate during the Moorish occupation of Spain. The symbolism of this should not go unnoticed.

  • Chauncey

    The last I checked the Bill of Rights was still in effect (although getting severely battered). How far away from Ground Zero is appropriate? 1 mile? 10 miles? Should an Islamic person, American or not, never go near the World Trade Center site? Is the use of extreme hyperbole the best way to fight extremist fanaticism?
    The symbolism of not allowing people to exercise their rights in a reasonable way under our Constitution should also not go unnoticed.

  • aziz is a fool

    Have any of you ever wondered if the reason we have yet to detect other intelligent life in this universe is because it’s in the nature of intelligent life to self destruct?
    Now think of the middle east:
    1. Support for genocide (Iran against Israel).
    2. Support for terrorism (every country except Turkey).
    3. Seeking nuclear weapons in violation of the non-proliferation treaty (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria).
    4. Intolerance bred into their children via lies and half truths (all except perhaps Turkey).
    5. Breeding like rabbits.
    Sometimes I think the best thing that could happen for this world is for the entire middle east to be destroyed, and for all religious people to be killed. Then perhaps humanity could survive.

  • klm

    with all due respect anything resembling or pertaining to Islam so close to the wtc cite is not a good idea. Whatever the intentions its hurtful and insulting to a great many Americans. I also noticed the symbolism of the name. why can’t the planners of this building just build it further uptown. If they were sincere they would know the pain they are causing. For many this proves the lack of sincerity. The idea of this community center is a good one just not so close.

  • Mukhtar Farid

    Quote:
    “Have any of you ever wondered if the reason we have yet to detect other intelligent life in this universe is because it’s in the nature of intelligent life to self destruct?
    Now think of the middle east:
    1. Support for genocide (Iran against Israel).
    2. Support for terrorism (every country except Turkey).
    3. Seeking nuclear weapons in violation of the non-proliferation treaty (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria).
    4. Intolerance bred into their children via lies and half truths (all except perhaps Turkey).
    5. Breeding like rabbits.
    Sometimes I think the best thing that could happen for this world is for the entire middle east to be destroyed, and for all religious people to be killed. Then perhaps humanity could survive.”
    Let me first tell you that none of the religions of the world support or justify violence and/or terrorism.All religions in my opinion was originally from God with most of them manipulated and modified other than Islam itself.The problem with Islamic scripture was the exact meaning of the surah’s and the context.The scriptures unlike the Bible or the Torah is very subtle and confusing to the uneducated and biased people.But naturally by saying this, I am not suggesting that the other religions are wrong in their message or intent, but however vexing Islam may seem , it is the only pragmatic religion of this world , in my opinion.But in Quran it is mentioned people will go to heaven regardless of their religion as long as they are good hearted.
    In other words good heartedness corresponds to communal harmony and biased free tolerance.My intention was not to insult any religion but rather focus on peace and tolerance.Now regarding this Cordoba house, I unequivoically agree with Aziz that if you are truly a good person , you will allow muslims to have their prayer space just like we would allow you freely to practice your religion and not force you to accept our religion.
    Regarding the religious people to be killed let me just quote a famous proverb known by all the wise and intellectual people:
    “Belief in God is the start of wisdom”.
    Amin(Amen),
    Mukhtar Farid
    Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/cityofbrass/2010/07/why-all-muslim-americans-have.html#ixzz0sxCGOp4o

  • Hitch

    I’m fine with the house. I think we have exactly the same stake in its success as restoring that the Metropolitan Museum of Art can again show historical depictions of Muhammad, people can engage in criticism and art without fear. However I do not see broad calls to restore the historic collection to display as a matter for all Americans, Muslims or not.
    But it does seem weird that the bargains are a tad lopsided. Smiling stick figures are completely offensive and swastika-like. That was ridiculous but many attacked in in exactly that terms.
    The mosque is fine, and it’s also being attacked by false appeals to emotions AND supported by appeals to emotion.
    The problem is still that the “my side needs to get its way” persists, and that the deeper problems are often still not addressed. Will the cordoba house help us get out of a culture of hypersensitivity, fear and intimidation? Out of a drive for blasphemy laws and restricted expression?
    It should, because the reason why we should be for it is exactly so we can all each organize our lives the way it works for us. But sadly too often we forget that this should be a multi-lane street.
    I think we need to get back to a saner place where it’s indeed a free, open, pluralistic society, where we are free to build places of worship and assembly and free to express, even if we can find some reasons to object to it, like it offending some of our sentiments.
    What are the chances for us to get that?

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Kevin D.

    To ‘aziz is a fool:’
    First, real heroic of you to not even use your real name when attacking someone you disagree with. Nothing says, “I’m a person to take seriously,” like hiding behind a your mom’s dress.
    Second, to quote someone far more thoughtful than yourself:
    “If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?”
    - Benjamin Franklin to Thomas Paine

  • my real name is irrelevant

    “First, real heroic of you to not even use your real name” said “Kevin D”. Am I the only one who gets a laugh from this?
    Your Franklin quote is actually a very good point, perhaps humanity’s DNA must be rewritten if we are to survive.
    Mukhtar, your explanation was enjoyable, however your final line of “Belief in God is the start of wisdom” is something I reject. Instead, I say believe in logic and studying history is the start of wisdom. I reject superstition, and thus most of religion.

  • Saadaya

    Islam has too much anti-American rhetoric and the imams are usually very political. It is NOT neutral. There are many ideological currents in Islam that are profoundly anti-American. This is why it makes so many people angry in this country.
    GOD is the reason for 9/11: the act of war was done as a sacrifice to god. Therefore, I don’t feel that god should be welcome there. People need to begin saying NO to religion in unequivocal terms if we want peace and freedom in the world.
    If they MUST build a temple, Why not build a Buddhist temple? Buddhists have never murdered innocent citizens, American or otherwise, in the name of their religion. Buddhism is the true religion of peace. Why not build a Buddhist temple, if we want to dignify the wtc ground with religious symbols? I don’t believe that that would be an affront as insulting to Americans as a mosque …

  • Joseph C Moore Cpo USN Ret

    I must agree that all Muslim’s are not fundamentalists, just as all Christians are not fundamentalists. However, even fundamentalists are of a divided group in how closely they adhere to the written word as interpreted. Fundamentalists and Orthodox (Jews) are close knit and separatist from the general Secular community. This does not mean they are all terrorist minded (even if some are). The Quran is quite specific as to conversion or destroying, but again, not every Muslim is strict in their observation of this command to Jihad, and most would prefer to live in brotherhood with their fellow man. After all, Jews, Muslims and Christians all trace their heritage back to the same biblical figures (ie: Abraham, et al). Shalom………..

  • http://muslimbuddhist.blogspot.com TR

    “AngelElf” ought to change his or her nom de web to “Demondwarf” considering the content of his or her message.
    Cordoba was the capital of the most tolerant regime in the world for its time. It protected both Jews and Christians until the Muslims were thrown out by the Christians, who killed and tortured Muslims and Jews who didn’t flee to the Muslim world. It’s a perfect name for a Muslim center advocating tolerance.
    As a Buddhist, I’d be very happy if Saadaya was correct when he said “Buddhists have never murdered innocent citizens, American or otherwise, in the name of their religion.” Unfortunately, Zen Buddhist Monks and Priests trained and blessed the Japanese Kamikazee pilots in World War II, who were Buddhist suicide bombers. If you tell someone who still remembers World War II that you’re a Buddhist, they’ll often talk about the “Bad Buddhists” who tried to destroy America. I don’t feel the need to apologize for those Zen buddhists, however, and I think it is equally unfair to say things like “Islam has too much anti-American rhetoric” when you mean “Some Muslims use too much anti-American rhetoric”. Is it really so hard to understand the principle that people should only be blamed for the things they actually do?
    muslimbuddhist.blogspot.com

  • hiba

    I support a Mosque being built a Ground Zero. Anything that helps the city or community.

  • cindy

    What role does sensitivity play here? While I appreciate the efforts of the author to defend the construction of Cordoba House, my gut reaction is why not compromise on the site and build it in a place that will not inflame those who still have horrible memories of lost loved ones?
    One has two choices when confronted with a situation like this. Ignore the objections of those who were hurt on 9/11 and build anyway, or be the “bigger” party and locate it somewhere else out of compassion for those who have suffered.
    Muslims would do far more to prove their religion is one of peace and sensitivity by choosing the latter option.

  • Beej

    I think they should build the center. With a center people are more exposed to Islam and they’ll realize “Hey, they’re not all crazies looking to kill us.” Thats what terrorists don’t want. They want us angry and suspicious and lashing out at Muslims who go about their lives quietly, pay their taxes and buying Big Gulps at 7-11. Men like Bin Laden know that people who are generally content, have a job and family are a lot harder to recruit. Of course there are always nuts about there, some blow up buildings, some chop up their neighbors and turn them into finger foods and some form murderous orgiastic cults.
    Blocking the site only helps Bin Laden. I realize there are people who lost family in 9-11 and this topic is very rare. But we have to look ahead and think, not react. Stuff like this counts in a hearts and minds war with mad men like Bin Laden.

  • Frances

    This is a fine piece. I want to compliment the writer and add just a few notes of my own, even though they don’t directly engage the community center matter.
    I was in Arizona at the time of 9/11, and some yahoos there shot and killed a Sikh gas station owner because of their hate and ignorance. At least as late as the last century, some people clung to the belief that Jews sacrificed stolen Christian babies. We all know about the holocaust, even the deniers, and into this century I’ve personally been harassed and abused because of my own Catholicism. Sometimes by fellow Catholics because I’m not conservative enough to suit them. Far from it!
    My point is that there’s enough blame to go around for everybody. Each and every person on God’s green earth needs to hit the reset button already.
    There was an interesting segment on tv recently that dealt with the problems of a muslim U.S. soldier who faces fierce discrimination and hatred even though most of his fellows say he’s the best soldier they ever knew or heard of. He was also saying that being an American soldier is the only thing he’s ever wanted to do, but now he might be forced out. If anyone knows his current status, I’d appreciate being told.
    People who have nothing better to do than run around vomiting hate are NOT “real” Americans in my book. They’re just a bunch of lunatics equally responsible for innocent people caught up in the bloodshed they themselves helped initiate.

  • starrywisdom12

    I’ve read the comments on the NY Islamic center, and you’re probably all right. A few thoughts, though.
    Can’t it be built farther away, or in another borough? That won’t stop the objections of some people, but it might help.
    The problem, though, isn’t American muslims, but foreign ones. Hate to start a new controversy, but our problems is ARABS! We get along with the most populous Muslim nation Indonesia, as well as most African nations with muslim populations.(Al Qaeda, the “defender” of Islam, set a bomb in Tanzania.) There are some problems with other places caused by the wars (some of it understandable anger, some caused by biased and misleading coverage by Arab newsmedia.) And , of course, ther’s the problem with the Persians in Iran. Bur pretty much, we get along with NON-Arab Muslims! Unfortunately, they’re the ones who run the religion!
    If American Catholics condemned the priest scandals, but the Vatican excused it, you would wonder whether “the Church” was really opposed. But you have American Muslims condemning violence, and Arab Islamic officials not only excusing violence, but advocating it! Does “Islam” oppose violence if the people who run it support it?
    It’s not an exclusively Muslim problem , though. if Christians can make war in the name of the Prince of Peace, Muslims can create cruelty and terrorism in the name of “Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate.” Religion isn’t a reason for evil. It’s merely an excuse! Believers, follow the precepts in your scriptures! Most agree.

  • Caesar

    OMG… what started out as a forum for an interesting discussion re Cordoba House is mutating into platform for sheer racism to be espoused. So it’s all ARABS that are the problem? And oh, yeah, apparently all Persians? But at least Indonesians are “safe”, and one must congratulate the writer for having done such a thorough poll among 243 some million Indonensians to be able to confidently stae the position! I don’t know 243 Indonesians, let alone 243 million, but I do hear the voice of one bigot. And I assume that Starrywisdom 12 is NOT Indonesian………

  • Teed Rockwell

    “(Al Qaeda, the “defender” of Islam, set a bomb in Tanzania.)”
    Al Qaeda has also set off bombs in Saudi Arabia. In fact Islamic terrorists have killed far more Muslims than non-Muslims. Also the vast majority of Conservative Arab Imams condemn the violence practiced by terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, while at the same time advocating many practices that many of us here at Beliefnet would condemn: restricting women’s freedom etc. The only major Arab Islamic thinker I know of who advocates violence in the name of Islam is Qutb. (I think I spelled that right) The point is you can’t divide this problem into the good guys who agree with us, and the bad guys who don’t. It’s much more complicated than that.

  • Fa’izah

    As salaamu alaikum
    First, the article is excellent. Second, as is pointed out in the article, Cordoba House will provide many things that would be beneficial to the entire community in the area and is being built further away than some “adult” establishments. Let’s face the reality, the only reason why people are objecting to this initiative is because it is being done by Muslims; if it were any other group (perhaps not African-Americans) there would be no objections.
    If the city shifts its position on this project going forward as planned,then there can be no doubt that it’s yet another display of Islamophobic hysteria and bigotry at work.
    All groups of people – including those who claim to cite religion as their foundation- are equally capable of hateful acts/acts of terrorism. For example; American slavery was justified based on biblical [mis]interpretation; the KKK members all claimed to be Christian; the conflict in Israel is justified based on their beliefs that the land is theirs.

  • New Yorker

    I have to say this is incredibly naive. How can you not understand why this is a slap in the face to all New Yorkers? I keep hearing about the myth of so called moderate muslims being appaled at acts of terrorism yet not a month passes without a suicide bombing or a cartoonist receiving death threats over a drawing. There are around 1.5 billion muslims on the planet and so called moderate muslims calim it’s only a small group of extremists giving islam a bad name. If there are 1.5 billion shouldn’t a small number of extremists be easy to stamp out? Are you aware that over the last sixty years the majority of the acts of terrorism were overwhelmingly perpetrated my muslims? Why was there cheering in the streets on half a dozen muslim nations on 9/11? islam and terrorism are synonomous like it or not. If it’s such a tolerant religion why aren’t churches and synagogs allowed near mecca or a half dozen other muslim nations? I think islam deserves the same tolerance in NYC it shows other religions. I’m not a fan of any religion but the only one I think about killing me when I get on the train or go to a large public area like Times Square or see an unattended bag is islam and with VERY good reason. Your religion is currently responsible for almost all the current instability and violence in the world, that is a plain and simple fact. Respect and tolerance are earned and islam is the reason there is a mass grave and a hole in the ground in lower Manhattan. Again that is a fact. Shame on you and your religion. I hope if this atrocity is built a plane full of muslims crashes into it!

  • Robert Johnson

    One thing I don’t understand about this whole thing is that there were many Americans killed in this terrible event, however, there were also many Muslims who lost their lives as well. We as Americans should remember that terrorism affects everybody, not just Christian or Jews. A lot of recent terrorist attacks have occurred against Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, freedom of religion means just that, we as Americans have the freedom to express ourselves and buld holy shrines, whether they are Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, Buddhists temples, etc. I personally feel disgusted when I see so many of the few ignorant waiving a banner saying down with Islam and down with the Mosque when so many Americans are Muslim, and so many Muslims died in September 11, 2001 needlessly. I think everyone should be honored and not spit on, and I see a lot of people spitting on Muslims, who didn’t do anything but exercise their religious Freedom.

  • LOU

    A Mosque at ground zero? NO WAY ! READ ON THOUGH PLEASE…
    There SHOULD BE A MOSQUE… AND a ‘temple’ for EVERY RELIGION !
    (crazy idea – ey?) Think about it… What better way to
    Honor those who died and helped in that horendous disaster.
    What better symbol of UNITY of SPIRIT for everyone.
    Let’s turn this horrible attack around, and into symbol
    that an attack on ‘one’ is an attack on ‘everyone’.
    If the Middle East can’t get their ‘wits about them’, maybe -
    just maybe, we can here in America… and what better place
    than Ground Zero in NEW YORK CITY.

  • http://muslimbuddhist.blogspot.com Teed Rockwell

    Lou’s idea is a very good one. There should be some sort of pan-religious community center, with a wall containing quotes from Muhammad, Buddha, Christ etc. condemning the murder of innocent people. I can’t imagine very many people objecting to that.
    For those of us who felt who felt horrified and repulsed by the hateful rant signed as “New Yorker”: I have a friend whose office was destroyed by 9/11 who made similar claims about Muslims. When I pointed out to him that people should only be blamed for things they actually did, he calmed down and realized he was overreacting. So don’t assume that all New Yorkers will be this bigoted and vengeful. This person is, after all, only one New Yorker, just as the 9/11 were less than .0001 percent of all Muslims. The two words for the captcha quote

  • Jacque Truong

    Any institution going up near Ground Zero should be dedicated to peace, as I believe most Muslims are. If this community center welcomes people of all faiths, I think it would be a tribute to those who died on 9/11. I am a practicing Catholic who has attended prayer services with Muslims and Jews, and have taught several Muslim children at our public school. These families want what most of us want: to live together in peace and freedom.
    I feel badly when the prophet Mohammed is disrespected, as angry as I felt when I hear of the image of Mary or Jesus being presented in a disrespectful way.

  • Jacque Truong

    Any institution going up near Ground Zero should be dedicated to peace, as I believe most Muslims are. If this community center welcomes people of all faiths, I think it would be a tribute to those who died on 9/11. I am a practicing Catholic who has attended prayer services with Muslims and Jews, and have taught several Muslim children at our public school. These families want what most of us want: to live together in peace and freedom.
    I feel badly when the prophet Mohammed is disrespected, as angry as I felt when I hear of the image of Mary or Jesus being presented in a disrespectful way.

  • New Yorker

    Teed, what about what you call a bigoted, vengeful rant by me is untrue? As far as New Yorkers go a gallup poll yesterday 52% of New Yorkers are against this. I am not in minority on this one. Calling islam a religion of peace is laughable and dangerous. As far as moderate islam goes, even if it isn’t a myth which I think it is, it’s a little late. It might have been a meaniful gesture a few thousand lives ago, before Munich, before the plane hijackings, before the events of 9/11, before the beaheadings posted on the internet, before the suicide bombings and befroe the attempted attack on Times Square. If you can tell me muslims weren’t responsible for all I’ve just listed and should be rewarded for such behavior or reveled for their disinterest or inability to stop any of it please let me know. Their track record for peace in the last century is non exisitent.

  • Wyomingite

    I am in agreement with New Yorker. It appears to most Americans that there is no other religion in the world trying to take over every other religion and force people to believe their way. Islam is the only religion that wants to obliterate the Jews, Christians or any other religion that seems to be different from their own. I’m not a prejudice person as my family has a wide range of cultures mixed in it. And I am not against ALL muslims. But I have a hard time believing there isn’t a hidden agenda behind everything that is done according to the Islamic faith. All the fighting in the world that is happening today is because/caused by the Islamic faith…am I wrong? Is the Islamic faith really tolarant of other religions if they want to get rid of all of us and make this a totally Islamic world? And then there is those who just want to appease them out of fear.

  • LOU

    My ‘friend”, you say:
    Mukhtar Farid
    July 6, 2010 9:09 PM
    Quote:
    “Sometimes I think the best thing that could happen for this world
    is for the entire middle east be destroyed, and for all religious
    people to be killed. Then perhaps humanity could survive.”
    We have quite the “conundrum” in your statement. Although I do not
    agree killing off the religious will save humanity… I am afraid we would find other reasons to continue to kill each other off; only to begin the process again as we use religion to save what is left of us and our ‘hope’… It would all start over again, in quite a similar fashion. It is not the ‘relgious’: IT IS HOW ‘RELIGION IS USED’ because, as we all know “MY GOD is Better than YOUR GOD” – how sad.
    GOD = Control of the masses, and wealth building ! GOVERNMENT !
    I will trust “in the GOD WITHIN ME” and not the rhetoric of some
    ‘high & mighty’ preacher of any faith looking for a ‘hand out’.

  • http://muslimbuddhist.blogspot.com Teed Rockwell

    This discussion has continued on a NYtimes blog. Check it out, It’s a really nice opening article, followed by over 300 comments.
    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/20/a-mosque-maligned/
    To New Yorker: It’s not that your facts are wrong, it’s that your inferences are invalid. They’re all of the form “Some Muslims are X, therefore all Muslims are X”. Applied to Christians, that would make Mother Teresa responsible for murdering abortion doctors and the Spanish Inquistion. (Mother Teresa was anti-choice, by the way.) The people you are talking about are less than .001 percent of the entire Muslim population. If you want to hear from Muslims who oppose terrorism, check my blog above for the tag “muslim outrage”. These Muslims protests against violence outnumber the terrorist actions but they are getting essentially no coverage in the mainstream media.
    What I found vile and vengeful was, among other things, your wish that innocent people who had nothing to do with 9/11 get murdered while praying in a mosque. That wish makes you no better than Osama bin Laden, at least as far as your intentions are concerned.
    A post I put up at the NYtimes site:
    Suppose someone refused to serve African-Americans in their restaurant because he had once been beaten up and robbed by a gang of African-American teenagers? After all, it would be ” a bit insensitive” to require him to let blacks in his restaurant after that traumatic experience he went through. Furthermore there are lots of areas of town that white people can’t go into now for fear of violence. It’s hardly fair to expect us to let blacks into “our” parts of town, when we can’t go into “their” parts of town. And don’t tell me that these teenagers were not typical blacks, that’s just liberal propaganda. If you read the paper, you’ll see that there are lots of black people who do things like that.
    Do I need to spell this out? There is no significant difference between this example and the reaction to the Cordoba center. It’s bigotry, pure and simple, to blame and discriminate against individuals because of the behavior of other individuals who happen to share their religion, skin color or ethnicity.

  • http://quranicperspective.blogspot.com Ibraheem

    I love this blog. :)Its a great effort for clarifying Islam in the world.
    Muslims are being targeted everywhere in the world nowadays. For the purpose of introducing true Islam to Non-Muslims and providing a great educational resource for Muslims, i have made a blog. Its called: http://quranicperspective.blogspot.com
    You’ll find all ur questions about Islam, Quran, Muslims, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), women, war and many other topics answered on my blog. Plus lots of helpful links to other useful websites on the internet.
    May Peace be upon all the people of the world! :) Peace within and peace without.

  • Itay

    hey, i was directed to this article from richard silverstein’s blog. i hope you will succeed in your goal. this community center sounds like a very good idea. peace and god bless from jerusalem, israel.

  • Itay

    btw, the guy who commented before me has the protocols of the elders of zion on his website, what the hell?!

  • Freid

    Certainly Ibraheem who posted above,ie, Mr Peace, will be one of the worshipers at this fine center. The blog he points to will serve to clarify to anyone not familiar with this misunderstood faith just where we stand in their beliefs (American Imperialism, Protocols of the Elders of Zion). An eye-opening testament in contradiction.
    Sorry Itay you fell for the ‘tell them what they want to hear’ commandment.

  • Mike

    and conspiracy websites – websites about the evil of the Talmud – David Ickes – an off the rails conspiratist who believes reptile people are present in the world causing evil and virulent anti semite….
    Yes – welcome to reality guys… reality of the Muslim world in part – Aziz is the minority at best.

  • Lani VanHarren

    OH GAG ME!!!!!

  • doc haynes

    Do I care if a mosque is built a few blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center in NYC? I can’t really say that I will lose any sleep over it.
    What does bother me though, is the blatant disregard for our Constitutional values that is occurring around this subject.I see people saying, that Islam attacked our country on September the 11th.
    First off, Islam did not attack us. Just because the alleged attackers were Islamic, does not indict Islam, any more than Jimmy Swaggart’s romps with prostitutes indicts Christians as a bunch of adulterous porn addicts who masturbate with whores.
    Secondly, the people stating opposition to the Islamic Cultural Center, should not be considered Americans, since they are attempting to subvert the First Amendment to our Constitution. They are traitors and guilty of treasonous acts against our republic.
    But lets get down to the really puzzling thing about the issue. Racism and bigotry are the motivating force behind the opponents of this project, but the purveyors of that bigotry try to deny it. Why deny it? I have heard racists my whole life, and they claim that they are justified in their views and that they are proud to be the superior race. So why are they hiding it now? Why not just come out and say, that they don’t like those who are not like themselves? Are they starting to have doubts about their so called superiority? If there is one thing that I hate even more than racists, it is racists who don’t have the backbone to stand behind their convictions.
    That is my two cents on the issue. Have a good day.
    doc haynes

  • prabhu

    of course islam didn’t attack us on 9/11. 9/11 was an inside job done by jews and christians. you won’t see icna, isna, the omnipotent cair, or even cordoba promoting this conspiracy theory. it’s promoted by everyone but non-muslims.

  • FHasan

    F Hasan
    Look,
    One huge issue people have with this center is fund raising and questions on how money will be raised, which is a legitimate concern they have. There are millions of Muslims in america. why dont you try and do fund raising locally in the United States?. 100 million is not much when you have over a million donors.
    Just a thought. Politicians, they will keep moving the hoop, all we have to do is continue to jump through it. Soon, the objections will run out.
    Just my opinion. Facebook, Twitter are huge tools, I understand the reservation of the public because I am a citizen and can feel for all those who lost loved ones but only way to calm the people is to slowly strip the politicians of their baseless objections.
    This is all about November, a center on 51 park will do justice to the cause of moderate and progressive muslims for generations to come. We need to speak openly about this, it says 70% of the US is against the site… I say that is 70% of the people who are not fully aware of how this can help all of us.
    I really wish that you try to raise funds locally and get Americans involved. Its a good cause and I truly hope that we can improve the image of Muslims because we are taking a beating. It is unfortunate, that Islam being as peaceful a religion as it is, is being casted under these lights. Its a good cause, a noble cause and all Americans need this initiative, if not for our generation, than for generations to come.
    The constitution granted the freedoms it did for these kind of situations specifically. To protect the minority from the tyranny of majority. We speak in the name of tolerance, we call our country the beacon of freedom, yet at the core of what is our moral and legal responsibility, to protect the freedom of religion, we falter and fall victims to sensitivities, which are nevertheless, understandable and justified,yet void of fairness and equal opportunity. I know people, devout Muslims, who lost their lives in the same building, who perished under the same anguish, agony and devastation as scores of others, I know of first responders who lost their lives in the same act of brutal mass murder. Do they not count? Are their voices not worth as much because they were Muslims?
    If we take the pledge of allegiance and proudly speak aloud that we are one nation, under god, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Than let us hold ourselves united, let us be one and be true to our words, be faithful to our constitution and to a moral clarity which dictates and practices what it preaches.
    We need to wake up and understand that what has made this country the best nation on the planet is its ability and belief that no one is above the law.
    Best wishes,

  • Kitt Fedoroff

    The following is why I am for Park51!
    This is exactly the kind of thing that Anwar al Awlaki and Osama bin Laden most fear – muslims in America rejecting their call to jihad and instead embracing their identity as citizens of America and embracing their civic responsibilities to better themselves and their non-muslim neighbors. And in doing so, wage a true, effective jihad against terrorism.
    AKFedoroff

  • Kathy

    …so your justification for doing something hurtful is that the jerks who write South Park were hurtful to you? Have you ever heard the old saying about 2 wrongs not making a right? If you truly believe that something you are doing is right, make sure that you have positive reasons and don’t have to point to other people doing hurtful things and say, “See? They did it! We get to, too!” Wouldn’t it be better for the builders of Park51 to take the higher road and move it to a place that would not dredge up the horrible emotions that this place does?

  • Ken

    As a result of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in the financial mecca of the US ,real estate was purchased at fractions of the cost pre 9/11 in order to build a “community center/mosque” extremely close to ground zero. If someone wishes to argue this would annoy those that planned the attack including Osama Bin Laden I’m going to respectfully disagree. Id also argue those that planned the attack and carried it out aren’t the only ones happy that A)the attack occurred and B) a mosque is being build there. A mosque.Not a strip club, a porn shop, a church, a synagogue, an arcade, gay bar, Walgreens, whatever else you wish to list….a mosque. This is why many are offended by this buildings construction. The park 51 project who initially on their website stated the building would have a mosque inside (recently removed) are very happy to supply links that deny the site has one. Why? Fear of hate? Lying isn’t going to help. If its just a community center I’m confused where the argument freedom of religion comes in. What will the building look like? Will there be a large dome? Minarets? I ask this question without knowing the answer. Would all agree that if these are part of the building it would look like a mosque? I believe in freedom of religion. I believe the Cordoba house has every right to be built. I do not feel the park 51 project should be forced to move. With that said I do agree with many that its construction is in complete poor taste. I hope those who are involved in its building move elsewhere of their own free will with the understanding that it is very hurtful to many. With the understanding that although their intentions may have been to bring those of other faiths closer to the Muslim community, it is doing the opposite. The park 51 project shares a link to the Keith Oberman commentary where he refers to all that oppose the “non-mosque” xenophobic idiots. Just as all Muslims don’t wish to be lumped together, there are many who oppose the mosque (via free speech not wishing to take away freedom of religion) that don’t appreciate being referred to as xenophobic idiots. There are some who don’t wish to see a mosque anywhere in the US. There are some that hate all Muslims. Just as most Muslims denounce 9/11 most people that oppose the mosque at this location do not do so because of a hate for Muslims and genuinely don’t have issue with it being built at a location other than the down town financial district. Years from now a mosque may very well be built in that area with the majority not even giving it a second thought. Today’s not that day.

  • Tim

    I didn’t realize Muslims held their spiritual leaders to the same morale standards of South Park creators that insult a different group of people every single episode. I’ve been trying to figure out if this mosque was a stupid idea or a more sinister taunt. Now I realize they are trying to get picked up by Comedy Central.

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