The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Beyond Ground Zero: the Pentagon “mosque”

posted by jmcgee

While much of the news attention these days is focused on the proposed mosque near Ground Zero, another place of worship near the 9/11 attacks has gone largely unnoticed.

From ABC News:

Sometimes misidentified as the “Pentagon Mosque,” the non-denominational Pentagon Memorial Chapel maintained by the Pentagon Chaplain’s Office is where department employees who practice Islam can meet to pray.

Located at the site where the hijacked American Airlines flight 77 struck the Defense Department headquarters, the chapel honors the memory of the 184 victims of the 9/11 attack.

The 100-seat chapel is available to Pentagon employees of all faiths to come in prayer as they wish throughout the day. The Pentagon Chaplain’s Office schedules weekly religious services in the chapel for Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Protestants and Episcopalians, as well as a daily Catholic Mass. Muslim worshippers can gather daily to offer prayers and can attend a Friday Prayer Service led by an Imam.

Army spokesman George Wright said he is unaware of any complaints about the Muslim services from either 9/11 families or anyone in the building. The Army serves as the executive agent for the Pentagon Chaplain’s Office.

The Pentagon Chaplain’s Office schedules the religious services because “the armed forces are dedicated to looking after all the needs of our servicemen and women, including their spiritual needs,” Wright said.

The office is “very open and very accommodating to the religious needs of the employees here in the building,” he added.

The Muslim services at the Pentagon chapel have led some politicians to label it, incorrectly, as a mosque.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., defended the right of the Islamic group seeking to build near Ground Zero by saying, “there is a mosque in the Pentagon, which is also hallowed ground. No one objects to that.”

Check out more at the link.

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Deacon John M. Bresnahan

posted August 17, 2010 at 7:01 pm

There is another Church edifice issue around 9-11 starting to surface. It seems that there was a Greek Orthodox church totally demolished right at Ground Zero. And, according to news accounts –for some reason the Port Authority won’t even meet with the parish to get reconstruction moving. Yet the mosque, which wasn’t even originally in the area, seems to be getting all the approvals it needs at jet speed.

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Eugene Pagano

posted August 17, 2010 at 7:18 pm

I think the Greek Orthodox church’s reconstruction is tied up with the planning for the reconstruction of the demolished area, an extraordinarily slow process.
The site proposed for the Muslim center is two blocks away from the World Trade Center site, on a site where the building was not destroyed. That site has not been caught up in the slow process for rebuilding the destroyed area.

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Mr Flapatap

posted August 18, 2010 at 5:16 am

I just went to Mass at the Pentagon Memorial Chapel: daily Masses at 11:30 with confessions before and after Mass. I think that the existence of this chapel and the way it is used by all denominations convey the message that the NY mosque proponents claim to champion.
I don’t know if it is reality or just the way the NY crowd is presenting the message but it seems very different to me.

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posted August 18, 2010 at 6:51 am

I would think most reasonable people, including loved ones of victims of 911, would find no problem, and in most cases some comfort, in a MULTI_FAITH chapel of sorts.
On that note, why don’t we see how open the NCY Muslem group is to making it a place of worship for ALL faiths. They would still get to worship, (but so would everyone else).
Does anyone thank that would fly? I would sure have my doubts. I’m afraid that the agenda might well be a VICTOROY MOSQUE. I’d love to be wrong, but Muslims DO have a history of “victory mosques.”
The only person I have heard cover this is Michael Savage. I know he isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but when Savage is good, he’s REALLY good. Take a listen to this call from a few nights ago where Savage gives the history (I suspect unknown to most Americans), about the “victory mosques.” If you take a listen, I suggest going to the 4 minute and 45 second point (and skip the original intoxicated caller). It’s some pretty fascinating history that I suspect most are unaware. Here’s the link:

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posted August 18, 2010 at 7:00 am

I think this is a better, more direct link to Savage’s “victory mosque” history lesson:!

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posted August 18, 2010 at 1:18 pm

that no one seems to want to deal with the obvious fact that, thankfully (or so we thought) an organization or individual can do whatever they wish with land that they lawfully purchased.
Moreover, discrimination (including religious) is prohibited and freedom of expression (including religious) is protected.
If this were a church, synagogue or recreation center this wouldn’t even be a discussion.

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Murray Henry

posted August 18, 2010 at 1:26 pm

The military has a long history of accomadating our service men and women’s spiritual needs. On my dresser sits a photo of the chapel at the Sampson Naval Training Center where hundreds of thousand of young men trained for service in WWII (including my father). That chapel had a revolving altar area that could be turned around and converted into whatever denomonational set up was needed next. But—–this is not the same as what is proposed in NYC. Without denying freedom of worship, some common sene must rise in that situation which takes into consideration what happene there. Deacon Murray

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Deacon John M. Bresnahan

posted August 18, 2010 at 1:37 pm

The information about the Islamic tradition of erecting “victory” mosques has been brought up in other places than Michael Savage (who can be very incisive or very terrible).
Possibly that is the real reason why the erectors of the mosque are so determined to locate there.
However, the Supreme Court (all the liberals usually for the “little guy”, interestingly) ruled a few years ago that a city government can take a man’s castle (his home) by eminent domain for just about any reason including turning his home over to another private party (in this case to increase the amount of taxes the city can get).
So, since some parts of the crashed planes wound up in the building in dispute–couldn’t the city expand the boundaries of the Towers shrine, take control of the building, and control the appropriateness of what goes within that boundary. (even churches have to obey historic landmark rules or environmental rules in some cases, I believe).
Freedom of religion is not as totally absolute as so many politicians and the media are portraying it as.

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posted August 18, 2010 at 1:48 pm

That’s awesomely non-specific. So tell me what’s the no-Mosque radius we should establish around around Ground Zero? 2 blocks is too close, should it be a mile?
Should we perhaps not allow Muslims in the area at all? The attackers we’re largely Saudis, maybe we shouldn’t allow Christian or Atheist Saudis in the area as well. They were all men as well, so none of those either.
Criminals committed those acts, we have plenty of laws,etc to deal with those.
Following this logic perhaps we shouldn’t allow churches to be built near the site of abortion clinic bombings.

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posted August 18, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Dcn. John you are 100% correct about the eminent domain rule (I was furious when that passed; actually that was the day I knew America was really in peril).
Perhaps the better question is, who would have the guts, especially in this “PC” culture?
Erich I’m sure St. Nick’s Orthodox Chruch would love your help, being that their church was destroyed on 911 and they can’t get it rebuilt (all that “red tape” but for some reason, just doesn’t seem to apply to a mosque. Also Erich, you are misguided in your assumption that anyone can “buy and build.” It’s called ZONING laws, and probablly the reason you don’t have a 711 in your backyard.
As for religious freedom, I don’t know anyone who disagrees that we all have the right to freedom of relgion. Obama knew it too, but he still used it as a strawman. But hey, the strawman not only backfired on him, it blew up!
This NYC mosque is about a lot of things, but one of them isn’t freedom of religion.

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jill e

posted August 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm

To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it. — G. K. Chesterton

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Civitas Occiduus

posted August 18, 2010 at 4:58 pm

The Defense Department, as an entity of the U.S. government, must present a “non-denominational universal church of everything” option because it’s the U.S. government and cannot be seen to be favoring one religion. That’s why the chapel is multi-faith.
A local Muslim congregation — and note the usage of the word “local” — wants to build a new, bigger, better mosque to accomodate their growing congregation, and we expect them to turn their house of worship into a multi-faith community center? I suppose the next time the Holy See turns a mission district into a diocese, the new cathedral should be made a multi-faith community center as well?
I agree with Klaire that America is in peril and for most of the same reasons she believes. Kelo v. New London was as awful a decision as Plessy v. Ferguson or Dred Scott v. Sanford or Roe v. Wade. Thank God that the Supreme Court can overturn itself, even if it takes time to do so. I am outraged that the federal government is fighting a turf war with the states over immigration, rather than welcoming the assistance. Abortion is wrong, gay marriage, etc etc etc.
But that’s not what this discussion is about. While the current context of American politics and society influence all of us, justice demands that we make decisions based on facts and laws, not on raw emotions and prejudices.
“Victory Mosques,” while they have been built, are a red herring in this discussion. And it’s not like Christians haven’t done similar commemorations. Since everyone suddenly has a taste for history, the Catholic sectarian in me makes one of my favorite Liturgical Feasts the “Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary,” which is a more recent PC renaming of the original name, the “Feast of Our Lady of Victory.” It was established by Pope Pius V after the Christian victory over the Muslims at Lepanto in 1571, which the Holy Father attributed to a Rosary procession the day of the battle (October 7) in St. Peter’s Square. (Really? Our Blessed Mother intervened to help a “Catholic” mercenary army slaughter other human beings because they believed in a different way of submitting to God? But Ok, at least it emphasizes the Rosary)
This community center is no “victory mosque.” It is a congregation looking to move up in the world. It has attracted attention because of where it is being built. So let’s look at the building site.
Now, here’s what’s starting to rankle my feathers from everyone’s “sensitivity” comments. Why are people upset that a mosque is being built two blocks away and not upset that a new, 1,776 foot office building is being built literally on top of Ground Zero? On top of the remains of victims and not in an abandoned building blocks away? So, some of our fellow Americans freely practicing their religion on the site of an abandoned building two blocks away is offensive, but Wall Street tycoons “making an honest buck” on top of their loved ones is not? The site of our national tragedy is an OK place to wheel-and-deal, but it’s bad mojo to have Islam practiced two blocks away?
America is an on-going, 200+ year experiment in human freedom. We left the old world, all of us in our own time and ethnic group, to get away from the old animosities. I’m a Catholic convert; the first in my family in centuries. My parents have ethnic heritages that mean my father’s side was fighting my mother’s side not very long ago relative to history. My wife’s family is even more diverse and frankly just as at odds with mine (even now, lol). Regardless, we all came to America to get away from the nonsenses of the old world, but we’re starting to see the diseases of the old word showing up here: socialism; aristocracy; and, well, intolerance.
Some of my best friends are Muslims and they are as American as apple pie. I’ve heard one of them say some things about Al Qaeda that aren’t suitable for repetition given this a family blog, but we’ve all said them (the F-bomb was used repeatedly, let’s just say). “American” as an adjective should immediately remove the threat of persecution from a person because of their religion. Being an American is what makes it possible for me to still celebrate Christmas with my Protestant family and not have them shun me or worse; being an American is what makes my Muslim friends free to worship as they please — and me free to join them for ice cream once the sun goes down during Ramadan.
Being Americans should mean that the rest of us don’t get bent out of shape when people that are different from us want to build their own house of worship on land that they own. I know 9/11 is a wound that is still fresh; it hit me that day like it everyone, each of us in our own way. It’s like we were all party to some collective victimization crime and we’re all dealing with the trauma. But if you’re mugged by a man, it doesn’t give you an excuse to deny ALL men their basic rights. If America was attacked by psychopaths who happened to be Muslim, it doesn’t give Americans an excuse to hate Muslims. I can understand why we might want to, but it doesn’t make it right.
Let them build their mosque and let’s get back to fixing what actually needs fixing in this country.

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posted August 18, 2010 at 6:18 pm

//Erich I’m sure St. Nick’s Orthodox Chruch would love your help, being that their church was destroyed on 911 and they can’t get it rebuilt (all that “red tape” but for some reason, just doesn’t seem to apply to a mosque. Also Erich, you are misguided in your assumption that anyone can “buy and build.” It’s called ZONING laws, and probablly the reason you don’t have a 711 in your backyard.//
Not sure how the Church’s problem is relevant, that a non-sequitur. They are try to rebuild more or less at the site. This is at least two blocks away, if it were next door perhaps you’d have a case Of course, zoning regulations have to be followed. Commercial enterprises in residential areas,etc. I am curious to know exactly what kind of zoning regulations cover the proximity of structures that belong to specific religion to disaster/terrorisim sites.
//As for religious freedom, I don’t know anyone who disagrees that we all have the right to freedom of relgion. Obama knew it too, but he still used it as a strawman. But hey, the strawman not only backfired on him, it blew up!
Non-sequitur anyone? Was there a point in there ?
//This NYC mosque is about a lot of things, but one of them isn’t freedom of religion.//
Would you care to list the things that you think it’s about. And yes technically you are correct. The mosque, in and of itself, is not about ‘freedom of religion’. This inane manufactured ‘controversy’ is ultimately about freedom of religion.

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posted August 18, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Nice sounding quote but meaningless if you don’t nothing to support your implication that what they’re doing is not ‘right’.
I asked this earlier, so exactly how big should the no-Islam zone around Ground Zero be?

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posted August 18, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Sounds like the Pentagon has the right idea. It was directly hit on 9/11 with casualties but no one there is saying ” Oh, sorry, if you are a Muslim you can’t pray here”. Some folks in NYC are protesting a building that can’t even be seen from the site of the attacks. Freedom of religion is part of what this country is proud of. The protesters in NYC have decided that the freedom of religion is fine, as long as they approve of the religion!

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posted August 18, 2010 at 7:34 pm

I’m pretty sure the space in the Pentagon is wired so and if anybody in there is plotting something or dares to take a triumphant attitude about 9/11 they will be corrected pretty darn quick. The mosque in NYC will be a celebration of their victory over America.

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posted August 19, 2010 at 12:15 am

The mosque in NYC will be a celebration of their victory over America.
So all Muslims attacked America. That is as hate-filled and vicious a lie as anything I’ve seen here, and that’s saying a lot.
If you want to know why I no longer believe that the Catholic Church is anything more than a criminal organization, look in the mirror.

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posted August 19, 2010 at 9:36 am

//The mosque in NYC will be a celebration of their victory over America.//
That’s about as logical as saying that a new Catholic Church is a celebration of child-rape. The criminal activities of some who claim an affiliation (religious or otherwise) is not a blank check for indictments of everyone of that affiliation. Non-sequitur much???
Was thinking, I’m African-American, so perhaps, following this logic, maybe no white people should be able to build houses within two blocks of mine because of slavery and Jim Crow. Does that sound ridiculous ?

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posted August 19, 2010 at 10:28 am

Erich has an excellent question: if people don’t want a mosque at or near the Ground Zero site, how large should the “no mosque built here” circle be? Unfortunately, the crack about a victory mosque being as logical as a new Catholic Church being a celebration of child rape is so viciously gratuitous that no one is going to bother now taking his very reasonable question seriously. Mike is so eager to score points against dymphna that he doesn’t see that the reason he offers for leaving the Catholic Church is as illogical as blaming all Muslims for 9/11 which, of course, dymphna never did.
I don’t have much of a dog in this fight, really. I’m rather mixed on the matter. What I find so disconcerting, however, is the knee-jerk charge that those who are opposed to the building of the mosque at or near Ground Zero are opposed to religious freedom for Muslims, or generally anti-Islamic. There are reasonable concerns on both sides and good questions being asked on both sides. But the vitriol is making it impossible to have a meaningful conversation. If the only response to “I’m opposed to the mosque being built there, and here’s why…” is “It doesn’t matter why. You’re an anti-Muslim bigot!” Well, not much progress is going to be made, is it? So, that begs the question: are people here to have a meaningful discussion or score points and win?
Just my thoughts.

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posted August 19, 2010 at 11:24 am

BobRN you asked if people are here to have a meaningful discussion or socre points; good quesiton. I think some are, and other use this blog, what EVER the topic, to score points against the CC (at least they think so).
But there is one person to note on all of this, and that’s the guy trying to get it built, who tells us, “it’s for healing and unity”, yet, his actions have proven totally opposite of his rhetoric. To be honest, that’s when I got into the game. Initially, I was pretty netural albeit with sensitivity concerns, but the more I see and learn, the more I’m convinced there is a far bigger agenda here.
Elizabeth Scalia sums it up to perfection. I could never express it this well, so best just go and read what I (and many others), so much agree with. She ussually hits them out of the park, but this one, IMO, was a homerun with bases loaded. I hope everyone involved in this discussion goes over and reads it. Here’s the link:
God Bless all.

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Deacon John M. Bresnahan

posted August 19, 2010 at 10:19 pm

People are beginning to catch on–even some Moslem experts on Islam have come to the same conclusion–This NY Mosque is a “victory” mosque. Just as the Cordoba Mosque was all about the Islamic conquest of Spain, the turning of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople into a mosque (now a museum) was all about crushing Byzantine Christianity, and the building of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount was all about keeping Jews down. And it will be taken that way across the Islamic world. NOT as a sign of our embrace of freedom, but of our weakness and moral decay.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 12:06 am

The Memorial Chapel is located at the point of impact of American Airlines Flight 77. Originally there was no Chapel located there, it was an entry hallway, and a security office.
59 passengers and crew died on the aircraft as it smashed into the building at speeds estimated above 200mph. Like the test of an F-4 smashing into a wall a few years earlier, much of the aircraft was destroyed so thoroughly that it was hard to find all the pieces. But, most of the fuselage tore through the building because there was a wide corridor from the A-Ring to the E-Ring, It remained intact a little longer.
125 people, many civilian civil service, were killed in the attack. Hundreds more were injured.
Those killed at the Pentagon included Catholics, Jews, Atheists, Christians and Muslims (and no, I am not including the hijackers/terrorist). (And I may be forgetting some like Orthodox as well).
The Chapel was built as the Memorial for those killed by this act of war.
It is not generally open to the public, it’s not a tourist site. Most often there is something, a Mass, a prayer service, or a ceremony going on there. It is a hallowed place of grief and death, like going to one of the Nazi death camps, or standing on ground zero in Hiroshima.

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posted August 21, 2010 at 10:09 am

I live in Washington, DC. My parish church fronts on a service roadway slightly off 16th Street, NW. The reason is that at the time the church was built, 16th Street was envisoned as a grand boulevard of prominent churches and embassies. EXCEPT CATHOLICS. The bigotry of the time pushed us off 16th Street.
Almost to a letter everything said about the Islamic Center today was said about Catholics then. We’re were not really American, we did not not believe in tolerance or American principles. We were dirty, violent and dedicated to taking over this country.
I have no doubt that history will see the mosque opponents as bigots just as we today see the opposition to my parish church as bigots (sadly, while opinions about us have changed, we really can’t move the church!)

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posted September 1, 2010 at 11:16 am

How does Mrs. Obama and her Family or americans feel if Mr. Barrack killed (god’s forbid) by a suicide fanatic muslim and buried his body next to him? and on his grave with a quote “A Muslim Martyr” down with the infidels…
sounds Islamophobia?
Okey,Let’s try “Kennedy,Lincoln and Martin Luther”

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