Controversy surrounding mosque near Ground Zero

Controversy surrounding mosque near Ground Zero

There is a building two blocks from ground zero which has become a matter of controversy in the news media in recent days. This five story building formerly housed a department store which closed after the damage on September 11th 2001. The Muslim –run real estate company Soho Properties purchased the property in July 2009 for $4.85 million dollars and is planning to develop into a 13- story building costing $ 100 million to be named, “Cordoba House.” It will contain tremendous amount of resources that otherwise would not exist in lower Manhattan; a 500-seat auditorium, swimming pool, art exhibition space, bookstore, restaurant. All these services would form a cultural nexus for a region of New York City that, as it continues to grow, requires the sort of hub that Cordoba House will provide. Due to presence of the mosque on the last floor of this building, it has become a target of attack by Islamophobic individuals which has generated enormous amount of News media coverage.

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This project is a brain child of the American Society for Muslim Advancement and Cordoba Initiative. Cordoba Initiative alone is an Islamic organization that aims to achieve a tipping point in Muslim-West relations within the next decade, steering the world back to the course of mutual recognition, respect and away from heightened tension.

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This proposed project is about promoting integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through arts and culture. Cordoba House will provide a place where individuals, regardless of their background, will find a center of learning, art and culture: and most importantly, a center guided by Islamic value in their truest form-compassion, generosity, and respect for all.

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Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, CEO of Cordoba Initiative and Imam of Masjid al-Farah, a New York city Mosque for 25 years, author of three Islamic books commented that “The closest Mosque to this area is a dozen blocks away and very overcrowded but this site was also chosen for exactly what happened here on 9/11 and what America stands for. Definitely, this is a victory of American Tolerance over hatred.” There are about one million Muslims living in the metro New York area of which 1000-2000 work within a few blocks of this building. They have been praying in the make shift unit since purchase of the building.

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The preliminary plan for the project was unveiled publicly in front of finance committee of the local community board. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is among many political and religious leaders who support Cordoba House. He was present where members voted 29 to 1 in favor of the project. He also commented, “These are haters. These are people from the Tea Party who attacked me and others individuals and tried to make this about bigotry and hatred.” Stringer referred to the disparaging comments made by a body of the right wing Tea Party movement, Mark Williams, who has called Cordoba House, “A monument to 9/11 attackers to worship the terrorist’s monkey-god”. Because of this and other racially charged comment about African-Americans, he has been stripped of his membership in the Tea Party Movement.

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This project has support of many Christians, Jews, and Politicians but has also generated passion and anger by the other side. Islamophobia is rampant on the internet. Page after page is full of negative comment on Islam and Muslims. People, who are opposed to this project, forget that more than 200 Muslims also died at ground zero. While most of republican are against this project, democrats including NY Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Cuomo and NY Mayor have supported this project.

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Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg said the following in recent radio address: If somebody wants to build a religious house of worship, they should do it and we shouldn’t be in the business of picking which religions can and which religion can’t. I think it’s fair to say if somebody was going to try to on that piece of property build a church or a synagogue, nobody would be yelling and screaming. And the fact of the matter is that Muslims have a right to do it too.”

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Juan Cole, a blogger wrote “Forbidding the building of a mosque in New York is inconsistent with the ideals of the Founding Generation of the United States of America who explicitly mentioned Islam among the cases when they spoke of religious freedom.

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These kinds of hysterical reactions have not been uncommon throughout the US. At many places Muslims have curtailed or abandoned their mosque building efforts because of opposition by the local residents. At other places however, they have fought and succeeded. Much of credit for these victories also goes to moderate mainstream Americans who are generally fair minded and have been supportive and friendly.

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A 2006 USA Today/gallop poll found that 44 percent Americans think that Muslims are too extreme in their religious belief, while 22 percent said they would not want a Muslim as a neighbor. There is a lot of misunderstanding about our belief and practices as well as this project and what it represents. Due to misinformation, many people think that Mosque will be built exactly on Ground Zero. While in reality it only occupies one floor of the 13 story building which is devoted to worship to meet the need of the people working in the area. This entire 13- story building is not a Mosque.

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We must point out clearly the differences between Muslim extremism and mainstream Islam. It is important to point out that Muslims themselves are the biggest victim of Muslim extremism as can be seen in civilian death toll everyday in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. We also have to do a better job of educating our population about these differences. Promotion of main stream Islam which emphasizes mutual understanding and wants to bridge gap between east and west can be a neutralizing force to extremism.

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Source : http://www.twocircles.net/2010jul27/controversy_surrounding_mosque_near_ground_zero.html

p.s : Hello everybody..Hope you all are doing fine..Take care… :)

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  1. I think the most talked about outcome of this affair will be Sarah Palin’s screw up on her Twitter page!

    If we’re lucky that’s all we’ll hear about it.

    • Future Wife Beater
    • July 30th, 2010

    It ain’t a just world, or is it?

    ~ Afghan Women and the Return of the Taliban

    ~ A few years ago, the Saudi authorities even tried to prevent Swissair from landing at Riyadh Airport, because of the large Swiss cross painted on the tail of their aircraft.

    ~ Despite strong protest by Pakistan’s Hindu community, an 87-year-old pre-partition Hindu temple in Pakistan’s garrison town of Rawalpindi is facing demolition.

  2. “…Muslims themselves are the biggest victim of Muslim extremism..” – Right on!

    See, Americans didn’t really think about Muslims before 9/11…It wasn’t really in their consciousness…I bet many rednecks didn’t even know there was a religion called Islam…So, extremist Muslims are to be blamed for the backlash…

      • A Banerjee
      • July 31st, 2010

      Hear Hear!!!!

    • :) I know Bones…Even I am in this sick state of mind bcoz of random people across the globe.. I need to get out of this condition..

  3. Hi Nimmy! (since I’m here after a long gap) :)

    And what are your thoughts on this?- I noticed you haven’t commented yourself.

    • Glad to see you after a long time Manju..

      Maybe you alone noticed that I didn’t say my view…

      I don’t know..I have a a feeling that muslims should find a better place to build to pray,than be somewhere unwanted ,where people look at them with hate.Majid is where you go for peace,not fight and controversy….At the same time,why can’t people agree to disagree with each other…Why do they find it so annoying that a majid is going to function there? Or is it that all people coming there are potential Bin Ladens?

      • You know, this building may not be such a bad idea. The article says only one floor will be a mosque and the rest will be devoted to other activities.

        Till I was 12 yrs old, our family lived in Canada. My mother and we children came back to India a year before my father, who stayed back to complete a project. During that year he lived at the local YMCA.

        Now this was a Christian Insitution, but people of several religions stayed in the hostel and many participated in ( non-religious) activities.

        Maybe some activities can be organised so that people of non-Islamic faiths can also participate? Then there may not be so much opposition.

        I don’t know if this is practical/ possible- just an idea.

  4. hey how r u feeling now?

  5. Nimmy, the backlash will only subside if Muslim terrorists stop bombing innocent people…

    There’s a Shinto shrine near Pearl Harbor with an American flag flying beside it…Ironic, isn’t it? Shinto, a very nationalistic religion, had provided the Japanese war machine’s rationale: the myths and legends that led directly to the kamakazi pilots…

    Once Hawaii was attacked, Japanese leaders, including Shinto priests, were rounded up and deported… It was difficult to resettle all Japanese as they constituted 1/3 of the pop. of the state…The people simply had to learn to live together despite their qualms… Suspicions continued for a while: Shinto shrines were considered a hotbed of subversive activities by some and were vandalized; Japanese maids were thought to be spies; Japanese fishermen were believed to have directed the pilots of the emperor to their targets…

    So, how does Shinto survive today on American soil? It survives because the Japanese-American leaders decided to adapt it from an ultra nationalistic religion to a peace loving one…Also, after WWII, Japan has not bombed innocents for country and/or religion…In other words, the Japanese have expressed contrition and so now, people don’t have a problem with them or their religion…

    If Muslims don’t want to be discriminated against, extremism needs to be erased…

      • A Banerjee
      • August 5th, 2010

      Hear hear once again!!!!

  6. When religion grows bigger than human.. this will happen.. but its sad that these things happen :(

    All I can say is first a person must see one as a human…

  7. What’s wrong in having a mosque at ground zero?? No Religion doesn’t teach violence.. its the people who spread violence.

    • home business
    • August 5th, 2010

    I read it.

    • sunder
    • August 17th, 2010

    Frankly i dont understand this controversy at all…..

    Why Islam is to be blamed for 911 instead of Al qaida? does al qaida represent islam…

    taking an analogy, i will not accept if somebody say, hindus demolished babri masjid…though the blame can be put on RSS , BJP etc….

    So where it get wrong…?

    • Sri
    • August 25th, 2010

    To Sunder,

    RSS demolished the mosque? Lets be precise on this. Yes, it is partially responsible. Who are other groups?

    How will it be if I say Congress(I)? Who opened the gates of a dead issue? Which cabinet minister was present during that ceremony representing Rajiv Gandhi, then PM? Is it Arjun Singh? Yes, that same sycophant of Gandhi family.

    I am not supporting what happened there. Interestingly, you want to know what Late VP Singh said on that structure?

    Another thing is that Supreme Court ruled that until it decides on title, it should be considered as a temple. Read it properly: It has not said it is temple but it should be considered as one for now.

    So much confusion? No. There is no confusion here. What happened there is pretty much barbaric and backward.

    But your analogy of this with ground zero mosque is very disappointing.

    I can make a similar analogy between Babri and 9/11 mosque in a different way. Only thing is it will be bit outrageous.

    There are many mosques in Manhattan and no one is calling for their closure. Another thing is many mosques and many Dawa centers were constructed in USA after 9/11.

    This is not about freedom of religion like some say. Yes, law says that Mosque can be built there as it is a private property.

    President Obama reaffirmed this. But he also said he will not comment on the wisdom of constructing it there.

    That man, Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf is a shady character.

    http://resistance-to-totalitarianism.blogspot.com/2010/08/raging-controversy-on-911-mosque-brief.html

    • damien
    • October 15th, 2010

    As a homeowner I have rented several times to arabs and I can tell you that noone lies more than an arab male.Oh yea and they are dirty too.living with roaches is like living in heaven for them.I love how in their country they were engineers and dr’s but her they can just drive cabs and sell nasty street meat.

    • Jim Rivelli
    • October 15th, 2010

    The article states:
    “Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, CEO of Cordoba Initiative and Imam of Masjid al-Farah, a New York city Mosque for 25 years, author of three Islamic books commented that “The closest Mosque to this area is a dozen blocks away and very overcrowded but this site was also chosen for exactly what happened here on 9/11 and what America stands for. Definitely, this is a victory of American Tolerance over hatred.” There are about one million Muslims living in the metro New York area of which 1000-2000 work within a few blocks of this building. They have been praying in the make shift unit since purchase of the building.”

    SO – why don’t they just build onto this Mosque eleven blocks away? Why does it have to be THAT site? WHY does it have to be named Cordoba House? WHO exactly is providing the funds? If somone was building a Japanese memorial near Pearl Harbor, don’t you think it would get as strong an opposition? It is NOT the building of the mosque that most people object to but the LOCATION- LOCATION – LOCATION and what it would seem to mean to the Muslim nation – a symbol of couquering – just as the Cordoba House in Spain and other such examples around the world..

  8. We would not be having this conversation if, THE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR BOMBING THE TWIN TOWERS AND KILLING SO MANY PEOPLE IN AMERICA HAD A HEART . It is just common sense, if we had of done such a thing we(meaning Americans) would not be asking to build a church in the shadow of our crime. LIKE IT OR NOT, IT’S A FACT….

  9. those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones(don’t be hipiacritical) Its part of the constituition FREEDOM of Religion !! what ever your religion we all have the same belief God he has many names and we pray to him

    • Pedro Ruiz
    • October 15th, 2010

    Where is the Historic Society of Manhattan. What organization watches for our history, buildings that have been there for decades. This could have a great effect. Let’s remodel the builfing to it’s original state. Have a museum near by of Ground Zero for future generations; We could have a place for visitors’s and tourist to enjoy food from diverse ethnic groups on the first floor. Where are millions of people visiting Ground Zero have a place to relax, enjoy in Peace and rediscover Manhattan. President Obama would rack-up some votes by declaring the area to be preserved; or maybe a Republican and the Tea Party unite to avoid such a disaster built on an already Disaster Ground.

    • tia
    • October 15th, 2010

    What too many Americans aren’t aware of is that CAIR and their benefactors, Islamist extremists, have used “cultural education” and “Islamophobia” as a means to deceive the American public and our government, our universities, etc. These extremists are in every mosque of this country. They are determined to destroy America and to make it Sharia law in this country. And they are doing it by deception, lies, etc.
    Americans must be aware and stay awake to what is going on, not to fall for the nice, smooth words. Just look at how many Americans they have already turned into terrorists against us, and how many we do not know about yet.
    If you want to read a good book, one that is backed with classified info from CAIR and the US government files, read MUSLIM MAFIA. It’s a good beginning.

    These Muslim terrorists used Islamophobia to describe anyone who doesn’t agree with them. When people have discovered what they are doing, CAIR does everything to destroy these people’s credibility, destroy their good names and careers, get them removed from their jobs -especially if they are in the media.

    When Muslim’s sign up for military duty, just like all other American citizens, I’ll believe in the Muslim American. When Muslim’s start demonstrating when a Muslim woman is behead or stoned to death here or anywhere, I will believe Islam is changing to be a religion of tolerance. When Islam removes it’s teaching to discipline wives, I’ll believe. When Islam removes its violence and hatred from its religious teachings, I’ll believe. When Muslims start demonstrating all over the world but especially here and in Canada demonstrate over every in umane act and atrocity caused by the extremists, I’ll believe the rest of Muslim are peaceful.

    • tia
    • October 15th, 2010

    It is the terrorists who caused Islamophobia, and it is their violence todate that continues it. We are aware of who is funding these terrorists acts around the world. Almost every place in the world where there is civil war and violence, there are the Islamic extremists. This is no coincidence.

    My fellow Americans and Western friends, do not be deceived to accept that Islam is a tolerant religion, not until Islam removes its violence and hate rhetoric from the religion itself, not until every Musim decries the atrocities of the extremists of killing children, women, men.

    I do not need a cultural center to make me more tolerant of Islam and Muslims: I need to see action by the Muslim community.

    • craig
    • October 15th, 2010

    70% are against the Mosque. USA is a center Right country. Consider: 2 Chronicles (7:14) if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
    God Bless you.

    • vgoraya
    • October 15th, 2010

    Ladies and Gentlemen: As a human being I have some concerns and comments. I apologize if some body does not like it.
    I dare say that I have read Quran couple of times. Islamic friends might say it is a religion of peace. I may be wrong but from my reading it does not appear so. There are words which read murder, mayhem, killing, rotting in fire, infidels, seventy two virgins for one who dies for religion, only allah is supreme and no body else, child marriage, beating of women, and hundred of other words.
    killing of muslim who converts to other religion and so on.
    I respectfully say that wounds of 9/11 are fresh on the hearts of the people. If mosque is built on ground zero, it will be a permanent reminder of what happened on 9/11. Of course the cruel act was done in the name of Islam, highest Islamic religious authorities have not denounced the act openly. There are no infidels, all are human beings with the same red blood in body, same way born and same way they will die.If God does not like some one, only God has the authority to take him back not any body giving a religious sermon. Just think. What has not changed. Every thing changes with time. Nothing is eternal. So do these religious books. They need to be re-written according to the feeling and needs of the modern society.
    There is lot of difference between practice and preaching.
    My friends have to think introspectively as to what is right and what is wrong. The teachings were right at the time they were written about two thousand years ago, may not hold good in this century. This is a century to work and live nicely in peace. Work is worship too. Worship can be even at home. Don’t have to go any where. God is omnipresent and not confined in the buildings. God created human beings but these religions have created some much hatred among them. It is the man who created religion not god. God lives in the mind of human beings. If a person is clean a clean heart without any malice to others, he is the true follower of God. That is what should be preached
    Have a broad mind. Go and build mosque some where else where people welcome you. It just does not make sense to create controversy. Just think with calm mind and try to accommodate the feelings of the families who’s love ones were killed on that unfortunate date.
    I apologize if I hurt some one’s feelings. Love

    • Francisco
    • October 16th, 2010

    The Opposition to the Mosque in ground Zero it’s to day the product of Complete ignorance, and also as well, perhaps?, the product of many years Living in the Darkness, feeding the American Dream with the wrong suppositions and imaginary attributes and never materialize desires for unreachable attributions.
    For some the American Dream its the real thing, How come, if such a dream doesn’t included Muslims and the Islam? or is such a dream truly death?, or is the U.S, dying to the American Continent? due to the strong Powers and Potentials of the yet unleash forces of prejudice and Persecution.

    Or is this pay back time for whatever was done to the Native American Indians, in this Continent. The problem isn’t the Christianity or The Catholic Church but the pseudo Christianity profess by the Protestant/Christianity Legacy of the English Empire?, the same Problem many fought before in this Country that to allow freedom of religion without the Tax payers Money. There is a way to show how powerful some churches and religions can be, or can become, all with the help of God.

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