The World Responds to Mosque Near Ground Zero

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Supporters of a Islamic cultural center and mosque planned to be built near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan chant slogans and carry signs during a demonstration on August 22, 2010 in New York, NY. (Chris Hondros/Getty)

This summer, city-backed plans to build an interfaith community center and mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero sparked an international debate.  Although there are nuances to the arguments, one side clearly feels that building a mosque near the site of the September 11th attacks is an affront to the victims; on the other hand, supporters say that there is no reason to block the plans, beyond simple “Islamophobia.” 

With the help of our partners at The BBC’s World Have Your Say, The Takeaway listens to some everyday international voices on either side of the debate.

Comments [9]

If the material at this link is accurate, then it is the kind of thing that sends shivers of fear down my spine. Is this or is it not a clear indication of Faisal's agenda to introduce shariah law to US Muslims, and also an indication of a profound confusion between religious and civil authority? If the material is true, then Faisal's fondness for the name Cordoba makes more and more sense. It should never ever happen that a citizen of the US has her/his rights under the Constitution removed or reduced in any way because of the application of some other set of laws, and absolutely nothing deemed as illegal under the constitution should be allowed based on sharia law. This should be true of all citizens regardless of religion, and it should be applied to every manner of 'religious' law, blindly and uniformly.

Sep. 09 2010 01:47 PM

Actually, it is not a mosque, and it is questionable that it is a cultural center. Its original name, Cordoba House, is not publicized much any more, but what some may not realize is that the building is still a project of the Cordoba Initiative. Why do the site developers cling to the name Cordoba? It is nice that they have allowed room for Jewish and Christian prayer areas. We should stop calling it a mosque, and we should stop calling it Park51. It is the Cordoba Initiative.

One reason that some in the US are angered by the Cordoba Initiative is that historically, and in many of today's Islamic Republics, there is no distinction between civil authority and religion. It is understood that most faithful Muslims in the US and elsewhere are peaceful believers who are outraged with us about the actions of a few terrorists. But the history of Islam's dominance over civil law, and the apparent message of a Cordoba-like annexation of the WTC site are too troublesome to ignore.

This is not a question of religious freedom, and arguments that it is are disingenuous. What Muslims in the US have ever been denied the right to practice their religion? I would fight for the right of Muslims to practice their faith within the context of our civil law. It is not a question of legality; the developers have every right to build Cordoba Initiative structures and to use them within the civil law.

In the US, citizens have a right to publicly express their opinions, and on occasion those opinions are heard, considered and heeded. This is the way things go in the US; expression of dissenting opinions is NOT the same as waging war, and accepting and following those opinions is NOT the same as coming under attack. People in other nations may interpret it differently, but while they are at home US citizens are not required to behave according to the rules, customs or laws of others.

This is a matter of sensitivity and good taste. The Cordoba Initiative has no business (in my opinion) erecting a center of attention at that site.

Sep. 09 2010 10:40 AM
Angel from Miami, FL

All this is based on false belief that the U.S. is a "Christian state". This is not an American vs. Islam war. This a war between a book-burning pastor of a Christian sect versus another religion called Islam. Pastor Jones doesn't differentiate between Arabs, Pashtoons, or Al Qaeda. Secular America has nothing to do with this pastor or his personal war. The US government shouldn't even be talking to, or about, Terry Jones.

Sep. 09 2010 10:03 AM
Jim from Mechanicsburg, PA

Your coverage of the Islamic community center in NYC has generally been good. However, I have two comments. First, please stop calling it the Mosque near Ground Zero. What has been proposed would NOT be a mosque, it would be a community center with an Islamic prayer room. It will essentially be the same as a YMCA. Would you call all YMCAs churches? If not, stop calling this a mosque.

Second, I disagree with one, perhaps offhand, comment made by host Celeste Headlee. This is not a complicated issue. It is really quite simple. Are we going to define all adherents of one of the world's great religions by the actions of a misguided few? Should all Christians have been condemned after the Jonestown massacre?

Christianity and Islam both share the concept of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Yesterday, a friend said it better than I could. It boils down to a simple phrase that has become popular recently. "What Would Jesus Do?" Does any Christian honestly believe Jesus Christ would be in opposed to the Islamic community center, or in favor of burning the Koran? If so, they worship a Christ far different from the one I know and love.

Sep. 09 2010 10:03 AM

One Egyptian told me this was playing out in public for other reasons. Now that the center has been highly debated there is no way NYC will reject building permits for the construction work.

Sep. 09 2010 09:31 AM
KarmaKoma from Budapest, Hungary

This is what happens if you don't drive your own agenda - someone else will be driving it for you. Why is there no post - 911 US Govmt strategy on how religions should live together after such a shock? I'm actually surprised such a conflict only arises 9 years after the events.
(from Hungary)

Sep. 09 2010 08:24 AM
KarmaKoma from Budapest, Hungary

This is what happens if you don't drive your own agenda - someone else will be driving it for you. Why is there no post - 911 US Govmt strategy on how religions should live together after such a shock? I'm actually surprised such a conflict only arises 9 years after the events.
(from Hungary)

Sep. 09 2010 08:24 AM
Gretchen from Delmar, NY

Are you sure the structure in question will be a mosque? I thought it was to be a cultural center.

Sep. 09 2010 08:18 AM

Faisal said that if the mosque is moved, the Muslim world will take it as a sign that Islam is under attack. That argument is disingenuous; the Muslim world already believes that Islam is under attack. So he wants to scare the US into keeping quiet on the mosque issue. And if the mosque stays, it becomes a temple to the conquest of Islam. The building is not called Cordoba House any more, but it is still being built as part of the Cordoba Initiative. Why does Faisal insist on the name Cordoba? It is a blatant insult and public claim to conquest. It is not so much their legal right to build and use a building; it is the outrageous and unfathomable bad taste and insensitivity in doing it. For Faisal it is a win/win. Move, and we're under attack. Stay, and we have a temple to our conquest. There are mosques all over the US, and hundreds in New York City. This one has to go. And by the way, freedom of speech is as important as freedom of religion.

Sep. 09 2010 06:36 AM

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