Here Comes the Ground Zero Mosque


The Atlantic Wire has the roundup. Rep. Peter King wants to know where the money’s coming from. Rick Lazio, challenging Andrew Cuomo for the New York governorship, sees a campaign issue. My favorite item? See the New York Daily News:

The Cordoba House is now Park51. Developers behind the controversial 13-story Islamic community center and prayer space near Ground Zero announced Tuesday a bland new name for the project. Spokesman Oz Sultan said the new name puts emphasis on the community center aspect of the project rather than religion. […]

But the new moniker did little to quell an angry crowd of nearly 100, who turned a Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing yesterday into a turf war over the project. Up for debate was the architectural and historical significance of the existing building, which developers hope to replace with a 13-story community center and Islamic prayer space.

This building manages to be less than a mosque and more than a mosque all at the same time. Somehow, I imagine a humble little mosque would attract a different kind of attention than this high-rise production, which sounds more like a suspiciously enormous Human Resources department with a suspiciously vague mission statement than a house of worship. After all, the Project Manager made a point to insist that “the vitriol at yesterday’s hearing showed the urgent need for an Islamic center in New York City. ‘I see this as more of a reason for this project to move forward,’ he said.” More than a mere mosque — pfff! — this is a Center, a Project. That’s revealing, isn’t it?

There are 14 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Contributor

    It’s the raising of a victory flag at ground zero.

    How Osama Bin Laden will belly laugh when a mosque goes up there before we red-tape strangled Americans can rebuild our own building.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Member

    The way I see it, a mosque at Ground Zero matters or doesn’t matter depending on whether Islam itself is to blame. I have little sympathy for people hiding from truth, either way.

    If Islam was merely incidental to the attack and 9/11 was ultimately about a particular terrorist group, then New Yorkers should stomach a mosque even if it reminds them of that day. But if Islam is to blame — which is to say, if Islam does indeed have the overt goal of a worldwide caliphate and holds as its greatest model of behavior a man who treated all infidels as inhuman and unworthy of the most basic tolerance — then the construction of a mosque at Ground Zero should not be permitted.

    James Poulos, Ed.: This building manages to be less than a mosque and more than a mosque all at the same time.

    Well said. :)

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Contributor

    Aaron I think the bastardization of Islam is to blame for 9/11.

    Still a victory flag for OBL if a Mosque rises at ground zero before our building does.

    I know it’s only symbolism, but call me quirky ‘cuz this symbolism matters to me.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Member

    I suspect Emily knows far more about Islam than I do, with her Iranian relatives. One doesn’t often hear about Islam from a conservative with cultural ties to it. I’d appreciate her two cents.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Member
    Justified Right: Aaron I think the bastardization of Islam is to blame for 9/11.

    ยท Jul 14 at 1:38pm

    If Islam is directly involved, then there are two possibilities. The first is that Islam is essentially good and it is only a bastardized version, as you say, that leads to terrorism and other injustices. The second possibility is that Islam is essentially evil (or “bad”, if you prefer) and that good Muslims are good only in the same ways that evil Christians are evil — ignorance of the creed they claim, misinterpretation, and willful disobedience.

    In other words, which is the “bastardization of Islam” — the bad kind or the good? Just as all persons are flawed but some are better or worse than others, all cultures and religions are flawed but that does not make them equal.

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Contributor

    Aaron I’m not sure I followed you completely, but to clarify I think Islam is good while the Islamo-fascist sort that bastardizes it are bad. They’re flat out doing it wrong. So wrong they aren’t really doing it any more.

    While I have no cultural ties to Islam, my understanding of it is that they worship the same God as me as a Christian.

    There are a billion or so Muslims in the world. Since I have no proof that the vast majority of them wish to kill me for being non-Muslim, while a few of them do, I conclude that the ones that wish to kill me are bastardizing the religion.

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  7. Profile Photo Member

    To facilitate healing between the Islamic world and America, I recommend building a 13-story evangelical megachurch across from the Great Mosque in Makkah. And to ensure Israel is included in this healing process, a synagogue as tall as a minaret would rise on the other side of the Mosque. Funding would be kept secret, though prominent donors might be traced to Texas and Tel Aviv.

    Once these community centers have completed their ribbon-cutting ceremonies, I welcome a mosque overlooking Ground Zero.

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Member

    Hi Aaron – Indeed I do have ties to Islam. When I was a little girl living in Montreal, my parents (my father is a blue-eyed American, my mother is Iranian) ran and administered a Sufi meeting house. Sufism is the mystical element of Islam–and so twice a week, a crowd of thoughtful, if hippy-dippy, Western and Iranian/Middle Easterners gathered to pray and meditate peacefully, as did intellectuals and scholars from nearby McGill University. That was the Islam that I knew as a child.

    My ties to Islam are less personal these days: I converted to Catholicism in college and my parents are no longer involved with the Sufi house. What I know about the state of Islam today is a result of Muslims I’ve spoken to, research I’ve done, and articles I’ve written–but here’s something to think about: I’ve spoken to Muslims concerned about and seen reports confirming the radicalization of mosques in the US. Mosques are being infiltrated by Wahhabi imams and Wahhabi money. Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes about this in her book, Nomad.

    If this mosque is part of that trend, then its construction concerns me.

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Inactive

    The Project Manager’s ‘s statement is contradicted by the project itself. If the “center” is, in truth, a well meant peace-offering, intended to foster understanding and appreciation, then it would not have been sited with such breathtaking insensitivity. The backer’s of this project have demonstrated that they are either entirely numb to the feelings of their hosts, or entirely uncaring. Most probably both.

    The more likely reason the center needs to located at Ground Zero is to gain control over the narrative surrounding the place and the event it commemorates. I expect that they want to inject an explanation of why it was necessary for the attack to occur, and to provide some “context” that puts the act in a different light.

    I don’t blame them for trying; it’s a good strategy. I blame the NY authorities for falling for it.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Member

    Thanks, Emily.

    Over the years, I’ve encountered many arguments suggesting Islam itself is the problem, that only through willful misinterpretation or ignorance can a Muslim respect non-Muslims. The last one I recall is the documentary “Islam: What the West Needs to Know“. Ricochet’s own Mark Steyn (well, Ricochet’s once upon a time) has often claimed that self-described Muslims who appear in the media to assert Islam’s peaceful nature are always secular to the point of not really being religious (liberal first, Muslim second… or third or fourth).

    Since the majority of the world’s Muslims live in poor areas with weak public education and heavy political propoganda, it seems reasonable that so many people could be mistaken about the religion they claim. Hell, even without those conditions. It’s not as if the majority of Christians or Jews have keen understandings of the religions they claim. Most people are not armchair theologians.

    But I am reluctant to accept these arguments without hearing reasonable counter-arguments. Sadly, it seems like we can never get Islam’s defenders and detractors together in the same room. Peter, could this be an episode of “Uncommon Knowledge”?

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Inactive

    I simply don’t agree with Mr. Steyn in this regard because he can’t support that claim in any meaningful way. He is no expert on the point at which Muslims tip from being “religious” to being “too secular,” nor does he profess to be.

    Regarding the Cordoba House or Park51 or whatever, I have no problem with a mosque being built near Ground Zero or anywhere else in New York (where I’m from). Am I biased? Yes; I’m Muslim. The placement is only insensitive if you blame Islam for 9/11. If they could only find 100 people to protest at the hearing, I’d say that this is not the feelings of New Yorkers overall.

    There is a legitimate concern, however, over where the funding is coming from. If the sources were all clean, why would the director of the project be withholding that information? That is the question I’d like answered. Does that mean that finding out who is funding the project is the job of US Congressmen (Peter King)? No, and nor is it the job of the candidate for governor (Rick Lazio). Let’s see the press uncover this one.

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Inactive

    Why don’t they just build a multi-faith centre, Islam, Judaism, Christian, Hindu, Bhuddist Mosque/Schul/Church/Temples; and whilst we are at it an Atheist centre. This would represent the range of religiions of those murdered on 9/11, and be a true pluralist representation of the need for tolerance.

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  13. Profile Photo Member

    Humza, could you help explain the significance of the name Cordoba House? The only commentary I’ve heard about it is the following:

    • Cordoba was the historical capital of the Islamic Caliphate of Cordoba in Moorish Spain.
    • Cordoba was an early foothold for the Moors in their initial conquest of Spain.

    If this information is true (which I am not sure of), would it be unreasonable to conclude that somebody sees 9/11 as an early victory in a “conquest” of the West? There are definitely at least some Muslims overseas who see that as a worthy long term goal.

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Member

    Let’s take a reverse example.

    Suppose a renegade band of unauthorized Crusaders had, in their zeal, made their way to Mecca and leveled the marketplace, killing thousands of people. Then the Catholic Church, as part of the rebuilding plan, proposed to erect an enormous cathedral where the Mecca market once stood, as a sign of peace and friendship.

    Say a radical paramilitary group of Zionists blows up the Milad Tower in Tehran. Then a wealthy group of Israeli Jews builds a huge synagogue in its former footprint, right in the heart of Tehran, in order to honor the dead Iranians.

    What would be the reaction?

    • #14

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