A mosque near Ground Zero?

Actually, what’s being proposed for lower Manhattan is something called Cordoba House, a Muslim-sponsored community facility open to people of all faiths, like a YMCA or a Jewish Community Center.  It would have a swimming pool, basketball courts, meeting rooms and an interfaith chapel which would be used as a mosque.

The name commemorates the golden age of Muslim-ruled Spain, when Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together in peace and the cultures of all three groups flourished.

Some people take exception to a mosque being built just two blocks from Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center was destroyed by al Qaeda terrorists.  They said it is an insult to the victims of the 9/11 attacks, overlooking the Muslims among the victims.

I personally think the Cordoba House is a great idea.  The worst thing in the world, from the point of view of the al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, is a demonstration that the United States has a place for people of all religions, including Muslims, and that American Muslims reject their brand of religious intolerance.

Click on Cordoba House: Hope from the Ashes of Tragedy for background on Cordoba House from the American Muslim web magazine.

Click on Muslim Victims of September 11 Attack for names of Muslims, including firefighters and police officers, who died in the 9/11 attacks.

Click on Muslim Denunciations of al-Qaeda and Terrorism for a roundup of authoritative statements by Muslim leaders following the 9/11 attacks, and links to more statements.

Click on Palin on the Ground Zero Mosque vs. the Founding Fathers for commentary by Juan Cole, professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of Michigan, on how Islam fits in to the American tradition of religious freedom.

Click on A Mosque Maligned for an article by Robert Wright in the New York Times about the attacks on the Cordoba House project. [added 7/25/10]

[Update 8/4/10]

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission voted yesterday to allow construction of Cordoba House, a Muslim YMCA-type community center, on the site of an old Burlington Coat Factory store.  The issue before the commission was, of course, not whether the Constitution and Bill of Rights apply to Muslims, but whether the building was a historic site deserving of preservation.

New York City residents appear to take this more in stride than some of the people in the hinterlands.  Maybe New Yorkers are more aware that Muslims were not among the World Trade Center workers, but also among the firefighters, police and other first responders, who died in the 9/11 attacks.

Click on Cordoba Initiative for the home page of the project’s sponsors.

Click on Mayor Bloomberg’s statement for a good expression of American values.

Click on Cordoba Initiative Blog for news and updates on the project.

[Update 8/14/10]

Click on President Obama’s speech for an outstanding statement of American principles of religious freedom as applied to this issue.

[Update 8/18/10]

I wonder how many Americans think that what is being proposed is an actual mosque on the actual site of Ground Zero, rather than a Muslim-supported interfaith center in a former Burlington Coat Factory store in lower Manhattan which is not even within sight of the former Twin Towers.

I wonder how many strip clubs and pornographic bookstores have opened in that area since Sept. 11, 2001.  Lower Manhattan being what it is, I am sure the number is not zero.

[Update 8/20/10]

Click on Please forgive me for the action of extremists I have never met who commit acts of violence I have never advocated for a good satirical comment.

[Update 8/21/10]

Click on Hallowed Ground for photographs of activities as close to the site of the former Twin Towers as the Park51 community center (the new name for the project which is not a Ground Zero Mosque) would be.

Click on Hallowed Ground II and scroll down for a photograph of the actual Park51 site.

[Update 8/26/10]

Okay, it’s no longer Cordoba House; it’s Park51.  I guess it was easier to change the name than explain it.

Click on manhattan mosques – Google maps for the locations of mosques in or near Manhattan.

Click on Sam Seder for a YouTube video made at the location of Park51.

Click on How the “ground zero mosque” fearmongering began for a chronology of the propaganda campaign. (I thank my friend Anne Tanner for this link.)

Click on Through Islamic Center Debate, World Sees U.S. for a New York Times report on the world reaction to the controversy.

[Update 8/31/10]

Click on Orrin Hatch interview for another good statement of American values.  The anti-Mormon bigotry expressed in the Think Progress comment thread is another matter.  Muslims aren’t the only minority who are a target of prejudice.

[Update 9/1/10}

Click on Murfeesboro is still an AMERICAN city, thank you very much for another good statement of American values.  It’s encouraging that Southern Baptists are true to their tradition of defending religious freedom.

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2 Responses to “A mosque near Ground Zero?”

  1. Saladin Says:

    It’s a fantastic idea. And I (and we) do reject their intolerance and disregard for the sanctity of human life.


  2. Is Islam a religion of peace? | GCDSJ.COM Says:

    […] Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is an American Muslim cleric active in interfaith activities.  He is one of the founders of the Cordoba Initiative, one of whose projects is to build a Islamic interfaith and community center in downtown Manhattan – the so-called “mosque near Ground Zero.” […]


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