Posts Tagged ‘Cordoba House’

“Ground zero mosque” is open without fuss

October 10, 2011

I must confess I didn’t even notice the opening of the Park51 community center, previously known as Cordoba House and falsely called the “mosque at ground zero,” even though I have written about the controversy about the center’s opening on this web log.

It is a community center, not a mosque, and located on a busy street in lower Manhattan, not at ground zero.   The fact that its actual opening was not a big national news story indicates to me how the whole controversy was stirred up by Fox News and its followers as a bogus election issue.

Click on Once-controversial Islamic center opens in New York for the Los Angeles Times report.

Click on Ground zero Islamic center opens doors for the CBS News report.

Click on A mosque near Ground Zero? for an earlier post of mine on this subject.

Click on Park51 for the community center’s home page.

What’s right (and wrong) with Feisal Abul Rauf

August 27, 2010

Imam Abdul Feisal Rauf, the Muslim cleric behind the Park51 project, is a good person and a patriotic American, even if I don’t agree with everything he says.

After the 9/11 attacks, he went beyond just denouncing the 9/11 attacks.  He offered his services to the FBI as an expert adviser, and he visited majority-Muslim countries on behalf of the State Department to speak on behalf of the United States, at the risk of being labeled a stooge for the U.S. government.

Judea Pearl, the father of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and beheaded in 2002 by terrorists in Pakistan affiliated with al Qaeda, invited Imam Rauf to speak at a memorial service for Daniel Pearl at B’nai Jeshurun synagogue in Manhattan.  Imam Rauf affirmed in that service that the religious values of Judaism, Christianity and Islam were not only the same, but were the values of the same religion.

Yet he is under attack as an enemy of Judaism and Christianity because of the Park51 project, the so-called Ground Zero Mosque which is not at Ground Zero and not a mosque.

I first heard of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf some years ago, when I picked up his book, What’s Right With Islam: a New Vision for Muslims and the West, in a bookstore selling remaindered books.

In the book Rauf tries to explain and justify Islam to non-Muslim Americans, and American ideals to Muslims.  He makes a case that the principles of Islam, rightly understood, are compatible with American freedom and democracy, and to Muslims that American freedom and democracy, rightly understood, is compatible with Islam.

Imam Rauf says that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are the successive unfolding of the same religion, which teaches that all human beings are children of the same Heavenly Father and that all of them are entitled to justice and worthy of love and compassion.  American freedom and democracy, in his view, are part of that same “Abrahamic” tradition.

Muslims, like Orthodox Jews, give a central place to religious law, which they call “shari’a.”  To me, as to many Americans, the word conjures up pictures of Islam at its worst, ignorant fanatics in places such as northern Nigeria stoning women to death for adultery.  Imam Rauf says “shari’a” should be understood as God’s law in the way that most Christians and Jews, and as the writers of the Declaration of Independence understood it when they appealed to “the laws of Nature, and of Nature’s God.”

What’s wrong with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

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The Burlington Coat Factory Mosque

August 18, 2010

I wonder how many people think the “Ground Zero Mosque” will be an actual mosque on the actual site of Ground Zero, rather than a community center in a former Burlington Coat Factory store two blocks away.

It would be easy to get that impression based on the news coverage.  I imagine that, lower Manhattan being what it is, there are pornographic book stores and strip clubs as close to the former Twin Towers site as the Cordoba House will be, but nobody calls them the Ground Zero Porn Shops or the Ground Zero Strip Joints.

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Does the Constitution apply to Muslims?

August 18, 2010

I have read the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and, despite what some people apparently believe, there is no footnote that says “does not apply to Muslims.”  Ted Olson, who was Solicitor General under the Bush administration, appears to understand that well.  His wife, Barbara, was killed on Sept. 11, 2001; she was a passenger on the plane that hijackers crashed into the Pentagon.

General Colin Powell expressed the same thought during the 2008 election campaign.  After denying allegations that Barack Obama was a Muslim, he went on to say:

Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no. That’s not America. Is there something wrong with a seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she could be president? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion that he is a Muslim and might have an association with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel particularly strong about this because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay, was of a mother at Arlington Cemetery and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone, and it gave his awards – Purple Heart, Bronze Star – showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death, he was 20 years old. And then at the very top of the head stone, it didn’t have a Christian cross. It didn’t have a Star of David. It has a crescent and star of the Islamic faith.

And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. And he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was fourteen years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he could serve his country and he gave his life.”

via Colin Powell Invokes Image Of Fallen Soldier.

Click on More on the Soldier Kareem R. Khan for his life story.

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

A mosque near Ground Zero?

July 19, 2010

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.

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