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Religious Tolerance logo

A proposed Muslim community center near 9/11's "ground zero"

Late 2010-JUL: Second area mosque,
ADL statement, more developments, etc.


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2010-JUL-26: A second Muslim facility in the area:

A mosque is already functioning four blocks away from the 9/11 site. It is called: Masjid Manhattan. They moved into temporary quarters in a basement of a building after losing their lease in 2008 in another building.

Imam Mustafa Elazabawy, referring to Cordoba House said: "We are not involved with that other group." He noted that:

"We have been here for 30 years, in this neighborhood. Many Muslims also died over there, on 9/11." 1

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2010-JUL-28: The Anti-Defamation League® (ADL) issues a statement:

It is titled: "Statement On Islamic Community Center Near Ground Zero." It states:

New York, NY, July 28, 2010 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today issued the following statement regarding the proposed Islamic Center near Ground Zero in Manhattan:

"We regard freedom of religion as a cornerstone of the American democracy, and that freedom must include the right of all Americans – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths – to build community centers and houses of worship.
We categorically reject appeals to bigotry on the basis of religion, and condemn those whose opposition to this proposed Islamic Center is a manifestation of such bigotry."

"However, there are understandably strong passions and keen sensitivities surrounding the World Trade Center site. We are ever mindful of the tragedy which befell our nation there, the pain we all still feel – and especially the anguish of the families and friends of those who were killed on September 11, 2001."

"The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process. Therefore, under these unique circumstances, we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found."

"In recommending that a different location be found for the Islamic Center, we are mindful that some legitimate questions have been raised about who is providing the funding to build it, and what connections, if any, its leaders might have with groups whose ideologies stand in contradiction to our shared values. These questions deserve a response, and we hope those backing the project will be transparent and forthcoming. But regardless of how they respond, the issue at stake is a broader one."

"Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam. The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right." 2

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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More developments:

  • New York City firefighter Tim Brown says a highly visible Muslim organization with international benefactors has no place in the neighborhood. He said:

    "We're saying no to the group and no to the location. A mosque in the U.S. that's using foreign money from countries with Shariah law is unacceptable, especially in this neighborhood. The other group (Masjid Manhattan) lost their lease, and they just want to replace what they already had. That's a lot more understandable." 1

  • Brown has been able to obtain the services of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a fundamentalist Christian advocacy group founded by Pat Robertson that has specialized in promoting the right of Christians to build and worship freely. They seemed to have deviated from their role of promoting religious freedom for Christians and are instead advocating the restriction of religious freedom of non-Christians.

  • During the month of 2010-AUG, the ACLJ program on Sirius satelite radio and hundreds of local ground-based stations broadcast negative views about Cordoba House.

  • Over 20,000 people have signed a petition sponsored by the Committee to Stop the Ground Zero Mosque" That committee did not choose the best of names for their group, because the proposed building is not at Ground Zero and is a community center containing a mosque on part of one of the 13 floors. However what the name lacks in accuracy it gains in effectiveness.

  • Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, and other vocal Republican and Tea Party members have heavily criticized Cordoba House. In response, Mayor Michael Bloomberg commented:

    "The government should never, never be in the business of telling people how they should pray or where they can pray."

  • Two common arguments have emerged from individuals and groups opposed to Cordoba House:

    • That the proposed facility would represent a symbol of Muslim conquest of lower Manhattan, and

    • That America should not allow mosques as long as Saudi Arabia, and some other predominately Mulsim countries, do not allow the construction of churches.

  • Stephen Prothero, is the author of "God is Not One," a superb book describing the major world religions. He is a professor at Boston University who said in his blog:

    "Since when has Saudi Arabia been the model for American civil liberties? One of America's core values, inscribed into the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, is freedom of religion." 1

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Nichole Neroulias, "Quietly, another mosque operaties in shadow of ground zero," Beliefnet, 2010-JUL-26, at: http://blog.beliefnet.com/
  2. "Statement On Islamic Community Center Near Ground Zero," Anti-Defamation League press release, 2010-JUL-28, at: http://www.adl.org/PresRele/CvlRt_32/5820_32.htm
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Copyright © 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2010-JUL-27
Latest update: 2010-AUG-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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