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Religious Tolerance logo

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

2009-DEC to 2010-MAY: Reports by the
New York Times, World Net Daily, & CNN

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2009-DEC-08: A New York Times report:

Many local leaders gave support to the establishment of the Cordoba Center:

  • Fatima Shama, director of the city's Office of Immigrant Affairs said:
    “We, as New York Muslims, have as much of a commitment to rebuilding New York as anybody,"
  • Daisy Khan is the wife of Imam Feisal. She serves on an advisory team for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. She joined Lynn Rasic, a spokesperson for the memorial, saying:

    "The idea of a cultural center that strengthens ties between Muslims and people of all faiths and backgrounds is positive."

  • Rabbi Arthur Schneier, spiritual leader of Park East Synagogue on East 67th Street, referring to Imam Feisal, said:

    "He subscribes to my credo: 'Live and let live'." 

  • The proposed community center would be similar to the Jewish Community Center (JCC) and the YMCA. Joy Levitt, executive director of the JCC said the group would be proud to be a model:

    "For the J.C.C. to have partners in the Muslim community that share our vision of pluralism and tolerance would be great." 1

  • Imam Rauf hopes that the community center will help to heal the wounds of 9/11. He said:

    "We've approached the community because we want this to be an example of how we are cooperating with the members of the community."

2009-DEC-12: Conservative Christian comments on the from World Net Daily's website:

World Net Daily is an independent conservative Christian information source. They scanned a group of blogs and collected the following comments -- all negative. They were either unable to find any positive responses, or ignored any that they uncovered:

  • "Muslims are doing this only to see if they get away with it. It's the way Islam spreads in every country these days, like a cancer – through incremental totalitarianism. In this case, they'll quietly open the mosque, then, as they get away with it, they'll ramp up their outrages until someone finally points it out. At that time, their lawyers, backed by the ACLU and various liberal organizations, will pounce."

  • "This is not different than allowing the Nazis to establish their headquarters and propaganda office in NYC in 1938. How come people could tell right from wrong then and not now?"

  • "What bonehead allowed this to happen?"

  • "That's disgusting. That truly is low. I feel bad for the people who lost family members."

  • "This is outrageous. I just don't have words."

  • "This is called 'staging' for the KSM trial."

  • "You've got to be kidding me. If this is true, our beloved country is already gone. We no longer have the America I know and love."

  • "Who wants to bet this place becomes a 'tourist attraction' for Muslims? This mosque will become one of Islam's holiest shrines as it sits upon the site of their greatest modern military victory."

  • "Good idea. Maybe terrorists will be less likely to bomb this area if there's a mosque there." 2
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2010-MAY-07: CNN collected some reactions from families and friends of victims of 9/11:

  • Marvin Bethea is a paramedic who was present at ground zero on 9/11, said:
    "I think it's the right thing to do. I lost 16 friends down there. But Muslims also got killed on 9/11. It would be a good sign of faith that we're not condemning all Muslims and that the Muslims who did this happened to be extremists. As a black man, I know what it's like to be discriminated against when you haven't done anything."
  • Herbert Ouida is a father of a man who died at 9/11. He said:
    "I understand the anger, the bitterness and hatred, but it only generates more hatred. Such a large part of the world has this faith, and to say anyone who has this faith is a terrorist, it's terrible."
  • Michael Valentin is a retired city detective who worked at ground zero, said:
    "Lower Manhattan should be made into a shrine for the people who died there. It breaks my heart for the families who have to put up with this. I understand they're [building the cultural center] it in a respectful way, but it just shouldn't be down there."
  • Barry Zelman's brother died in 9/11. He said that the terrorists:
    "... did this in the name of Islam. It's a sacred ground where these people died, where my brother was murdered, and to be in the shadows of that religion, it's just hypocritical and sacrilegious.
  • Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), said:

    "300 of the victims were Muslim, that's 10% of the victims. We are Americans too. The 9/11 tragedy hurt everybody including the Muslim community. We are all in this together and together we have to fight against extremism and terrorism." 3

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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. "Muslim Prayers and Renewal Near Ground Zero ," New York Times, 2009-DEC-08, at:
  2. Chelsea Schilling, "Islamic mosque built at 9/11 Ground Zero," WorldNetDaily, 2009-DEC-12, at:
  3. Nichole Bliman, "Mosque to go up near New York's ground zero," CNN, 2010-MAY-07, at:
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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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