Home / Current Affairs / Anti-Muslim Bigotry / Lessons from the “Ground Zero” / “Park 51” / “Armageddon” Mosque – God Bless America! AE

Okay, so I made the last name up myself seeing as everyone else is doing it, but it’s certainly no worse than the other two! Abu Eesa Niamatullah on why he supports the project, despite who's in charge.

Lessons from the “Ground Zero” / “Park 51” / “Armageddon” Mosque – God Bless America! AE

MM's Coverage of Park51 (Mislabeled ”Ground Zero Mosque”)

Cross-posted from The Message Of Islam by Abu Eesa Niamatullah 8/28/10

Okay, so I made the last name up myself seeing as everyone else is doing it, but it's certainly no worse than the other two!

Despite actually being officially known as “Cordoba House”, the first name of the “Ground Zero Mosque” was a right-wing creation fed to the USA by some parts of the media which helped to create the frenzy that has now become mainstream news all over the world. I'm not going to bore you with a story that all of you know but in summary it seems many Americans are very worried, insulted and scared (choose any one or all three) about this building at 45-51 Park Place, Manhattan, going up near Ground Zero posing as an Islamic centre thingamajig.

The centre's advisors by naming it “Cordoba House” clearly didn't anticipate that some Americans would read in to such a title: war, murder, treason, taqiyyah, domination, consolidation, the Khilafah and then finally the Muslims taking over the United States of Absurdity.

Clearly a Mosque at such a location would make people suspicious of what goes on inside, especially as those guilty Muslims might be up to: secret military research, creating weapons of mass destruction, hatching assassination plots, developing loads of conspiracy theories etc. Obviously.

So what did the advisors do? They changed the name to Park51.

Yes. You heard it right first time. Of all the million alternatives they could have chosen to reduce tensions, they named the building Park51. Like that's going to stop the haters? The advisers name the new Islamic centre after the most secretive and controversial area in the entire country – Area 51 – and they thought that's good PR? Are you like kidding me?!

Of all the numbers from 45-51, they chose the one number which represents Aliens, Roswell, Time Machines, WMDs, the Ark of the Covenant, the X-Files, and virtually every other official secret, scheme and freaky thing or idea that the universe contains. All hidden deep inside Area 51.

So that's alright then from a new PR angle, because now all Americans will think that the Muslims inside are getting up to: secret military research, creating weapons of mass destruction, hatching assassination plots, developing loads of conspiracy theories etc.

You just couldn't make it up.

In fairness though you could have named the centre the “Teletubbies Mosque” or the “Big Apple Islamic Centre” and someone would find a suicide bomber link somewhere.

But enough of the jokes because some of the world's best have had a field day with this topic, notwithstanding the brilliant Jon Stewart, our own Charlie Brooker and about a thousand other commentators who are thanking God that some real life quality comedic material has come their way for free. Actually no, at the cost of Muslims. Again.

Yes, there is a serious point to this entire discussion, most excellently summed up in my opinion by the tireless Keith Olbermann in his own unique way. Put simply, America has to change its constitution if they don't want this Islamic centre to go ahead.

In my own personal opinion, I heard about this proposal quite a while back from Daisy Khan and I just assumed that they had polled the local community for their support because it certainly seemed to me at first hearing that it might prove a bit controversial. And they did get general support of course, before freaks like Geller, Palin and the Chai Party Wallahs got involved.

Early on in this saga when I noticed that quite a large number of people were genuinely opposed to the centre (as opposed to just being hate-mongers), I personally thought it would be better that another site was chosen because I genuinely believe that it is fair and correct that if many people in a foreign country or indeed the authorities of said country refuse permission for a new Mosque, then so be it. “I guess we mustn't grumble, I suppose that's just the way the cookie crumbles.” She said.

But after following this story in a bit more detail, I wish to support the building of this centre. It has now become clear that America needs to ensure that it allows the Muslims behind Park51 to give it their best shot, as both Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama have clearly stated. It would be going against every American value, indeed every Western value, if such a project were to be denied – if the complete freedom of religion is what the West has signed up to then that is what they must also prove, especially if other states or religions wouldn't do the same. Like I said before, either that or either change the constitution to avoid charges of islamophobia and discrimination.

Likewise it seems that a lot of the opposition noise isn't as genuine as it may seem, but rather a lot of loud voices busy in their hating and refudiating. Regardless of our religion or background, speaking out against such acts of racial intolerance and/or crimes against the English language must not be left to others.

The final reason why I support this project is because I teach people the value of unity, and that one of the special characteristics of the Muslims of Ahl'l-Sunnah wal-Jamā'ah (the People of Orthodox Tradition & Community) is that they defend the rights of their brothers and sisters despite their differences. This is a time where unfortunately the Muslim community is under attack, and regardless of who is wrong or right, we shouldn't be contributing to the voices of hate, even if our own personal opinions and objections against said project are valid. Perhaps we might advise the people behind Park51 in private, but in public they deserve our support because their dream has been hijacked by not just enemies of Muslims, but indeed enemies of the free world. Gosh, I sounded distinctly American there didn't I? (Shudder!)

Anyway the really ironic thing here in my opinion is that I am extremely doubtful that the Cordoba Initiative and ASMA can raise anywhere near the sums being mentioned for the completion of this project, especially if they are going to restrict themselves to American Muslims only. Many people won't touch this project with a barge-pole I'm afraid due to the massive negative publicity surrounding it all.

Lessons

To the Muslim community specifically, I wanted to offer some advice and suggest a few lessons that we can perhaps reflect over during this entire episode.

The first lesson is to reflect over who it really is that the right-wing are hating upon specifically: imām Feisel Abdul Rauf. You might very well click on the wiki link under his name but let me tell you about him myself.

I've known imām Feisel for a number of years now and I consider him a friend. I've lectured at his conferences and I've lectured with him at external conferences – he's one of the nicest and most noble men you will come to meet. And the most infuriating thing about all of this is that the kind of associations that are being created around his name with extremists and links to X, Y and Z yadda yadda is about as far away from the truth as possible. It'd be a million times easier for someone like myself to be made out to be such a bogey man but that's because I was born carefree like that, don't usually give a monkeys about what other people think about what I say or do or who I like or dislike, and also because I don't need to try and convince the entire United States of Absolutely Hard Work to support my $100 million dollar dream centre.

Imām Feisel I can tell you (and as he will proudly tell you himself!) is a Sufi, very liberal and far too “progressive” for my liking as well. I mean progressive in the regressive sense as I like to maintain, about which he of course will beg to differ. Most of the Muslims I roll with on a daily basis would be shocked at his liberalism – what I'm trying to say is that every stereotype you might have of a lovey-dovey fuzzy-wuzzy “sellout” kinda Muslim guy, he'd fit. And I hope I still remain on his Eed card list after that.

But this just goes to show that when it comes to hate, no one is safe; because it isn't just a hatred of a beard or a niqab which many people mistakenly think, but rather it is the right-wing and xenophobe's hatred of simply your religious identity.

In fact perhaps worse, it's racism and intolerance of a horrible kind. Who can possibly forget the tragic killing of a few members of the Sikh community post the 9/11 attacks, just because “they looked the same”? In this kind of environment, anything goes.

This is why what Keith Olbermann stated, should be spread far and wide, and really reflected over. His warning – drawing strength from Pastor Niemöller's famous words – is a reminder not just to Muslims but a reminder to all people of all religions.

The second lesson I wanted to point out is to realize that post 9/11 it became super-fashionable to criticize the bogey man “Wahabi” entity so that they and all their affiliates and associates – indeed anything or anyone remotely connected to Saudi Arabia or the Ahl'-Hadīth school – became the root cause of every single evil upon God's green and luscious Earth.

The unfortunate thing was that it came from a number of Muslims, most sadly – and let me be frank here – by a few extreme (and perhaps some not so extreme) leaders and spokesmen associated with the Muslim Sufi community. Yes, sad, because these were from Muslims within the Sunni fraternity.

Then as things started to move on, the “progressive” or “modernist” movements started to take shape, characterized by their ultra-liberalism, distortion of traditional texts and orthodoxy, topped off with an unhealthy obsession of blaming all the world's new evils on any Muslim group – be it the Wahabis, the Salafis, the Sufis or just Mango Kulfis. In fact, very few Muslims that were associated with the word “Sunni” have been able to escape their misguided wrath and secretly funded agendas.

If the haters can ruin such a man's life such as imām Feisal, then believe me they can do the same and much worse to any other Muslim from the dazzling array of Islamic groups and sects that are out there living in the West, proving once and for all that the story of the white bull will come back to haunt you one day whether you like it or not.

So the final moral of the story: we must stick together and stop selling our brothers and sisters out who are trying to practice their Deen peacefully in the West, despite our slight jurisprudential and theological differences.

This reminder also goes to all those who used to be from our good and close people who are under pressure to change their Deen during such difficult times and jump ship to failed and humiliated organisations and ideologies such as the Quilliam Foundation or Hargey's MECO or the Canadian Muslim Congress or Schwartz's Centre of Islamic Pluralism – it's better to feel a bit of pressure now rather than to fold up and dissolve away. We must stick to our religious principles because this was exactly what gave our Deen its respected image in the first place. Once we lose this, we have become like some of the Christian groups that have now disappeared off the face of the Earth, in fact there will be nothing left for us. Those who stand firm now, remain as beacons for the future, and not just for the Muslims but for humanity in general.

And if it takes a bit of shenanigans in the USA to make Muslims realize and reflect upon this point then my concluding words of this piece should aptly be:

God Bless America.

imam

About Guests

84 comments

  1. So is it ok if Saudi Arabia sells out their brothers and helps British people in destroying the Caliphate, help Americans in destroying Iraq , Iran and other Arab countries ?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Brother, I suggest you re-read your history of WW1. The Saudi’s never helped the British destroy the Ottoman Caliphate. The individual who turned to the British for help was Hussein ibn ‘Ali, the Sharif of Makkaah, the King of Hejaz. It was Hussein ibn ‘Ali who advocated pan-Arabism, and decided to revolt against the Ottomans after the British promised him and his children that they would inherent the lands of the Ottomans as Kings. Not the Saudi family. Ibn Saud had a war with Hussein ibn ‘Ali, and won, so he took over the lands of Hejaz legitimately. It was the British who came and sought a treaty with Ibn Saud after the political situation of the Arabian peninsula changed. Ibn Saud never asked for a treaty with the British, they asked him, and he accepted and whether he was wrong or right, Allaahu ‘alam.

      From your reply, you seem to have a lack of knowledge in what is happening around the world. You are obviously clueless about the dynamics of world politics. Let me guess, you are associated with those brothers who slander the shuyukh based in Saudi Arabia as ‘government’ scholars. Please, if you don’t know the situation, don’t open your mouth and fear Allaah with regards to what you say.

      May Allaah forgive us and guide us all.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. It’s not appropriate to erect a building of worship for a religion thats ideology is resposible for the deaths of nearly 3000 people so close by. Period.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Here we go… the same song and dance. What’s not appropriate is for you to spew nonsense.

      While you are at it, it’s not appropriate for Catholic churches to have children’s playground attached to them? Not appropriate for Christians to have churches in Oklahoma? Not okay for white churches to be built in an area where black churches were burnt down by KKK?

      Josh, stop making Americans look like fools, who can’t distinguish between Islam’s KKK and regular Muslims. Stop consuming Beck and Geller and Spencer. These individuals are among the worst that America has to offer.

      Pls see these two videos too, so you can appreciate your own ignorance in the matter:

      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/#38731398
      http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-august-16-2010/intro—happy-end-to-ramadan

      If you don’t see the point, we are not going to go through the entire exercise of proving it. You can find discussions on other posts. thanks.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Yawn. I’m not American nor do I live there. I’m Swedish.

        You’re examples in regards to other religions just proves how ignorant and backward your thinking is. “If the christians burnt down the blacks churches and priests are allowed to molest children, we should be able to build a mosque near ground zero”. Give me a break, this sounds like the whining of am insolent child. You have once again proven how archaic and non-progressive the Islamic way of thinking is.
        Countries with a muslim majority will never move forward, they will forever be in a flat lining state. How do muslims expect Islam to take over the world when they can’t even decide what the right “version” of Islam is?

        Like you said, this is the same old song and dance. There’s no point in loading up a full argument, you’re so blinded by your faith it would be like talking to a brick wall.

        There is no god. The laws of science don’t allow it

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Yawn. I’m not American nor do I live there. I’m Swedish.

          Best for you then to stay out of american business because not only do u not understand islam, u r not in a position to talk about whats happening in america. Don’t you have enough islamophobia to foster in Europe??

          The examples I gave were highlighted by Jon Stewart, whose stuff is neither archaic or “islamic”. Which proves that it isn’t the ideas that you care for, but your inclination to prejudice and hate.

          bye bye josh, you are obviously not prepared for a reasonable discussion.

          Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • The great thing about the internet is that there are no borders, so I’ll post anywhere I like.

            Well if I’m inclined to be prejudiced and hateful, understand that it is not people that I hate, but religion…in any form, christianity, hindu, whatever.

            Islamophobia is a media tool and I don’t subscribe to it.

            Reasonable discussions are not possible with people who can’t handle hearing views that are contrary to their own beliefs. I’m open to a discussion…but first, show me the proof of the existance of your god.

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Did you come from nothing, or did you create yourself?

            Siraaj

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Josh wrote: “There is no god. The laws of science don’t allow it”

          Obviously you know nothing about science or you would not make such a preposterous statement.

          Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • “There is no god. The laws of science don’t allow it”

          Where did these “laws” come from? They just happened to be perfectly maintained with no creator or legislator? How convenient.

          Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Ideologies don’t kill people – people kill people (with interpretations of ideology). So if someone with the minority interpretation that led to 9/11 wanted to build Park51, there’d be a problem. As they’re not trying to build, there’s no disrespect.

      Siraaj

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. “The unfortunate thing was that it came from a number of Muslims, most sadly – and let me be frank here – by a few extreme (and perhaps some not so extreme) leaders and spokesmen associated with the Muslim Sufi community. Yes, sad, because these were from Muslims within the Sunni fraternity.”

    I’d appreciate if you could please back up this statement with evidence. This is quite a loaded statement and I’d appreciate some clarification/understanding of the background behind it.

    P.S. Asking me to find the evidence to validate your own statement would be illogical. As the purveyor of the article, it is a moral obligation upon you to back the public statements you make so that such knowledge can have proper standing in the Islamic community while indicating conjecture where it stands.

    Jazakhallah khair for your dedication to clarifying the mess that this “news item” has become.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • asalamualaykum bro , if you want an answer to your question i suggest you go to the shaykhs blog where the article was taken from and ask again, cuz i doubt he will read this website,alahu’alam. just to make sure.

      http://alternativeentertainment.wordpress.com/

      asalamualaykum

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Here’s one Ashraf:

      Well-known comment from Kabbani:
      As long ago as January 1999, the Naqshbandi Sufi leader Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani declared in a State Department Open Forum that Islamic supremacists controlled most mosques in America.
      ” Because they are very active they took over the mosques; and we can say that they took over more than 80% of the mosques that have been established in the US”

      Also, Br. AE specifically asked for MM to post this on MM asap (after I requested cross-post permission). So, I’ll ask him to see if he can respond. He is signing off for i’tikaaf today onwards, so we’ll see if he gets a chance.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Shaykh Abu Eesa won’t be able to respond directly, but he emailed me and he reminded me of Abdal Hakim Murad’s comments on wahhabism. As I had noted in one of my articles from a while back:

      Abdal-Hakim Murad is particularly vitriolic about the “Wahhabi” bogey-man. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, instead of giving a fair chance for investigations of who was responsible, etc., he did what the rest of the neo-cons did, blame “Wahhabis”. In his article here, he pointed to the great wisdom of Kabbani that was duly ignored by America. I wonder what he wanted the government to do. Arrest the leaders of 80% of America’s mosques, which Kabbani claimed were run by Wahhabis?

      He was also quoted in the Independent:

      “I regard what the Saudis are doing in the ghettoes of British Islam as potentially lethal for the future of the community.”

      I think that should serve as enough evidence of what AE was referring to. Note Abdal Hakim Murad was also not a signatory to the Sunni Pledge of Mutual Cooperation & Respect.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. I agree with the point about not “not selling our brothers and sisters out” but believe it must be a two-way street. If some sufis and progressives tried to distance themselves from their more conservative brethren post 9/11, the same can be said of the more conservative groups selling out the sufis and progressives every day in lectures, emails, blogs, classes, and so on.

    Another solid voice worth highlighting from the Muslim community:

    Imam Johari Abdul-Malik: Islamic Center’s Struggles Echo that of African Americans

    The struggle for equal access, for the right to build mosques in America — not just in lower Manhattan — is reminiscent of the pain and struggle of black Americans for churches, housing, employment and, actually, public acceptance.

    By the letter of the law, blacks had the right to live or work anywhere, but they were often segregated to certain areas and specific jobs. Similarly, American Muslims have the right to worship anywhere, but some Americans say we’re not ready yet for mosques being built in certain areas.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Watch. Listen.
    Check out this powerful song/video now:

    HEY AMERICAN on YouTube

    by NYC songwriter David Ippolito – a voice of PEACE

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. It’s hard to believe Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf was acting in good faith when he proposed this project, because it is supposed to be a community center and yet he did not reach out to the community to help him plan it. If Imam Feisel had reached out to the 9/11 families, Muslim AND non-Muslim, and the first responders, again Muslim AND non-Muslim, and had their help in planning the location and the actual building, I don’t think you would be seeing nearly three-fourths of the population of the United States opposed to this project. I think if Imam Feisel had the blessing of the community he says he wants to reach, most people would have thought it was a good idea. You can’t build a bridge without consulting the people you want the bridge to go to-not without risking ill-feeling. This bridge has already failed-it’s putting up a wall between Muslims and non-Muslims.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Your link is broken. I couldn’t read the article you cited. I don’t think that should be the end of the matter, though. Obviously, when the Carmelite nuns wanted to put a convent at Auschwitz, they must have had all their building permits and licenses and so forth. They didn’t insist they were “in the right” when the Pope asked them to move because it was upsetting Jewish sensibilities. They moved because it was the right thing to do.

        I am reminded of something Mother Teresa said. “It is better to commit faults with gentleness than work miracles with unkindness.” If this mosque is built, it will indeed be a miracle that was worked with unkindness.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • The link is fixed now.

          And the sensitivity excuse is just that now… an excuse. All around America, mosques are being protested. Consider the rallies and the placards they carry… the most hateful and islamophobic stuff you can imagine.

          I don’t know the details of the nuns and Auschwitz, but I can tell you that just like anti-abortion Christians are not responsible for clinic-bombers and cannot be prevented from building a church next to a clinic, neither are Muslims responsible for the actions of those who pervert the religion (the KKK of Muslims).

          Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Thank you for repairing the link. I read the article, and have never disagreed that any religion has the right to build a house of worship wherever they please. The only thing I oppose about this particular mosque is the location.

            Since you say you don’t know the details of the nuns at Auschwitz, I provide this link. http://www.nytimes.com/1993/04/15/world/pope-orders-nuns-out-of-auschwitz.html

            You may feel that being sensitive to victims is just an excuse. I would respectfully have to disagree with that thinking. There is indeed a great deal of hatred for Muslims in America today. We need bridges more than ever. Inflaming the wounds of the American people at Ground Zero is not the way to build bridges.

            I say again-if this structure is to be a mosque to serve Muslims, there is nothing further to say, under the freedom of religion of the first amendmant. But if it is to be a bridge to the American people, it has already failed in that purpose.

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Siraaj, at this point I would not like the project to move completely away. That would be too much. I just don’t want it in the location that has caused so much grief and trouble. Here is a quote from your reply.

            “I think there’s a consensus on the point, “Don’t build here,” but I think the reasons vary as well, ranging from insensitivity to outright bigotry, and in between that, we have bigotry disguised as a concern for the victims of 9/11. I think the bigots are leading the discussion and making all the talking points, mixing in their hate with the more innocent emotional feelings of many Americans and conflating them as one and the same.”

            I think the key point here is that some of us opposing the mosque in this location are innocent of any hatred towards Muslims, and that we have all been lumped into the same category of Islamophobic bigots. One of the few civil dicussions I have seen on this issue, from either side, has been here on this thread. On that note, I want to thank everyone who has been kind enough to respond to me and listen to my thoughts.

            You went on to say,

            “The more the bigots own the discussion on this issue, the less likely discussion of alternatives will be viable – the muslim community, even if it was willing to negotiate, would not do so if the final perception is that radical neo-Klansman like Gingrich, Spencer, or Gellar were successful in pulling Muslims down.”

            I hope the Muslim community will be willing to negotiate. I hope they will feel that at this point, some compromise is necessary, if they are sincere in wanting to build a bridge. It isn’t going to be possible to heal the community if the developers don’t want to deal with that community and address the legitimate opposition. It would be a shame if the developers dismissed one-half to three-fourths of the population of the United States as ignorant bigots whose feelings are not worth taking into account.

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Pandra,

          If I were a Muslim woman who lost her husband in WTC Tower 1, would you suggest I never go to Ground Zero to mourn my husband since some people would be offended by my presence? We know for a fact that some people would be “hurt” and “offended” by seeing a Muslim woman wearing a hijab at Ground Zero, so I should be sensitive to their feelings and stay far away, right?

          Technically, I shouldn’t even mourn him within a two and a half block radius, so as to avoid causing undue pain to those who are irrationally offended by my presence.

          Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • I would certainly never suggest that a person cannot go to Ground Zero to mourn. Some people are going to be offended no matter how conciliatory Muslims are-they are going to be offended that there are Muslims breathing their air. But those are the crackpots. Thankfully, the crackpots are few and far between-vocal, yes, violent, sometimes, but not the majority. The majority of the American people are not filled with hatred for Muslims.

            That said, the majority of the American people are not going to accept a bridge from Muslims to non-Muslims at this location. I say again, if the purpose of the building is to be a mosque serving Muslims, it comes under the freedom of religion act. If it’s to be a bridge to try and heal the divide between Muslims and non-Muslims, it has already failed.

            It has more than failed. It has become a cause of strife and grief. The purpose of the building should be made clear, and then the location should be adhered to, or moved, accordingly. I guess it comes down to what is most important-exercising the right to worship, or trying to heal America’s wounds. One or the other can be done at this location, but not both.

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • There has been some failure on the PR front that has allowed bigots to really take charge of the issue and create the connections that affect the bridge you talk about. I agree a lot of work has to be done in order to make it acceptable, it’s not impossible though.

            There are two articles I’d like to point you to on MM that reflect some of this thought process:

            Cordoba House “Ground Zero Mosque”: PR & Path Forward Part-1: Public Relations Analysis
            Cordoba House “Ground Zero Mosque”: PR & Path Forward Part-3 | Move, but for the “Right Price”

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Thank you for pointing me to those articles. I absolutely agree that the project is suffering from a huge PR problem. First of all, it has not been clearly defined or explained. Second, the imam has not been out there defending it as he should. Technically it shouldn’t be necessary to defend or explain what you want to build on your own property, but in this case of course it’s very necessary. Not having a clear mission statement has allowed a great deal of hatred to be fostered.

            I do agree that the mosque should move, or the project should be altered so there isn’t a mosque. It has become far too poisonous a situation as it is, where it is. As the third part of the article says, it would be better to consider what’s best for Muslims at this point and have opponents put their money where their mouth is. I know I for one would not oppose a clinic, an interfaith center, or a community center without a mosque at that location. I would not even oppose an all-out mosque designed to serve Muslims at that location. I will continue to oppose a bridge at that location.

            Perhaps if it had been handled differently from the start I would not feel that way, but as it is, the mosque has become far too divisive. Yes, it might get built anyway, and ten or twenty years down the road, we may all look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. Or it might become a lightning rod for dissent and hatred on both sides and continue to fail, becoming more and more of a problem for Muslims in America and around the world.

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Pandra, it’s my understanding that the main point of buying the building was to fill a prayer service need in the area. It’s also my understanding that the building has been used for such purposes for the past year. Since the expansion wouldn’t make it anymore of a “mosque” than it is now (only with more room), do you think they need to move regardless of whether expansion goes through? I suspect you do not.

            To me, that highlights the problem with the opposition: why scream about the proposed expansion as opposed to what it is already being used for? To me, it shows either ignorance or the opponents are being disingenuous.

            Now, if the bridge was being welcomed by everyone would you still be against it? I doubt it. So why not just say, “I think it’s a bad PR move” instead of the way you phrased it: “I will continue to oppose a bridge at that location”? You oppose it because opposition has arisen, not the idea of a bridge itself, right?

            The reason the bridge-building has failed, the reason there is any opposition at all is because of bad reasoning. A misuse of logic is the only reason any strife or “grief” has arisen. And I have no sympathy for it anymore than I would feel sympathy if someone in New Orleans was offended by a woman named Katrina buying a house two and a half blocks away from a levee.

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Brandon, I will copy some of your remarks into my reply, as I wish to be as careful and considerate as your post warrants.

            “Pandra, it’s my understanding that the main point of buying the building was to fill a prayer service need in the area. It’s also my understanding that the building has been used for such purposes for the past year. Since the expansion wouldn’t make it anymore of a “mosque” than it is now (only with more room), do you think they need to move regardless of whether expansion goes through? I suspect you do not.”

            I don’t think they need to move at all if the building is to become a mosque serving Muslims. If that is the purpose of the project, then it should be built and continue to serve the population it was intended for. However, this is one of the problems that is plaguing the project. Just what is it supposed to be? The developers should make up their minds, clarify the project, and stick to what they mean the building to be.

            “To me, that highlights the problem with the opposition: why scream about the proposed expansion as opposed to what it is already being used for? To me, it shows either ignorance or the opponents are being disingenuous.”

            I think (this is just my own personal thought) that one of the problems is that the opposition is being treated as if we’re all the same. Some of the opposition is indeed ignorant, and some people are disingenuous. Some of us are well-informed and have legitimate concerns. However, we’ve all been dismissed as bigots and Islamophobes. I wonder how the Muslims who oppose the project feel about being lumped into those categories! And of course, the irony here is that some of the opposition wants to see all Muslims the same-terrorists, or at best potential trouble-makers who want to take over the world. All Muslims are not bad guys, and all opposition to the mosque is not ignorant or bigoted.

            “Now, if the bridge was being welcomed by everyone would you still be against it? I doubt it. So why not just say, “I think it’s a bad PR move” instead of the way you phrased it: “I will continue to oppose a bridge at that location”? You oppose it because opposition has arisen, not the idea of a bridge itself, right?”

            Exactly. You have understood my thought perfectly. If the bridge was welcomed, it would be a wonderful thing. That is not the case, though. Because of the bad PR, I agree with the third part of the article cited by Amad. I agree with the author of the article that at this point, it is going to be almost impossible to overcome the nightmare this project has become. I truly believe there needs to be a compromise. And I know compromise is hard, and both sides have dug their heels in, but I believe it would be best. If the project were moved a couple more blocks away, and the opposition is willing to put their money where their mouth is and accept that a mosque is going to be in the vicinity of Ground Zero, I think that would be a good solution.

            “The reason the bridge-building has failed, the reason there is any opposition at all is because of bad reasoning. A misuse of logic is the only reason any strife or “grief” has arisen. And I have no sympathy for it anymore than I would feel sympathy if someone in New Orleans was offended by a woman named Katrina buying a house two and a half blocks away from a levee.”

            I don’t really follow your analogy. There are always going to be crackpots, but nearly three-fourths of the population of the United States, including moderate Muslims, cannot be dismissed as crackpots, Islamophobes, or unreasonably bigoted. The fact is that the bridge-building has failed at this location. The damage to Muslims is outweighing any good that might have been done. What’s that old saying about pride going before a fall? I think at this point people on both sides need to swallow their pride and work out a solution that will allow a true bridge and some real healing.

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Pandra,

            Difficulties on the path of a noble goals are to be expected. It is currently a PR disaster, but as a bridge builder, the status of the project remains undetermined. After construction, after outreach, after performance, after renewed PR work,we’ll know if it ultimately succeeds or fails, and that requires patience and time.

            Siraaj

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • I think the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, said it best when he told Jon Stewart these politicians are using it for their own elections to polarize people and get more votes.

            There’s a reason why it wasn’t an issue for a very long time and why it was brought up just recently.

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • “Difficulties on the path of a noble goals are to be expected. It is currently a PR disaster, but as a bridge builder, the status of the project remains undetermined. After construction, after outreach, after performance, after renewed PR work,we’ll know if it ultimately succeeds or fails, and that requires patience and time.”

          I would have to respectfully disagree, Siraaj. At this point I want to see the developers acknowledge that the concerns-the legitimate concerns-of the opposition because of the pain of the 9/11 victims has been heard. Difficulties are one thing-there’s an awful the-ends-justifies-the-means feeling about this project now.

          I agree with Asra Nomani, author of “Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam.” She has said she backs the idea of the mosque in principle but believes the feelings of families who lost loved ones in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks should trump the plan.

          “I haven’t been able to support the building of the mosque right there in the location they’ve got,” said Nomani, an advocate for women’s rights and tolerance in the Muslim world.

          I would also like to post a link to Neda Bolourchi’s article. She is a Muslim woman whose mother was on Flight 175, and she speaks quite movingly about watching her mother’s murder on television and why she opposes the mosque at this location. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/06/AR2010080603006.html

          There was a time when I would have said that anyplace that the shadow of the towers would have hit should be sacred ground. I NO LONGER FEEL THAT WAY. Now I, too, am willing to swallow my pride and accept a compromise. If the developers were willing to move even one block further away-just make one small symbolic gesture that the pain of the victims matters more than the legalistic rights involved here-I would accept that and not oppose a bridge. I don’t know if that one block is feasible, and I don’t think it will happen. But that’s what I want-some small gesture. This is not an issue to be settled on a rational level. This is a raw emotional issue, and I don’t think it can be settled without some concession to the emotions of the victims.

          Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Two points: Anything Asra says is no different to most of us had Glenn Beck or Bimbaugh had said it. She is part of the same clique. I read Neda’s article. I think in the article, she describes Islam for herself only as a cultural thing, so she definitely doesn’t speak for Muslims.

            She is entitled to her own opinion. There are many other 911 families who support it, but unfortunately their voice has been muzzled. Many Muslims died that day in the buildings, a place where weekly Friday congregational prayers would be held. IN AND ON GROUND ZERO (before it was ground zero).

            While I still think it may be wise to find a way to move with full dignity and compensation, I will support the folks 100% if they decide to stay put. The more the topic is being discussed, the more it is obvious that for most (not all, and not you I know), that this is about Islamophobia, and not about sensitivity. Let’s take out the gentlemen’s club first if sensitivity is the primary issue!

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Hi Pandra,

            You’re correct, at the moment, it fails the bridge building test because it touches a nerve emotionally among many Americans, an emotion which you’ve noted is in no way logical or rational.

            However, my point is not whether it passes that test now at that level or any other level, it’s whether it passes that test in the years to come. That has yet to be determined, and i think the organizers hope the work and outreach they do in the area post-construction along with the passing of time will help heal those wounds.

            Siraaj

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Siraaj and Amad, I am having a little problem with the “Reply” button and so I will put my replies to both of you in this one post. Sorry about that-you each deserve an attentive reply, but this is the only way I can think of to be respectful and make sure I reply to you both.

            Amad, I don’t really know anything about this lady Asra except that what she said resonated with me. I tend to look more at what a person is saying than what clique they represent. If a good point of view is expressed, I might cite it. I think in this case, the point of view expressed is a valid point.

            It is true that Neda described Islam as more of a cultural thing, but I would think it is still a valid viewpoint as well. People are shaped and defined by their culture as well as their religion. I don’t think there really is anybody who can claim to speak for all Muslims-I cited Neda’s article as a moving testament to how one Muslim victim of 9/11 feels about the project.

            Siraaj, I tnink if the project is built, we should all pray it will succeed, because I would rather be wrong about it being able to function as a bridge, than right and see more hatred and bigotry. But my personal feeling is that although I would hope to see it succeed if it is built, I still would rather see it moved. Just a little, just to show that the pain of the victims does matter.

            If it is built, I don’t think I would ever want to visit it. I think I would find it too painful. I still remember going up in the towers (it was like being in a small airplane and I felt like I could see forever) and I remember standing in line for hours at the blood bank the day the towers went down. I live in California-all I could do to help was donate some blood. I remember my pilgramage to Ground Zero a couple of years ago-I knew I would be upset, but I wasn’t expecting to break down as I did. It’s just too painful for me, on a personal level, to contemplate this project actually succeeding in this location, but that’s just my personal feeling. If it could succeed, that would be a good thing.

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Hi Pandra,

            Like you, I hope the project succeeds as well. I think there are a number of ways the project can demonstrate empathy for the feelings of both the victims and the sensitivities of others and proposals have been made ranging from moving completely away to having a memorial within the center.

            I think there’s a consensus on the point, “Don’t build here,” but I think the reasons vary as well, ranging from insensitivity to outright bigotry, and in between that, we have bigotry disguised as a concern for the victims of 9/11. I think the bigots are leading the discussion and making all the talking points, mixing in their hate with the more innocent emotional feelings of many Americans and conflating them as one and the same.

            The more the bigots own the discussion on this issue, the less likely discussion of alternatives will be viable – the muslim community, even if it was willing to negotiate, would not do so if the final perception is that radical neo-Klansman like Gingrich, Spencer, or Gellar were successful in pulling Muslims down.

            Siraaj

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Pandra,

            You said, “I would have to respectfully disagree, Siraaj. At this point I want to see the developers acknowledge that the concerns-the legitimate concerns-of the opposition because of the pain of the 9/11 victims has been heard.”

            This is what I don’t get. If the pain is not rational, why should we care about it? You keep acknowledging that, yes, there are crackpots who equate anything Islamic with terrorism but they are few in number. My argument is that the only way to be offended by the project, the only way to find the project insensitive, is to use crackpot reasoning!

            My analogies with a Muslim woman praying at Ground Zero itself or a woman named Katrina buying a house in New Orleans are trying to demonstrate to you that we shouldn’t take into account the wacko feelings of crackpots. You agreed. But, neither should we take into account the wacko, crackpot feelings of normal, reasonable people!

            I think you come across very pragmatic when you discuss the failure of the bridge building and therefore why it should be moved. However, you also talk about the legitimate feelings of 9/11 victims. Can you defend their feelings without ending up on the assumption that anything Islamic smacks of terrorism?

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Brandon, you said, “If the pain is not rational, why should we care about it?”

            I’m sorry you feel that way. If we only cared about pain that was rational, a lot of suffering in the world would go unaddressed.

            You also said about me, “You keep acknowledging that, yes, there are crackpots who equate anything Islamic with terrorism but they are few in number. My argument is that the only way to be offended by the project, the only way to find the project insensitive, is to use crackpot reasoning!”

            I must respectfully disagree. There are legitimate reasons to oppose the project.

            You say, “My analogies with a Muslim woman praying at Ground Zero itself or a woman named Katrina buying a house in New Orleans are trying to demonstrate to you that we shouldn’t take into account the wacko feelings of crackpots. You agreed. But, neither should we take into account the wacko, crackpot feelings of normal, reasonable people!”

            Again I must disagree. The pain of the victims of 9/11, which include Muslim victims who oppose this project, is not a wacko crackpot reaction.

            “I think you come across very pragmatic when you discuss the failure of the bridge building and therefore why it should be moved. However, you also talk about the legitimate feelings of 9/11 victims. Can you defend their feelings without ending up on the assumption that anything Islamic smacks of terrorism?”

            Certainly I can defend their feelings. It wasn’t Muslims who brought the towers down. It was terrorists who called themselves Muslims. Ground Zero is now a cemetery for over one thousand people who will have no other resting place. And because of the atrocious way this project has been handled, it has inflamed passions across the world. I don’t think there is any good answer at this point, but a small compromise on either side could be a start to healing this country, if healing is what the supporters and opponents of the project truly want.

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • if Muslims are not responsible, and it is really about sensitivity to the hallowed grounds, then what about the gentlemen’s club… I would say that is much more shameful and insensitive than a community center. Why no rallies against that?

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Pandra said, “I’m sorry you feel that way. If we only cared about pain that was rational, a lot of suffering in the world would go unaddressed.”

            Then why contradict yourself by pooh-poohing the pain suffered by a New Orleans resident offended by a woman named Katrina moving near a levee or someone offended by seeing a Muslim woman praying at actual Ground Zero? To be consistent, you must support the alleviation of their pain even if it flies in the face of the sensible legal desires of others (to pray at Ground Zero or buy a house near a New Orleans levee) because you support the alleviation of 9/11 victim pain to the point that it trumps the quite reasonable legal desire to build a community center blocks away from the site.

            Then you say, “Certainly I can defend their feelings.” But the sentences that follow do not. Instead, you end up arguing a pragmatic, now-that-the-milk-has-been-spilled-let’s-clean-it-up-approach. We really don’t have much of a disagreement there. I can certainly understand arguments for a pragmatic solution.

            What I do not understand and what you have not accomplished is to convince me that the INITIAL negative reactions were reasonable. You keep arguing that we need to put out the fire–fine. What I’m saying, and what I’m trying to get you to say, is that what caused the fire was undefendable irrational ignorance.

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. I also was vehemently against the building of the Park51 mosque due to this description above “that every stereotype you might have of a lovey-dovey fuzzy-wuzzy “sellout” kinda Muslim guy, he’d fit.” ,when we have a wonderful masjid community available teaching Islam based on the proper intellectual means and not dubious means of various tariqas etc etc.

    However this is now turning into a scene where other masjids are forced to close and yet other future projects have lost support and are no more. What’s next, are our Jummah /zuhr services going to be affected since we are at work?

    I hope Muslims realize that by sitting on the sidelines its only going to get worse. We have to step up now, speak now, all those years being afraid of the spotlight allowed for a Tea Party run by a governor who can see “russia outside her window” has caused so much harm. If we don’t provide PR/dawah then everyone will accuse Islam of whatever they fancy and muslims will suffer for it and BLAME the muslim who got the spotlight to shine just that much more intensely upon us. That is how it is shaping up in the legal community with our brothers doing time based on fanciful accusations and those outside of the successfully vague accusation of “material support” will still have to pay a price.

    This is not Imam Feisel’s fault. This was a golden opportunity to damage our community and our enemies made use of it. I hope that we have the resolve to fight this recent fad otherwise the light of our future here will dim. God will have to bless America without our pious brothers and sisters who will rightfully make hijrah out of here… Allahu musta’aan.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. I find it funny that a Iman who that Stated America deserved 9/11 is getting the okay to build a mosque in the area of the incident. Furthermore, he is being paid by Obama’s administration to travel and rally other Arab leaders for what? He is getting him to back him in building the Mosque and make their triumph of America. Muslim world is planning to defeat the free world from within. They will use our laws against us. Oh its religious freedom alright for them to build a Mosque where their brothers in arms took 3000 lives in the name of their religion. Once they get ahold of America, they will institute their Muslim laws. Then all the Liberal idiots will be crying they have no freedom. Too bad idiots for supporting terrorists. If America ends blame the Democrats who support Terrorists and the Republicans who make them with bad decisions. The only way to fix it is to get a new party that believes in the USA and not their own agenda.
    I don’t support no Mosque to reward Terrorism. There shouldn’t be a Mosque in NYC at all if NY was smart.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Confessions of an Economic Hitman.

      Read it.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Even your hero, Glenn “I am a Mormon Prophet” Beck, blamed America for 911 as much as Imam Feisal.

      So, which Democrats should we blame for having him on FOX?

      We also don’t support mosques to reward terrorism, we support them to COUNTER terrorism. A healthy community with a healthy community center and mosque is an antidote to extremism, and that is backed by research. If you don’t believe it, read this too, and recognize how unfortunate your stance is.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Muslim world is planning to defeat the free world from within. They will use our laws against us. Oh its religious freedom alright for them to build a Mosque where their brothers in arms took 3000 lives in the name of their religion. Once they get ahold of America, they will institute their Muslim laws. Then all the Liberal idiots will be crying they have no freedom.

      Looks a bit complicated – not quite sure what happened between “building a mosque” and “getting a hold of America”.

      Siraaj

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • I find it funny that a Iman who that Stated America deserved 9/11 is getting the okay to build a mosque in the area of the incident.

      This is what he actually said:

      The letter from the two Republicans cited remarks Imam Feisal made in an interview with Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes on Sept. 30, 2001, in which he said that there was frustration in the Muslim world “against the policies of the U.S. government, politically, where we espouse principles of democracy and human rights and where we ally ourselves with oppressive regimes in many of these countries.”

      When Mr. Bradley asked, “Are you in any way suggesting that we in the United States deserved what happened?” Imam Feisal noted that Al Qaeda’s leader started his militant career in Afghanistan fighting alongside Islamist militants supported by the U.S. government in their jihad against the Soviet Union:

      I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened, but the United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened…. Because we have been an accessory to a lot of — of innocent lives dying in the world. In fact, it — in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the U.S.A.

      http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/18/u-s-sends-muslim-center-imam-to-arab-world-to-promote-religious-tolerance/

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. This is an interesting piece and overall I agree with the sentiments expressed by our Shaykh Abu Eesa.

    I think the problem, as is often the case, comes back to defining unity. Certainly we can and do support the rigth of Abdul Rauf to build this center. Certainly we should defend him against slanders which falsely claim he is a radical or is seeking to destroy America.

    But, what else do we mean by support? Can we not point out that we have disagreements with Abdul Rauf on certain issues? Are we required as American Muslims to come up with the 100 million for this project? What if we think it would be better to build 50 community centers in disadvantaged communities all across America for 2 million each? Does that mean we are selling out Abdul Rauf? Isn’t there room for a unified community to support each other against injustice but still differ on priorities, methodology and other issues?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Like all projects, I think people donate what they think appropriate of their resources, money for some, rhetoric for others.

      Siraaj

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • No doubt this is true as individuals, Siraaj. But as we progress as a community we will be better off if we can start to pool our resources and effectively set priorities. This is closely related to the whole concept of fardh kifayah. We should try to avoid the situation where we have many projects which may have some benefit but are not completely necessary, meanwhile having many absolute necessities going unmet.

        One of the worst ways to set priorities would be for some small group to announce a wildly ambitious project without the resources in place, and then have the project generate controversy and media attention, then have the community feel the responsibility to have to make this project our priority or the bigots will have won.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • But as we progress as a community we will be better off if we can start to pool our resources and effectively set priorities.

          That’s a tall order for our community.

          One of the worst ways to set priorities would be for some small group to announce a wildly ambitious project without the resources in place, and then have the project generate controversy and media attention, then have the community feel the responsibility to have to make this project our priority or the bigots will have won.

          Too late on that one I guess.

          Siraaj

          Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Salaam Alaikum

    Ustadh Abu Eesa, great article. In fact, if I had written it I couldn’t have done a better job :)

    Yasir

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. What do the Taliban think?

    Taliban Operatives Using Protests Against Park 51 to Get ‘More Recruits, Donations and Popular Support’

    “By preventing this mosque from being built, America is doing us a big favor,” Taliban operative Zabihullah tells NEWSWEEK. (Like many Afghans, he uses a single name.) “It’s providing us with more recruits, donations, and popular support.”

    Recruitment winning line:
    “Look, Americans hate mosques and hate Islam… See how these Americans abuse insults against the Prophet and slander the religion. America is at war with Islam. Do you want any more proof. Join our struggle”

    Thanks Geller. Thanks Spencer. Thanks Newt. Thanks Palin. Thanks Beck. All of you have now directly abetted who you claim the mosque was made for. For every inch Muslims work to reclaim Islam from extremists, people like you gift the inch, nay a foot back. Hope you all are really proud of your work.

    Here’s our tweet shout-out, PLS RT & tweet yourself… Let them hear it!

    Thx @GLENNBECK @sarahpalinusa @jihadwatchRS @newtgingrich @pamelageller 4 abetting Taliban on #Park51. Proud?! http://bit.ly/c8XtRn. Pls RT

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • The name Taliban is mentioned with alot of prejiduce. Now before we jump to conclusions, Afghanistan was much better off before the US invasion. The taliban had succeeded in curbing the growth of poppies (Heroin). Anyways, what I’m saying is we shouldn’t regard to the taliban negatively, they may well be truthful. Allahu A’alam. One thing we know for sure is that the American Government is wrong for invading Iraq and Afghanistan.

      Know your enemy.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Ah the Taliban, nothing but a well-thought out figment of the American imagination conjured up to masquerade their own wrong doings.

    Why are people so deliberately misinformed especially in the matters of religion? FIrstly, it is not even a mosque per se since in arabic masjid can be of numerous categories. It needs to be made acorrding to islamic shareeah, be structurally sound and without extragavence or decoration. The place in question will be, inshAllah, a cultural centre aimed to bridge the gaping chasm which has developed between muslims and the non muslims through mostly lack of religious knowledge.This centre will have a basketball court in its backyard for crying out loud. Moreover, the actual place of prayer will be, if im not mistaken, a small place compared to the rest of the building.

    Secondly, it is about 3-4 blocks away from ground zero. A place which after 9/11 seems like a ghost town.

    Just to conclude, i have seen people carrying banners stating that “Muslims build mosques at the place of their conquest”. Erm, not true at all. In extreme circumstances a muslim can pray inside a church. I hail from Pakistan, and i know of many churches in places which were conquered by muslim rulers of the past. They are still there, standing and being used.

    Personally i feel, this whole debacle is just another ploy to detract the people from another plot to demean the muslims.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. As stated, I think Imam Feisel cannot afford to lose this battle, although if this is about building a bridge and not being politically in tune to the plots of your detractors, this whole PR debacle was a major failure. On one hand if he backs down we have a precedent and a formula to prevent other masjids from being built as is happening across the country, on the other hand many people would probably be too afraid to visit this place anyway due to the scandal and the potential harm that stands in our way or the hit our reputation would take.

    We are in need of a civil rights movement where we are educated on how to act and react to the machinations of people who don’t like us and will use any excuse not to like us. We cannot be naive and hope everyone likes Islam when we aren’t making efforts in dawah, or making strides to spread the message of Islam. We also need to realize that they may learn to tolerate us, but until they take shahadah Shaytan may still breed enmity and suspicion between us as he does so well with our co-religionists.

    We also cannot afford to show up on the news because some Muslim got arrested while their only crime was talking to federal agent under no compulsion and having flimsy bogus charges thrown on them. All this requires the efforts of our leaders to educate themselves and pass it down to us in the masjid. We have to recognize our bogey-man status and combat this reputation instead of trying and hoping that everyone else realizes “I’m not like those guys I’m one of you”. Assimilating into the host culture and annihilating our own cultures didn’t work in Bosnia, Serbia, Chechnya, India etc and it isn’t going to work here for the forseeable future since we are seen as outsiders.

    I’m not a scholar, and students of knowledge would laugh if I claimed to be one, but isn’t there an ayah towards the end of Al-Anfal cough*8:73*cough ? I don’t want to seem like I’m making ijtihad here so whoever wants can look into the ayah and research what the proper authorities have said. And maybe some of our proper authorities at MM can comment too inshaAllah.

    But the dawah has to start amongst us and end with the world so we can work beyond the political machinations of these glorified-redneck-conservative-bible-thumping-tools-of-Iblees himself- Tea Party advocates inshaAllah.

    May He bless us to seek our guidance from the Quran and Sunnah. Ameen.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. I got no problem disassociating with the progressives.

    Ed Hussain link on Park 51′s facebook account? No thanks.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Greetings Pandra,
    You said,”Siraaj, I think if the project is built, we should all pray it will succeed, because I would rather be wrong about it being able to function as a bridge, than right and see more hatred and bigotry. But my personal feeling is that although I would hope to see it succeed if it is built, I still would rather see it moved. Just a little, just to show that the pain of the victims does matter. ”

    I also believe CI is divisive and that it should be moved. However, not for the reasons such as showing sensitivity to the pain of 9/11 families.
    Why is it difficult for some to understand that Islam is not responsible for 9/11.
    That Muslims and Islam should not be blamed for the actions of some Crazies who have much in common with Timothy McVeigh or the Columbine shooters.
    That what occurred on that day went against the beliefs and convictions of Islam and Muslims.
    If the project is moved, it should be moved because the haters will probably burn it down, because the PR was atrocious and because somewhere high up in U.S politics someone ok’ed Islamophobia and it would be great to temporarily pull the proverbial ‘rug from under their feet.’
    Nevertheless, I’m sure they will find another way to blame Islam and Muslims for the actions of a few.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Greetings, Umm Bilqis. You said, “I also believe CI is divisive and that it should be moved. However, not for the reasons such as showing sensitivity to the pain of 9/11 families.
      Why is it difficult for some to understand that Islam is not responsible for 9/11.”

      I have never believed that Islam is responsible for 9/11. My personal feeling is that decent Muslims everywhere are shamed by what happened, much as decent Christians are shamed by Adolf Hitler and the horrors he committed in the name of Christianity. When crazies commit atrocities in the name of religion, I believe they shame the decent people who follow the religion. NOT because the decent people are in any way responsible. I will repeat that. DECENT PEOPLE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS OF BAD PEOPLE WHO COMMIT EVIL IN THE NAME OF THEIR RELIGION.

      But, just by virtue of being decent people, by virtue of having a normal conscience, we feel guilty for bad things we are not responsible for. And it almost seems like the more decent the person, and the less responsible for the evil, the more they suffer undeserved guilt and shame from the actions of crackpots who do evil things. It’s one of the great mysteries of the universe. That’s enough philosophy-I don’t know if I explained myself properly and I sincerely hope I have not said anything to offend.

      Anyway, I would be curious as to why you seem to feel it would be inappropriate to move the center out of respect to the feelings of the 9/11 families. My personal feeling is that this is the only reason it WOULD be appropriate to move the center, much like the feelings of the Jews was the only reason to move the nuns out of Auschwitz, and why a Japanese cultural center would never be appropriate at Pearl Harbor.

      You also said, “If the project is moved, it should be moved because the haters will probably burn it down, because the PR was atrocious and because somewhere high up in U.S politics someone ok’ed Islamophobia and it would be great to temporarily pull the proverbial ‘rug from under their feet.’
      Nevertheless, I’m sure they will find another way to blame Islam and Muslims for the actions of a few.”

      That is my fear too-that people who hate Muslims will attack the center. I pray nothing like that will ever happen. And I fear if the center is a success, and bridges are indeed built, that the crackpots who claim to be Muslims, like the ones who brought the towers down, might attack it because they don’t want bridges. But that, I am afraid, is going be a problem anywhere, and I don’t think the center should be moved just because it might come under attack. The extremists on both sides, Muslims and non-Muslims, are not going to want a bridge anywhere because they have too much at stake as long as there is hate. Any bridge anywhere is going to need the good guys, Muslim and non-Muslim, to stand together and defend it.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Okay Pandra, the Auschwitz incident isa pure fabrication… how deceptive can neocons like Krauthammer be!

        Unfortunately, like every other flash point in this ginned-up non-controversy controversy, Krauthammer’s deftly dropped factoid is — you guessed it — 100% false.
        Not only is there a Catholic center for prayer and understanding within several blocks of the former Nazi gas chambers and torture cells at Auschwitz — not only was it put there with the blessing of Catholic leadership after the Carmelite controversy — but, and this is key: it is a wonderful place that achieves peaceful outcomes commensurate with those the planners of Park51 have proposed to bring to Manhattan.

        the Nation of Japan WAS responsible for Pearl Harbor. The nation of Islam is NOT responsible for 911, just like KKK’s firebombing of black churches or Westboro Church’s rallying against troops, does not represent the nation of Christianity. You can read more on the refutation of this tired analogy in the link I provided before.

        So, with the Auschwitz Catholic church example, will you now move to the right side? :)

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Pandra, 3 quick points. ( Sorry I’m in a rush).

    1) In Islam we believe no soul bears the sins of others.

    2) What is shameful is that politicians all over the world have exploited 9/11 to crack down on innocent Muslims.

    3) You misunderstood my point about the move. They should move so that Islamophobia is not given a forum by those who wish to get elected.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Amad, the story about the nuns at Auschwitz is not a fabrication. You cited a blog entry about how there is a group of nuns close to Auschwitz. I am delighted they didn’t go too far, but they DID have to move after the Pope decided they were too close to the concentration camp, because it was upsetting the Jews. I will post the link to the article in the New York Times again. I would respectfully say that I will take a newspaper article in the New York Times (they have to be able to verify their stories) over a blog entry, even a well-informed and credible blog entry. Bloggers are not held accountable for what they write.
    http://www.nytimes.com/1993/04/15/world/pope-orders-nuns-out-of-auschwitz.html

    Actually, though, the blogger makes my point. The nuns are able to do wonderful things in the location where they are at now. They moved a little, and now they are able to do a lot of good. It’s a good example of how a small concession can lead to a great work.

    In any case, I would respectfully disagree that I am on the wrong side. I am not happy that there are so many Islamophobes on this side, but there are also moderate Muslims and the Jewish Anti-Defamation League. I’m not in all bad company. And the other side is not in all good company, because too many of the supporters of the mosque are calling the opposition all bigots and Islamophobes. I’m very thankful I’ve been dealt with in charity on this thread and that I have been able to air my thoughts and feelings and opinions without being attacked. It’s good to know dialogue is possible even when there is disagreement. It gives me hope.

    Well, I have already said if the center is built where it is, I will pray for its success-yes, and its safety too. But I still would like to see it moved a little farther away. It’s not a rational thought I can examine the facts and change my mind about. I, too, am in pain about what happened on 9/11, and I feel that my pain and the pain of all the victims has been dismissed. I hope there will be a concession on the part of the developers and that they will not build in this location. I probably would feel differently if it had been handled differently from the beginning, but I’m not a person to think about what-might-have-been. The reality is that the project was handled very poorly and it has become a huge cause of strife. Whether or not better PR would have helped that situation is, to me, water under the bridge. Now I think both sides need to compromise.

    PS-Thank you for posting the link to the other thread. I will have to say I totally disagree that the nation of Japan was responsible for Pearl Harbor. That was a military decision and I know for a fact there are still Japanese being wrongfully held responsible today for something that happened before they were born. A Japanese friend of mine gets the occasional nut snarling at her about Pearl Harbor, and I sometimes hear comments at the Japanese Friendship Garden where I’m a member.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Pandra,

    I agree with many of your points regarding the sensitivity towards the families, the lack of decent PR, etc.

    Its also refreshing to finally have read an internet discourse on this subject involving someone as yourself. I see your scincerity on this topic and though you’ve previously stated that the bigots are unfortunately louder (aiding mine and others’ surprise at the way you’ve discussed the issue), i hope you can direct us to forums where more individuals such as yourself are discussing this matter, or invite them to post here :). That being said…

    There is one aspect about this discussion which I think isn’t being understood. Excuse my lack of command of the English language in articulating points but I’ll try my best and pray its good enough to get the point across without causing further confusion.

    On a personal level, as stated, I understand your sentiments on the matter and 9/11 as a whole. On a similar personal level, I know if ever sat down with a 9/11 widow, I couldn’t help but be 100% compasionate towards her and her loss and understand or better yet, comprehend why she is opposed to the Islamic Center in that location. Both are emotionally based however as has been discussed so I can be compassionate but

    Here’s a point which I felt may not have resonated with you regarding this (upon reading all your posts) . These issues are not occuring in a vacuum. There are very real ramifications regarding how this case proceeds forward, which in my humble opinion, far outweigh any “emotions” (in the grand scheme of things).

    Despite what I’m sure is a large number of understanding and compassionate Americans such as yourself who under what us Muslims are on the verge of, there are many others who do not. Many of these others are on our television sets, stroking keyboards at prominent editorials, and behind pens which write policies.

    Though I too have disagreements regarding this project (as the original article was meant to highlight), I genuninely feel any compromise will be seen by many different from yourself as a victory and subsequently and immediately put a stamp on the notion of Muslims being second class and in the minds of many (who already have their mind made up) “officially” link Islam to 9/11. We can’t afford that. We simply can’t.

    So yes on a personal level I comprehend the pain of a 9/11 family opposed to it…I understand that their wounds have been reopenned (whether they were opened 9 months ago when the prayer space became operational or it was a scab picked at and opened by others for financial/political gain in an election year is a tangent point). But in my mind those wounds do not trump the ramifications of a compromise.

    Simple fact is that the lack of PR, planning ahead, etc has lead this project to be not nearly as successful as it could have been. But that is an issue for the stakeholders of this project to deal with. So yes, they will personally face backlash by not “compromising” and keeping it there. But moving it even 1 block further has much greater negetive impact for millions of Muslims across the US and potentially the 1+billion worldwide.

    If there were more people such as yourself directing the opposition’s narrative (and subsequently the public opinion on this matter, mosques across the US, and Muslims as a whole), I would be much more comfortable in saying a compromise would be a win/win situation.

    Unforunately that is not the case. Right wing news media likely would never have someone like you leading or even contributing to this narrative and unfortunately because of the divisive nature in which this debate has been carried out, it has now become a lose/lose situation especially from a Muslim perspective.

    The first loss will be incurred by this center in building the bridges not nearly as well as I assume it had set out to, but that’s a loss more for the developers behind the project, the sensitivities of several families, and maybe even an emotional loss to many others (though I still think if they tried harder to disassociate Islam with 9/11, they may not suffer that loss). The loss to the developers (financial or otherwise) is at least something you could say is a result of their own doing to a degree(lack of better planning, PR, etc)

    The alternative loss is to move, which is much more weighty upon many more people. The Muslims overall don’t deserve the loss of being stamped second class in the court of public opinion. We can’t incur this loss. I think you know which side of this lose/lose situation I’m on.

    As ironic as this statement will sound, the “compromise” of moving this “Ground Zero Mosque” will be seen as a victory by many Americans AGAINST Islam and Muslims. Objections to mosques will increase, hate crimes will increase, discrimination as a whole will increase.

    I scincerely you hope you can understand and appreciate this aspect even if you don’t agree with it.

    -Farhan

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Greetings, Farhan. First of all, let me congratulate you on your command of the English language. You have written a beautifully worded post and I will quote from it, as I wish to address your points correctly. Though I must protest you give me far too much credit-I am just one poor individual struggling with my own pain over 9/11 and praying for enlightenment as to how I should respond to this situation. And I don’t know anybody else who feels the way I do-most of the people I know are inflexibly against the mosque, and some of them think Islam is a demon religion and that anybody in a turban is hiding a bomb in there. So I can’t invite anybody else to post here, and I’m just glad I have found some people to dialogue with, even if I don’t agree with everything that is said.

      On to your post. You said, “Here’s a point which I felt may not have resonated with you regarding this (upon reading all your posts) . These issues are not occuring in a vacuum. There are very real ramifications regarding how this case proceeds forward, which in my humble opinion, far outweigh any “emotions” (in the grand scheme of things)….Though I too have disagreements regarding this project (as the original article was meant to highlight), I genuninely feel any compromise will be seen by many different from yourself as a victory and subsequently and immediately put a stamp on the notion of Muslims being second class and in the minds of many (who already have their mind made up) “officially” link Islam to 9/11. We can’t afford that. We simply can’t.”

      I do understand your concern in this matter. I feel it’s a legitimate concern, and one that must be addressed by both sides. However, I don’t feel it should stand in the way of a compromise, because the crazies see Muslims, any Muslims, as being evil people who shouldn’t even be on this planet. We are always going to be burdened by these people-it’s just a fact of life we will all have to deal with. Yes, if the center was moved even one block, some people will howl with triumph and call it a victory over Islam. I don’t think we can afford to let such hate-mongers dictate policy. I can’t be the only person in the country who opposes this project at this location who would see a small move as an act of kindness by the developers. I just can’t believe I’m the only person who would whole-heartedly support this project if there was some small concession. I’m not that good of a person-there must be thousands and thousands of people out there who would also support the project if it was moved just a little.

      You also said, “in my mind those wounds do not trump the ramifications of a compromise.”

      I have to respectfully disagree with you on this point. My personal feeling (this is just me) is that the only valid reason to move the project would be to respect the victims. I think if there is no compromise, the battle will be won but the war will be lost and more people will see Muslims as uncompromising and uncaring. I have seen in the news today that people want the project moved anywhere from five to twenty blocks. That’s too far. The opponents have to compromise too. A small move by the developers, accepting that move by the opponents-these are the things that could build a true bridge between Muslims and non-Muslims, which I think would be far more important in the long run than both sides digging in their heels. It may be there is no good answer at this point and we should go with the lesser of two evils. My own humble opinion is that the lesser evil would be a small compromise on both sides.

      You said, “The Muslims overall don’t deserve the loss of being stamped second class in the court of public opinion. We can’t incur this loss. I think you know which side of this lose/lose situation I’m on.”

      I can see which side you’re on. I’m with you on the issue of Muslims being second-class citizens. It’s not right, and every time a group of people is branded in this manner in the United States, it has been a disaster. We’re still apologizing for slavery, and Tule Lake, and McCarthyism, and the Salem witch trials. I have an uneasy feeling years from now, Muslims will be added to the dismal list of categories over which Americans lost their heads and betrayed their ideals.

      But I can’t be with you on the no-compromise stance. At this point, after all the misery that has been caused by both sides, I want to see a compromise. I wish the project would be moved-just a little, and that the developers would acknowledge (not apologize, just acknowledge) that the pain of the 9/11 victims will be a factor in any future endeavors. And I wish the opponents, if there is even the tiniest concession from the developers, would accept it and support the project, so this nation can get on with healing.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Thanks for posting. I have to agree about making a compromise. If the project had being carried out with more foresight this wouldn’t be necessary. But currently to mend a bridge after such a controversy which has certainly without doubt opened wounds, it is our responsibility as Muslims, and as Americans to rethink our current tactic. After all this is only a structure, and we can certainly continue to build centers for the sake of keeping good relations with fellow citizens and worship. Muslim are certainly in a difficult position today, and it makes no sense to hold the bull by its horn on this issue. We have failed to do a better job in getting this completed and as a consequence must bear a simple consequence. We can gracefully put this in hold until things settle down or simply scrap this idea until a more opportune time. This is a learning experience for both sides. In fact this is an opportunity for American Muslims to show many Americans, and much of Europe, why we believe sensibilities are important to us, and its not simply a matter of exercising one’s right : weather drawing cartoons or threatening to burn flags, Quran etc. we must consider that freedoms are not absolute, nor are they mutually exclusive, we must do the right thing for the majority. If tomorrow a newspaper decides to print or air bigotry, let’s make them remember why sensibilities are also important to us through this event.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • God bless you, GreenTea. I am reminded of Pope John Paul II’s comment when he ordered the Carmelite nuns to leave the convent they had established at Auschwitz. He in no way devalued their heartfelt mission to pray for the souls of the dead. He was teaching them a lesson in respect when he said, “This is not your place, it belongs to others. However pure your voice, better to let silence reign.”

          Ground Zero is not a Muslim place, or a Jewish place, or a Christian place. It is an American place. However pure the intention to build a religious bridge here, it is better to let silence reign. I also would like to point out that after the Carmelite nuns moved a negligible distance, they were able to open the kind of place they had dreamed about, one that serves people in a worthy manner.

          I believe with the lessons learned from this project, if there is a compromise, it will be possible to build a bridge between Muslims and non-Muslims in another location that will be a credit to Americans here and Muslims everywhere.

          Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Here is a third option.

    Let the project be put on hold.
    The whole world has become directly or indirectly victimized by the actions of the 9/11 crackpots.
    Perhaps in the future, those who are now opposed to it will become more enlightened and Allaah aza wajal will heal our hearts and their hearts.
    Ameen.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. The Islamophobia being fomented by the politicians is due to the wars.
    The Armageddon/ Park (Area) 51 Musalla is being used as an excuse to increase hatred.
    The Stop the war Coalition In the U.K have linked the vilification of All Muslims to an effort to maintain support for the unjust wars.

    George Galloway on Defending the Muslims.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. Im truly embarrassed by some of the comments people are leaving here because its obvious they are either misinformed or just under educated and over opinionated. Americans need to remember that one of the basic results of living in a free country is that you don’t have the right to NOT be offended. Im very offended by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. But I don’t have the right to take those tools away from those who like them, so I don’t watch Fox News or listen to Limbaugh. Most the the people against Park51 have never even been to NYC but they have such strong opinions about whats appropriate.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Greetings, Damien. You said, “Most the the people against Park51 have never even been to NYC but they have such strong opinions about whats appropriate.”

      Once upon a time I lived in New Jersey, so close to New York that I could see the World Trade Center at night-it looked like a big number 11 on the New York skyline. I remember going to the World Trade Center as a teenager. I remember what it was like to be at the top of the tallest tower and look out over the panorama. I remember where I was and how I felt the moment I heard the towers had fallen. And I remember the day I went to Ground Zero two years ago. I didn’t have any hatred in my heart that day, only an overwhelming grief for all the dead who would have no other resting place.

      I don’t think, however, that living near New York City or visiting the towers or making a pilgramage to Ground Zero gives me any special prerogative. 9/11 was a profoundly Amercian experience-whether a person was Jewish, Christian, Muslim, pagan, atheist, or whatever, it was something that affected everybody in this country. We are all equally invested and have equal rights in Ground Zero, much like the Statue of Liberty belongs to us all. There are things that belong to us as a people, and Ground Zero is something every American has an equal right to weigh in on about what’s appropriate.

      I think it’s pretty clear what the majority of the people want in this case, and I don’t think it’s because three-fourths of the population of the United States are Islamophobic ignorant bigots. Most people are not objecting to the mosque, but the location. I am objecting to this location-it has failed as a bridge and I believe that if the developers are truly more interested in healing the wounds of this country than asserting their rights, they will compromise about the location.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Problem is, it was a mosque for years and none of you knew about it.

        Then they decided they needed to update the eyesore of a building (inside and out) and add a Muslim YMCA to it (along with a 9/11 memorial, etc).

        So no, the Muslims should not leave a building they have owned for years.
        The mosque 4 blocks away is overcapacity and the people in lower Manhattan need a place to pray.

        That’s all that needs to be said. Take out the Muslim chapel out of the Pentagon and the Walter Reed hospital and then we can talk about sensitivity.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • “Muslims should not leave a building they have owned for years….”

          “if one has a short-attention span attuned to the news and political cycle, then yeah, it’s failed as a bridge-builder….”

          “this issue is not going to be as easy to sweep away as many hope….”

          Greetings, all. I have quoted these latest comments to highlight a point I have been trying to make, and will continue to work on because the people here seem reasonable and well-educated.

          If this project is meant to be a mosque to serve Muslims, then by all means it should be built wherever Muslims want it. That’s their right under the First Amendmant.

          However, if this project is meant to be a bridge between Muslims and non-Muslims, it has already failed. If it was going to be a success, it would not need to wait for the building to be opened. A true bridge would already be bringing us together, and we would be seeing people of all faiths raising money to build the center, and talking about how it is a good thing. Instead there is more strife between Muslims and non-Muslims now than at any time since 9/11.

          Peace between two sides cannot be only on the terms of one side. That bears repeating. PEACE BETWEEN TWO SIDES CANNOT BE ONLY ON THE TERMS OF ONE SIDE.

          Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • You are missing my point.

            The building has been open for years and had the support of non-Muslim council members, politicians and even 9/11 families. There are non-Muslims on the board.

            Only after they decided to renovate the building and certain people decided to try to sell some books/win some elections did opinions shift.

            That shift in opinion is temporary and based out of fear-mongering and hate rather than “sensitivity”.

            And let’s be clear, Muslims haven’t changed their position on non-Muslims at all and I’d say many non-Muslims who have actually met with Muslims haven’t changed either.

            We are only witnessing what happens when viral media meets outright bigotry.

            Finally, concessions have been made and will continue to be made, but the primary and original purpose of this building is to serve the Muslims.
            Inter-faith and building bridges is secondary. If people want to burn our bridges because of some political proximity word game, then so be it.

            We will continue to rebuild the bridges, but we will not leave, God willing.

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Well, if one has a short-attention span attuned to the news and political cycle, then yeah, it’s failed as a bridge-builder. If one has the long view in mind, they’ll realize this a moment in time, a blip really, and history will decide this one.

        I’m of the latter opinion, and I suspect the same is true of those in charge of this project.

        Siraaj

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Greetings, Asim. You said, “You are missing my point.

          The building has been open for years and had the support of non-Muslim council members, politicians and even 9/11 families. There are non-Muslims on the board.

          Only after they decided to renovate the building and certain people decided to try to sell some books/win some elections did opinions shift.

          That shift in opinion is temporary and based out of fear-mongering and hate rather than “sensitivity”.”

          I am not missing your point. I am disagreeing with your point. If you wish to believe the opinion of three-fourths of the American people is temporary and fear-mongering and hateful, that is certainly your right. However, I do not think such a large majority of people is only responding to politicians. Ground Zero is a deeply personal and emotional thing, not a rational thing.

          You also said, “concessions have been made.”

          I would like to ask, what concessions are you talking about? The imam saying on CNN that he realized he made a mistake with this location? When adults make mistakes, they correct their mistakes. Only spoiled children insist on having their own way no matter what.

          You said, “the primary and original purpose of this building is to serve the Muslims.”

          Fine. Let it be a mosque to serve Muslims and stop talking about bridges. A bridge only works when the two sides it is meant to connect agree on it. My personal feeling is that peace between Muslims and non-Muslims at this point is more important than another mosque, particularly when the governor of New York offered to help find another location for a mosque and Donald Trump offered a 25% profit, which would help fund another mosque, but that is just my personal opinion.

          Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • He didn’t say it was a mistake, he said in retrospect, had he known all this fuss would have occurred, he would not have done the project – remember, the project was announced last december with no fanfare whatsoever, front page nytimes.

            Your post demonstrates you’ve missed the point of his statement – in acknowledging that he would not have gone ahead with the project had he known all would occur, hindsight being 20/20, there are more than 9/11 family or US sensitivity issues to deal with (that would have been the only thing to deal with “had he known”, there’s more than that now), that being:

            1. Invoking 9/11 as a means to rally public opinion against Islam and Muslims.
            2. The public perception that America is against Muslims.

            The latter is more the imam’s concern, the former being the rest of us. So while it would be nice to accommodate the irrational emotions of the 68% of the country (3/4ths is 75%, let’s stay away from adding 7 whole percentage points ;)), our own interests and well-being are at stake – the zealots in the American populace are, again, leading the discussion and forcing the Muslim to no recourse except to exercise their legal rights to preserve their dignity and social integrity within the American community.

            In other words, the message is, we’re here to promote good morals, values, character, and community well-being, but if you don’t want to like us because of a handful of extremists in our community, rest assured you will not step on us, nor will your propaganda to brainwash 68% of the population with an irrational thought process move us from what you and I both know is right.

            Siraaj

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • According to Time magazine, only 37% of Americans actually know a Muslim. So 68% percent, or whatever the trumped up number by biased questionnaires is today, is easy to understand.

            Also, the survey pool is poisoned. We are not a people unaffected by media.
            When the former speaker of the House compares Muslims to nazis and Fox News spends hundreds of hours labeling the imam as an extremist/terrorist and the center as a future breeding round for terrorism, what do you expect?

            If all I knew was what the right-wing pundits were saying, then I’d be against the center too.

            And no, we will continue to talk about building bridges while continuing the project, God willing.

            Had we not been there for years and not had the support of the local community and councils before the freak-out, then one could argue about bridge burning.

            But that’s not the case. You still haven’t understood you wouldn’t know a single thing about this center if some crazies didn’t use anti-Islamic rhetoric to malign the center and therefore get media attention.

            So no, we will not give legitimacy to the issue of ‘sensitivity’ because it based on hate and fear mongering. We have nothing to do with Al-Qaeda just as a Christian has nothing to do with Timothy Mcveigh or the KKK.

            We pray in the Pentagon, in Walter Reed hospital and we even prayed in both of the World Trade Center towers.

            An abandoned Burlington Coat Factory located to 2 massive city blocks away from Ground Zero that has been used as a mosque for years and now has plans to redevelop the decrepit building is not something one can logically be sensitive about.

            Again I repeat, any sensitivity associated with the building is based out of fear, hate, ignorance or wrongful association with terrorist groups that we can NEVER legitimize.

            Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • My reference was to people having no idea where Park51 is exactly in relation to ground zero. My question to you is that if two city blocks away is too close, how far away is acceptable? To be completely honest there is a McDonalds very close to ground zero and that food is responsible for more death and health issues than 9/11 so lets protest that as well. I know you think Im joking but my point is where does the madness stop? Also, just because its reported 70% of people are against something doesn’t mean that the 70% are correct. I believe at one point in America 70% of Americans polled thought it was okay for a restaurant to not serve a black person and that was wrong as well. One last thing, I have never known anyone, who has known anyone that has ever participated in one of these polls. These polls and their results are nothing but tools used to get people to go along with whatever idea is trying to be pushed onto the general public at the time.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Unfortunately, this issue is not going to be as easy to sweep away as many hope, and Allah azawajal knows best.
    It is the indication of a new social-political reality for Muslims in America.
    We will deal with more haters with demented views and as this article highlights reasoning with most of them will be quite futile.

    http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2010/08/most-terrifying-of-all-battles-when.html

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Link to an Aljazeera special that touches upon many relevant topics such as Islamophobia, Armageddon Mosque, and the power of perception versus reality among other things.

    Empire Special: Islam and America

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply

Scroll To Top