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July 14th, 2010
10:26 AM ET

Mosque near ground zero?

Emotions are running high in New York city, over a proposal to build a mosque and Muslim community center just blocks from ground zero. The city's landmarks preservation commission is deciding whether a century-old building in lower Manhattan is worth preserving. Tempers flared at a hearing yesterday. CNN's Deb Feyerick reports.

Filed under: Controversy
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Colleen

    To those who would keep an interfaith community center from being built in the vicinity of the 9/11 attacks, I would like to ask if they would keep any Christian churches from being erected near the Murrow Building in OK City or near the Woman's Clinic in B'ham due to the terror attacks which occurred in both cases by extremist Christians?

    July 20, 2010 at 7:40 am |
  2. Travis

    In response to David Steele. You are correct about Timothy McVeigh but you are forgetting a couple important points. One would be McVeigh became radicalized through a White Power Militia organization. Although there are many like them in existence they are a blip on the big picture. Second 9-11 was an attack by a well funded Muslim based organization that has declared war on a America. Such organizations often get aid and comfort from State Govts in that region because most are ruled by Muslim Law and full of sympathizers. McVeigh was financed by a small group with limited resources. 9-11 financed by Al Qaeda who at the very least is run by a Saudi Multi Billionaire with a massive network of international connections. Do you see why the comparisons, while at the root are similar causing that same visceral response, cant fairly be compared?

    July 20, 2010 at 1:38 am |
  3. Travis

    I am a former soldier who has served in that region and I know without a doubt in my heart that this is an obvious attempt to spit in our face! They hate what our country stands for but use our freedoms against us to slap us in the face. To the person who said if they built a church no one would say anything I would agree, but then again I dont remember it being Christian Terrorists hijacking planes and declaring Holy War! If reasonable moderate, AMERICAN or not, Muslims do not start showing their outrage over extremist rhetoric in a moral noticeable manner they will only feel more of the pain of bigotry. Racism is the result of ignorance and FEAR. We see Anti American protests all the time but never see Pro America response.Even the S. Koreans started having pro U.S. counter protests after they found out the North had Nuclear capability. I know because I saw it first hand. I know most followers of Islam are good peaceful people because i've met them, but you need to force your voice to be heard. It is your religion after all. You can no longer stand on the side lines because of fear or apathy. We need you

    July 20, 2010 at 1:25 am |
  4. Final Peace

    When I first read the headline, my knee-jerk reaction was to be shocked that anyone would support this. It seemed like this construction, would just further divide Christians and Muslims and their viewpoints.

    After thinking about it for a while, I thought it would be a bold move to build an Islamic center near the sight. Maybe it would show the world the peace that Islam stands for, instead of the fanaticism that the terrorists called "Islam".

    However, my final thoughts are that building any religious structure may be a bad idea. Instead, a tribute/museum to the dangers of hatred may be more appropriate. History has shown many examples of political and religious persecution from the 9/11 attack to Hitler's extermination of the Jews to KKK lynchings and etc.... In each case, people have used the excuse of 'religion' or 'racial purification' to spread hate and violence. To move forward and truely have peace, we need to realize that hate is not the answer.

    July 19, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
  5. fuwad84

    Gee it's too bad we don't have a piece of paper that acts as the supreme law of the land to tell us whether these guys can build a mosque or not. Oh whats that? We do! And what does it say about that? 'Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or PROHIBITING the free exercise thereof'. Hmmm, so have they broken any laws? No! Ok do they own the land that they're building the Mosque on? They do! I see. I believe that same piece of paper covers this issue as well 'No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State DEPRIVE any person of life, liberty, or PROPERTY, without due process of law; nor DENY to any person within its jurisdiction the equal PROTECTION of the LAWS'. Hmm now I don't see a clause anywhere in that stating that we do not have to follow through on any of these if we don't feel like it.

    Thank God we're a free country where anyone of any faith can practice anywhere she or he pleases, after all that's kind of America's whole motto: Freedom this Freedom that – you defiantly won't get that out of a self proclaimed theocracy like Saudi Arabia, which is why it's kinda silly to use the whole "oh but I can't build a cathedral or synagogue over there" argument.

    Speaking of crazy arguments you know whats another funny thing, there actually IS a Japanese temple near Ford Island ( the site of Pearl Harbor) the Byodo-In Temple and it was actually commemorated by the governor of Hawaii in the 1960s as a way to celebrate Japanese American's bond with our nation.

    Weird huh, hey whats that whirring noise I hear? Oh its racist right wingers crazy ass arguments going down the toilet. You guys can't even come up with any decent oppsoition not based on racism and I thought you New Yorkers were smarter than everyone else. Even in Orland Park, IL a town faaar dumber than most, the racist idiots were at least able to come up with 'parking and traffic issues' as a decent argument to oppose a new mosque – it still got built though after the Mayor realized we live in America.

    Now you're gonna try to go against this from a, get this, ARCHITECTURAL point of view! FOR REAL! ARE YOU FOR REAL? After hearing some of the idiotic rants coming from most of you I'd definitely have to say that you guys are WAAAAAAAAY outta your league.

    Finally I want to leave you all wit this thought and a question. Muslim American's were also effected by the events of 9/11. They to perished working in those office building, for the World Trade Organization. They to wear the uniform and serve in our military, they to contribute to our society and our well being. Many of them were born here and most will die here – serving our nation and our people in one form or other just like every other American. My question to you is how are Muslim-American's some how no longer American with respect to 9/11?

    July 16, 2010 at 5:55 am |
  6. Doobey

    You can't build non-islamic places of worship in Muslim countries for the most part, so why the hell should it be the other way around? And more so, why on the 9/11 site? JUST SAY "NO!"

    July 15, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
  7. YankeeNovember

    I felt badly for this girl in need of defense herself for defending the way-too-soon and preposterous idea a 14 story Mosque would resound "peace" in America?

    July 15, 2010 at 8:21 am |
  8. J X

    Islam is about domination not about peace, every non Moslem should understand the Islamic concept of Dhimmi to expose the facade that Islam is a religion of peace. Moslem are trying to lull non moslem into believing that it is a religion of peace this why they talk about interface relations, IT IS JUST A CHARADE.

    July 15, 2010 at 12:47 am |
  9. Charlise

    Please ......Please Don't allowed Muslimm Mosque in New York City.
    Look arround the world .,Islam is only problems in this world,

    July 14, 2010 at 8:48 pm |
  10. Stephen Densmore

    It's a slap in the face to Muslims that people would assume every single one of us are extremist/terrorist. Again, don't be so naive!

    July 14, 2010 at 8:48 pm |
  11. Stephen Densmore

    Anyone who is against this is a typical narrow minded and uneducated moron. 9/11 was not about true Islam. Do your research before you label an entire group of people. If you're so quick to judge, you should do the same against Christians and churches being build...ever heard of something called the Crusades? They were murderous, barbaric cannibals who slaughters thousands of innocent people in the name of God.

    July 14, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
  12. Arthur C

    No, it should not be allowed. For no other reason then the terrorists are men and women are fighting would see this as a victory.

    July 14, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  13. jimbo

    The fact that a 13 story , 100 million dollar "islamic cultural center" is proposed on the sacred ground of 9/11 is a slap in the face to americans. The head imam of this proposed disaster stated that america was an accessory to the crimes of 9/11 because of our policies. That should tell you something. I think as americans, we forget the scope and hatred perpetuated by the attack on the twin towers. Remember footage of thousands of muslims all over the world dancing in the streets? I am all for cultural acceptance, but this is too much. I dont think a starbucks or a walmart or a church or anything has any place there. Its well established that islamic extremists have found their way in our society, there has been numerous attempted attacks since 9/11, and to think that they would have a safe haven next to ground zero is nothing but sickening to our stomach. Think of soldiers coming home after losing their comrades overseas , only to find islamic radical groups protesting america on the very hallowed ground where this started. The day this gets built next to ground zero is a sad , sad day for america. (for the record I have no problem with a 13 story, 100 million dollar "islamic culteral center" anywhere else but here. Where is the funding coming from?

    July 14, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  14. LIZ CARTER in GA

    I'm sure there were also MUSLIMS working in the TWIN TOWERS too! There were people of all races, creeds, and religions. All people of ISLAM are not terrorists. NEW YORK has been through a lot, and I still sympathize and am sorry for their losses; however, I do feel that they shouldn't punish the honest, true, ALLAH-FEARING MUSLIMS, because of the terrible deeds done by those TERRORISTS, WHO JUST HAPPEN TO CLAIM ISLAM AS THEIR FAITH. We have quite a few questionable Christians and Jews, too! AND CATHOLICS??

    July 14, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
  15. edie

    It is a FACT that many mosques advocate jihad and hatred to all non-believers. Not all, of course and perhaps this one does not. But. why would anyone want to cause more pain to 911 families. It's not realistic to believe that this will create harmony among muslims and others. It clearly creates more dissention and hardens already extremist attitudes. Certainly there are some racists, I think most are not. It is not only unnecessary to have a mosque there, it is a cruel and inhumane idea. I don't know if the intent is honorable – if it is it appears it only causes dissention and more hatred.. I realize that there is not much justice in this world but I would hope that a mosque is not built on this site.

    July 14, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  16. Mubiana

    The people who destroyed the twin towers had connections with Islam that is why the idea of building the mosque near ground zero is not the best idea at the moment. It could have been perceived differently if the idea came up a few generations from now when the event of the distruction of the twin towers would not have been as fresh in our hearts. We need time to heal!!

    July 14, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  17. Taylor

    This is a country founded on the principles of religious freedom. The site proposed is two blocks away, it's not ON ground zero. It's proposed to be a Muslim community center that anyone is welcome to go to. I don't see anything wrong with it.

    The building that they are proposing to tear down and build a mosque over is already owned by the Muslim group. They have the legal right to do anything with the space they want. Denying them that right because of religious reasons is a slap in everything this country was founded on.

    If it was a Christian church no one would bat an eye, but since it's a Mosque we're trying to stop it? We're trying to deny the rights to a group of people because of their religion? You really can't get any more un-American then that.

    This isn't a slap in the face to the families of the people who died in 9/11, or the servicemen fighting over seas. It's a resounding message to the world that we won't the terrorists win. We won't let fear and suspicion make us go against everything that this country stands for.

    We are a country of many faiths, many races. This diversity is what makes us the greatest country in the world. The events of 9/11 severely, and understandably, damaged the view of Muslim-Americans. Community centers like this are the first step to repairing those relations. We can't let the actions of a small minority of extremists affect our views and treatment of an entire culture.

    And by the way I am a white American who was raised Christian.

    July 14, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  18. john

    Let's take the idea of terrorism out of this whole argument for a second, and the sensitivity of 9/11. This is a national public space. America is a melting pot of incredible diversity and that is what makes it great. A 13-story mega mosque is completely invasive to American culture. Whether this is a mosque, a jewish temple, or a catholic church, it is wrong. I think the only solution that is fitting is an interfaith place of worship.

    July 14, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  19. Kevin

    I thought we were supposed to have freedom of religion in America. If the proposed building were a church or a synagogue or any other house of worship, there would be no outcry. Many people don't realize that there were many Muslim victims of 9/11. Al-Qaeda considers American Muslims their enemy just as much as they do any other American.

    July 14, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  20. LIZ CARTER in GA

    We have statues of old racist slaveholders like EUGENE TALMADGE, who was a known clansman and who lynched and abused black people in the GEORGIA for years. His statue stands right in front of the STATE CAPITOL. As a matter of fact, all of the statues around the capitol are those of old RACIST BIGOTS! There are many buildings, statues, and churchs in the south that sit on properties that were used for beating, lynching and even raping of family members of many BLACK AMERICANS! ISN'T THAT A SLAP IN OUR FACES?

    July 14, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
  21. ronvan

    There are some very important questions to be answered here. IF in fact, as stated in a couple of these comments, that ALL Muslims follow the teachings of the Koran, and that it clearly says that we are the "enemy" and should be killed, then, personally, I would have to say that ALL Muslims cannot be trusted and deserve everything that is happening to them? 2nd: WHY is it that the major Muslim religious leaders are not condeming these killings, even of their own people?
    3rd: WHY have the Muslims who insist that the actions of these terrorist, religious zealots, are not the teachings of the Koran, NOT screaming, protesting, and trying to convince others that these sub-humans, who kill innocent men, women & children, are NOT true Muslims and have perverted their religion? There are many more questions to be asked! BUT at this moment in time I would definitely say NO to building a mosque at the 9/11 site. I wonder how many of those so called american "do gooder" groups are going to jump into this one under the guise of "equal rights"? This is the main issue for me, as these "do gooder" groups yelling & demanding rights are the ones that will be the downfall of the U. S. ! WE can take care of any enemy that wants to do us harm, but we cower about the "do gooders" and rights issue!

    July 14, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  22. Robert A Houston

    If Muslims feel we are bigoted or racist for not wanting a mosque in a "community center" so close to ground zero then surely they would welcome a synagogue right next door to their mosque, correct?

    July 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  23. frank

    its a slap in the face, to all the families that lost loved ones. they know what their doing.

    July 14, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  24. les fireman from Los Angeles

    I think a simple resolution to this issue is to have a shared building with several religious groups. A chapel for for christian use and next door a mosque. This would show that Islam is toerant of other religions and maybe remove the fear issues.

    July 14, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  25. Ian Somerville

    The only things that should be an issue here are any actual, substantiated ties to terrorism by anyone involved with the proposed mosque, if any such ties exist. So far I've heard a lot of conjecture from both sides. Solid facts are needed, especially with something like this which could have such far-reaching implications.

    July 14, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
  26. M.D. Whitlock

    The most fundamental question that I would ask those who support placing a Mosque in Manhatten near the sight of the WTC attacks is this: Where were these same Muslims after these attacks? How much money did they donate to the families who suffered a loss due to the hands of Extremist?

    It appears that Muslims in America have time and again repeatedly promoted Islam as a peaceful religion, yet are not on the front-lines in opposition to Islamic Extremism. The gentlemen in the video stated that he was "embarassed to be an American" but I doubt his embarassment was equally expressed over the WTC attacks.

    If the majority of Manhattan believes in having a Mosque near ground zero, then it is their right to have such. But do not let the very few, silence the overwhelming majority

    July 14, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
  27. rebecca

    OK, build mosque near ground zero, while we are at it lets build a KKK club in New orleans, or Detroit MI, oh, and lets build a Statue of Sadaum in the site of the graves of USA soliders, this will help resolve all negative feelings for all. Yes.

    July 14, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  28. kamal

    I am against building a mosque at ground zero, I am from the middle east I lived all my life with muslim people, the koran teach's them that christian and jews are infidel and also teach's them that smile in front of them but in your heart hate them, and act peaceful as long as you do not have the upper hand, then once you have the power over them then kill them. All that talk about islam is peaceful is all fake, the problem is you have to live with them to realy understand their true believes. These teaching in the heart of their religion been tought to them since their childhood.This just a very small sample of the true religion.

    July 14, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  29. Melany

    Having been a Muslim convert and then leaving Islam after learning what is really preached and excepted behind the scenes I can say without a doubt on my mind that they chose this site to built their mosque as a slap in the face to western society and culture in whole, not just what happened on September 11, 2001. Muslims in general beloved that what happened was the fault of the American people so our "oppression" against Muslims all over the world. They may say it was wrong and even quote dromvthe qur'an that " killing one person is like killing all of humanity" but within their own groups they laugh and make jokes about what happened. I've seen and heard this myself in the 4 years I was Muslim. I'm truly sickened by thier attempt to built near ground zero and then have the nerve to say it's a tribute to those who lost their lives and families that horrible morning. Many so called "moderate Muslims" also say they don't believe in honor killings, child marriage, killing non believers,etc. But the very core of Islam IS to believe,accept whole heartedly and live these tenents. It's hard Roche a Muslim when you don't accept the teaching of Muhammad or Allah for that matter, isn't it? So if anyone wants to actually believe that extremeisf won't be taught in this new brainwashing factory or ANY mosque ANYWHERE inthe world they are sadly mistaken! Their will NEVER be a moderate Islam because the religion and their holiest of holy books, the qur'an is one of the most violent and oppressive books which can never be revised or edited. I make these statements as a person who lived Islam and knows the truth and the threat it really is. I hope America will wake up and stops letting this country slip away into the age of ignorance.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  30. Nikko

    The proposal of constructing a mosque near ground zero is rather suspicious. Considering the site history and the sensitivity of 9/11, I believe the proposal of constructing a mosque is like trying to force open and aggravate a large wound that is still in the process of healing.

    If the Muslim Americans wish to show that they are truly moderate and have the country's best interest in mind, I believe they should pull back and instead of forcibly pushing forward, carry out actions to prove their integrity.

    Unfortunately, the image that they are portraying is one of inconsideration towards the non-Muslim Americans who have suffered so much from the 9/11 incident. In addition, this characteristic of inconsideration of others for the sake of religion is a characteristic seen in extremist Muslim countries.

    Penny for your thoughts from a "moderate" Muslim country.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  31. Ruben Melgoza

    If there is to be a religious center erected in this area than we should consider an inter – religious prayer center which would be conducive to multicultural awareness and run by people who could truly represent a strong cross section of our world today. It's eventual goal should be to establish a standard of ethics and morals that would be communicated throughout. The world would eventually be filled with goodwill ambassadors spreading a sense of enlightenment.
    We could all participate in this dream which would bring wonderful –
    (CLOSURE To (9/11) !!!

    July 14, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  32. Deanna

    When 9/11 happened i was about 6 years old. but even i felt the pain of the disaster. i didn't know anyone who died, and i really never heard what happened until i was almost in high school, sure i had an idea, "the twin towers were bombed", but i didn't know all of the background. so i headed to the library and started to research, i got as much information as the local library had headed home. i spoke with my mother about it and she gave me her view. she gave me the very, very wrong view on Islam and i went with that. i eventually took a class on major religions in the world and Islam was one of them. In the class almost 80% of the students felt the way my mother did about Islam, but as we actually learned the history and beliefs we understood the religion just a little better. I'm and Atheist, and even i don't want a Mosque built near ground zero. i have absolutely no problem with the building of a Mosque anywhere else, but i think that even if this issue was about building a Starbucks i would still appose. Ground zero means too much to too many people to ever be building anything there.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:38 am |
  33. Simone De Beauvoir

    Feels like they want to thank Allah for a job well done and build a mosque to commemorate the location. Remember these were the folks who were dancing in the streets when they saw the images of the Towers in flames.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  34. Joseph Wade

    Look, this war was all blasphamy . Ok I agree I feel sorry for all the people that died in 9/11. But in America's infrastructure system, Why on earth would you build a 9/11 Building to remember all of them that have died. As a catholic, I believe I have the right to say that the Mosque should be built there. Good for them. You deserve it because there are muslims being taken out of their homes in Iraq and Afghan. You think your the only ones suffering? Just ask yourselves that.
    Joseph W.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:33 am |
  35. Ebru Dugme

    I think its absolutely ridiculous that there is even debate about this issue. If there was a church being built in the same spot, not a single person would have a problem with it. I am a 17-year-old Muslim girl living in the US, borin in the US. Throughout my education I have been taught that America is the country of freedom. Thus leading to my lack of understanding in why Americans would see the mosque as a tribute to terrorism. the Muslim religion is about love and brotherhood. The so-called Muslims that lived for the thriving of the 9/11 attacks were not real Muslims. I don't seem to understand why the AMerican people find it so hard to understand that.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  36. Matt

    Would we be seeing the same response to a christain church being bulit near the oklahoma city bombing site? Because Tim Mcvey was a christain should no churches be bulit in Funny how americans can act so un-american sometimes.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  37. James

    They mosque should NOT be allowed. This is a slap to our service men and women fighting against the same ones wanting to build it. This is America, this is not a muslim nation, because of sharia we are losing our American rights.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  38. Amina

    Isn't America a free country? Mosques should be allowed to be built anywhere in this country. Isn't it funny how Islam always gets published as the 'villain' religion? I have one thing to say to all those who label Islam based on actions of extremists STUDY ISLAM NOT THE MUSLIMS. If we all went and judged religions the way we judge Islam, it wouldn't be the villain.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  39. G.H. Monroe

    Does it strike anyone else as peculiar, that we are having this discussion here in America, a country whose very formation came about as a result of the burning desire to escape the religious intolerance that was prevalent in England?

    So I guess American freedoms are only important when they are protecting YOU right wing people in particular ... right?

    July 14, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  40. david steele

    Timothy Mcveigh was raised a catholic and attended mass regularly with his father, should we close all the catholic churchs near Oklahoma Cities ground zero . We can not use a broad brush stroke to paint an entire group into one picture.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:22 am |
  41. Dan

    If my family was all murdered in their beds, would you want the closest friends of the murderer to buy the next door house, set up a memorial and pray for their cause and beliefs?

    No way. Obviously it is wrong and if they want to build a mosque then they can go back to their own country and build it. Are we racist? After Sep 11, I guess we are all a little bit but I guess that is their fault for using religion to kill our American family members.

    If this was such a good thing for everyone then there would not be so much objection. So stop being the radical Islamic extremists you are because here in America we really don't like you.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:21 am |
  42. jim

    It will be interesting to see if they can complete the complex before it is razed to the ground by angry New Yorkers.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  43. Sara

    I think if a church was built next to ground zero, nobody would say a peek.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  44. George

    I believe this is a slap in the face by the muslims in the US by allowing a mosque to be built right near the sight the muslim terrorists
    attacked and my opinion slaughtered so many innocent people.
    I vote Hell NO to building this mosque if they want to build buuild in
    another country!!!!!!

    July 14, 2010 at 11:01 am |