Anti-Defamation League joins bigots in opposing Manhattan mosque


250 Responses to “Anti-Defamation League joins bigots in opposing Manhattan mosque”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Should we not build MEN’s ROOMs in NYC as ALL the terrorists on 911 WERE MEN ?

  2. Anonymous says:

    When did America become such an intolerant backwards society? Seriously, just go to Saudi Arabia, you’ll all love it there.

    Rule number one of America: If you have money, you can do whatever you want. Complaining about Muslims doing this is straight out discrimination, and is a waste of effort, frankly. Why not complain about the other rich folk who screw the average American constantly?

  3. Xopher says:

    I said they were talking like you (lumping Muslims together). Acting like stupid swine was what depressed me, but I never accused you of that part.

    And yes, it’s bigoted to oppose the building of this cultural center and mosque three blocks from Ground Zero. Reasons for that are cited above, ad nauseam. “Someone might be offended” is not a good enough justification for infringing the right to free exercise of religion, not in America. And being offended by the fact that someone has the same religion as someone who did something terrible is a textbook case of bigotry.

    And if you think Fox News is a “legitimate news source,” you haven’t been (for example) adding up the numbers on their polls and pie charts. Either that or you don’t know what a real legitimate news source looks like.

  4. adamnvillani says:

    “I prefer the analogy made by Paul Sipos, a member of New York Community Board One who compared it to building a Japanese cultural center across from Pearl Harbor.”

    Guess what, tough guy?

    There IS a Japanese cultural center in Honolulu:

    And there are about five Shinto shrines in Honolulu, too. Here’s some context:

    And no, none of these are a few blocks away from Pearl Harbor. Very little is; Pearl Harbor is outside of Honolulu proper. But the World Trade Center is smack-dab in the middle of Lower Manhattan, where there are millions of people, and yes, some of them are Muslim and they would like a place to gather. The Japanese Cultural Center and the Shinto shrines in Honolulu are in the city, where the people are, just like this Muslim cultural center is proposed to be.

  5. James_Sp8der says:

    Has any one noticed that (according to Wikipedia at least) ADL spells the Arabic word for justice?

  6. mattrue says:

    I’m amazed at all the black and white thinking on this issue, especially the author’s.

    I don’t believe all the people against the mosque are bigots. And I don’t believe all of the people for the mosque are interested in reconciliation. Having this debate is healthy because the wounds of 9/11 and a number of other attempted attacks are still fresh for a lot of Americans.

    Initially I supported the mosque because I thought it was just going to be the size of an average church and the land owner wanted to do it for a while and who are we to tell him what to do with his land. Then I found out about the grandiosity of the project and who the funders were and had second thoughts. I say let them do whatever with the land, but if extremists think they can turn that land into a symbol of conquest, Americans will just be less inclined to pull out of the middle east, and less tolerant of extremism. If 9/11/11 really is the day it opens, get ready for protests.

    Reconciliation would be building a modest mosque and a modest church right beside one another and an active program to denounce & root out jihadists from the ranks. THAT would make me feel better about Islam.

  7. Aloisius says:

    Fundamentalist extremists suck no matter what their religion. Even though I have an extremely low opinion of religion in general, I support liberal versions of religion in the hopes that it will ostracize and isolate fundamentalists.

    My question is, what sect do the people who want to build this thing belong to? On a scale of liberal to fundamentalist, where do they rank?

  8. Tdawwg says:

    Pernicious logic is pernicious:

    Asked why the opposition of the families was so pivotal in the decision, Mr. Foxman, a Holocaust survivor, said they were entitled to their emotions. “Survivors of the Holocaust are entitled to feelings that are irrational,” he said. Referring to the loved ones of Sept. 11 victims, he said, “Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted.”

    I mean, to just come out and say that, it’s frightening. Foxman’s logic is the same that drives terror recruiters, zealots, murderers the world over: the notion that our pain legitimizes hatred and abuse. That’s what Hitler said re: Germany’s experience post-WWI; that’s what bin Laden says re: America’s presence in the Muslim world, as a recruiting tool; that’s what both the far-right settlers and Hamas say in Israel-Palestine; ad nauseam indeed. Fascism, pure and simple: the creation of a “We” through emotion-driven politics; then the creation and targeting of a hated “They” through mass manipulation; and then the transformation of this demonization into law and policy. Totally f’ing scary.

    I’d really love to see pushback from the families and friends of the Muslim victims of 9/11: how not building the center would be an intolerable pain; how it’s part of the American dream that their loved ones lived and died for; etc. Emotion-based politics and propaganda that increase human rights and dignity=good; emotion-based politics and propaganda that deny human rights and dignity=bad.

    We cannot afford to lose to the Right on this issue, to let them own the memories and narratives of 9/11 for another decade, and perhaps for much longer.

  9. Ted8305 says:

    I have to say the ADL is wrong here. New Yorkers should take the high road and let the mosque be built in peace.

    Afterwards, they can politely ask when the Saudis will permit a synagogue to be built in Riyadh ;)

  10. Xopher says:

    Let’s toast the new Islamic Center…with nonalcoholic sparkling cider!

  11. deanaoxo says:

    Back when we had a republic, there use to be this saying, it went something like this: “I disagree with what you are saying, but will defend to the death your right to say it”.

    In the new Corporate State, where fear is king, and we always look forward, and never back, I guess that old stuff just doesn’t suffice anymore.

    I really don’t like the ‘new’ U.S. of A. I really liked the one I learned about in American History, even though I now have to dig even deeper to learn about it.

    What a great concept freedom of speech was.

    Everything changes. Please don’t tase me bro.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The way I see it, terror wins! would anyone give a crap prior…this is a local issue, so if they have the permits to build, then they should build.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Look, no racist.
    I have several Muslim friends.

    You should know that saying that actually makes you sound racist even when you’re not, just because so many racists have trotted it out as proof that their opinions are legitimate. The sentence has been used up.

    If you want to convince people you’re not a racist, writing in a way that doesn’t lump people together by race is better. For instance:

    There are many Muslims who want to use the force of the state to impose Sharia law on us.

    This is a valid point if you’re talking about those Muslims or the full spectrum of Islam. If you’re talking about other Muslims, it would be better not to bring up, because it’s understood you’re judging them by who else is in the same “group”.

    Of course, nothing you can say about Muslims is technically racist, but only because Muslims aren’t actually a race.

  14. pidg says:

    @Anon #34 – nice presumption that non-religious people can’t be compassionate. Dick.

  15. adamnvillani says:

    Oppose the building of a mosque, a major symbol of the Islamic faith (and in many cases historically, a symbol of Islamic dominance), right by the place where three thousand innocent people were murdered in the name of that same faith and that makes you a bigot? Unbelievable.

    A tiny group of radical extremists acts under a corrupted interpretation of a faith, and to you that makes all 1 billion other practitioners of that faith guilty. You can call that whatever you want, but either way it’s wrong. Again, how would this be any different from preventing Christian churches from locating near an abortion clinic because of Eric Rudolph? Or keeping Catholic churches away from schools? Or any right-wing political group away from the Murrah Federal Building site in Oklahoma City?

    Here’s the deeper problem with painting all Muslims with the same brush: you’re playing right into al Qaeda’s hands. You know who says that Islam is at war with the United States? Osama bin Laden. But it’s not true; as long as we’re fighting against al Qaeda and the Taliban, we’re containing the conflict to where it belongs, against the groups that actively seek to harm us. I’ll take the odds of USA vs. al Qaeda any day instead of the odds of the USA vs. 1 billion Muslims worldwide.

    And furthermore, we can at least try to work on “hearts and minds” in the areas where we’re fighting as long as we’re framing the fight that way. Show the locals that you respect their religion and are only fighting against the maniacs with the bombs and guns, and you may gain some allies. Tell them you’re fighting a war against their religion, and presto, you’ve turned everybody into an enemy.

    You’re operating under a theory of collective guilt for all Muslims. In short, your theory is wrong because (1) It’s just illogical for one group of people to share the blame for another due only to a shared religious affiliation, (2) It’s un-American, deeply contrary to the Constitution and centuries of religious tolerance, and (3) it’s a terrible way to fight a war, playing into your enemy’s framing of the conflict and turning a billion people into your enemies.

  16. Anonymous says:

    i’d like to know what distance from the WTC site would be acceptable for the construction of this thing. two blocks? five blocks? no way south of 40th street? 50th? Washington Heights?

  17. theyallhateme says:

    I’m more offended by the name. Wasn’t the Great Mosque of Cordoba built on the ruins of a pillaged church, as a monument to Muslim superiority over their vanquished enemies?

    • knappa says:

      And then during the Spanish Reconquista the Catholics recaptured the area and proceeded to expel, forcibly convert, and/or butcher the remaining Muslims and Jews. Plus they converted the mosque back to a church.
      When you look to the past, you shouldn’t expect to see a lot of nice guys.

  18. sam1148 says:

    The person and organization funding this have refused to disclose their funding sources. Why?
    That raises red flags on transparency of the funding funding sources.

    Is it truly ‘interfaith’. Will women and gays be accepted to enter their temple?

    Is it the best use for public space in a city that accepts all–and will the space accept all that wish to enter?

    I’ll tolerate any religion that tolerates all, and this organization hasn’t objectively proven they would accept the PUBLIC of NY with an open door policy. An org that has funds to build such a thing should have some history of their tolerance and condemnation of in-tolerance on record, including the 9-11 attacks, rights for women, and condemning death for ‘infidels’. Along with a paper trail for their funding sources.

    Can someone here show me a statement official from the the organization that proves objectivity they are a tolerant organization that condemns violence against humans?

  19. Xopher says:

    If a Japanese-American cultural center were trying to build across from Pearl Harbor, I would think opposition to it was bigoted, yes. And I did have a relative who went down on the Arizona, as it happens.

    But of course, you’ll say, it’s decades after that war, and this one is still going on. Well, Japanese-Americans couldn’t very well try to build in Hawaii during WWII, because of the racist policy of locking them up in internment camps. You can’t win with that analogy.

    This isn’t about someone having the same religion as someone else. This is about appropriateness.

    If it’s not about them being the same religion, how is it about appropriateness? If you’re not lumping Muslims together, you should have no more objection to the Cordoba Initiative than to an equivalent building housing a Christian church. The ONLY thing that makes it “inappropriate” is bigotry!

    • Felton says:

      From this NYT article:

      “Those who support it seem mystified and flustered by the heated opposition. They contend that the project, with an estimated cost of $100 million, is intended to span the divide between Muslim and non-Muslim, not widen it.

      Oz Sultan, the programming director for the center, said the complex was based on Jewish community centers and Y.M.C.A.’s in Manhattan. It is to have a board composed of Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders and is intended to create a national model of moderate Islam.

      “We are looking to build bridges between faiths,” Mr. Sultan said in an interview.

      City officials, particularly Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, have forcefully defended the project on the grounds of religious freedom, saying that government has no place dictating where a house of worship is located. The local community board has given overwhelming backing to the project, and the city’s landmarks commission is expected to do the same on Tuesday.”

      It doesn’t sound like the building of this center is intended to be a provocation, as some people seem to be arguing.

      • Phikus says:

        It’s provocation disguised as outreach. You know those sneaky Muslims…


        • Felton says:

          Yes, I’m sure they’d love to build a secretive, extremist terrorist-cell disguised as a mosque blocks away from ground zero, but that’s exactly what we’d be expecting them to do! ;-P

          • Phikus says:


            This is always the eventual conclusion once you establish a THEM, and it’s all too easy to do. All social animals (even bees!) form tribes and quickly distinguish between Us & Them. THEM in human societies becomes the most stereotypical straw-man, even without the added fuel of slur and propaganda. The challenge of our times becomes: Can we outgrow this, as a species? Hard to do in the face of extremism on all sides, but somehow we have to navigate our way through this experiment without blowing ourselves up. The world is too small now to keep letting the few fevered egos continue to control the dialogue. We have to resist polarization and reach across the lines that have been drawn for us. All ground is equally sacred, even if it’s not Zero.

            Thus sayeth the Pro-Defamation League!

  20. Anonymous says:

    So, does the ADL urge Israel and Palestine to cease building any sorts of religious buildings, as doing so causes offense and pain?

  21. pencilbox says:

    wow. absolutely no sense of irony. way to go, ADL! It’s not too often you read something where the obliviousness is *that* thick. well done.

  22. OrcOnTheEndOfMyFork says:

    The Muslim culture has a long history of tearing down buildings of significance and placing a mosque in its place as a conquering symbol.

    The existing mosques in the area are fine and welcome. It’s not an issue where Muslims ought to be driven out.

    Building a new mosque on the site where Muslim extremists took out their very significant target will be seen in those extremist circles as the raising of an Al Qaeda flag on the ashes of the World Trade Center.

    It’s very obviously not the message the good Muslims who want to build the structure want to send. We know they aren’t extremists and they reject what was done to New York that day.

    But it will nonetheless be seen as a victory for to the criminals we’re still at war with to this day.

    There is a tenant of Christianity that says you shouldn’t lord your faith over others so that they stumble. I don’t know if the Muslim faith has an equivalent edict, but they should do the right thing, and not give our enemies something to be happy about by lording such a significant building over the rest of us.

  23. Xopher says:

    JD, you don’t know New York City very well, do you? Three blocks is a whole neighborhood, maybe two, in Manhattan.

  24. AirPillo says:

    Doesn’t the quote do a good job of saying they “may” do so wherever they want but it might seem poor taste to do so right there?

    I don’t know if I’d agree with them, but they at least are communicating their point clearly enough that misrepresenting it in a retort is a bit silly.

  25. adamnvillani says:

    Muslims can worship wherever the hell they want in this country. But do they need a 13-story mosque and cultural center a stone’s throw from Ground Zero to worship freely? No.

    Let me refer you to the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 that says otherwise:

    In short, while there may be land use regulations governing the design of the building, governments cannot regulate away a religious use from a site.

    • Xopher says:

      To be fair, JD hasn’t been saying they shouldn’t be allowed to build it, or that the government should step in to prevent it. He’s been saying they ought to choose not to.

  26. middleclass says:

    “Perhaps the Anti-Defamation League could produce some helpful maps to delineate the areas in our cities where Muslims may live, work and pray”

    This is practically their specialty!

  27. turingcub says:

    I’ll take a break from my usual one-issue-voter stance on which religion is threatening gays this time (spoiler: all of them, usually!) to respond that no one gets to be right just because they say they are. ADL, you are way out of line on this one.

    Until it’s demonstrable that those who want to build the center are doing it as a deliberate slap in the face of 9/11 victims, I’m dubious. I’m dubious of anyone’s rights being infringed just because someone else wants to go on claiming victimhood.

    Sustained victimhood is wrong. (And, though this is the least of many horrible consequences, it’s the root reason I have to endure so many Judy Garland themed messes. I have to celebrate a Big Victim like her, instead of a hero like Dan Choi.)

  28. adamnvillani says:

    Like I said, this isn’t about religion. Muslims can have a place to worship without erecting what amounts to a 13-story middle finger right next to Ground Zero.

    No, it IS about religion. Lower Manhattan is not a small town in rural Kansas. Heck, it’s not even Oklahoma City or Honolulu. There are a zillion 13-story buildings within a few blocks of the World Trade Center site and the ONLY reason you’re objecting to this one is because of the religious affiliation.

    I’m a professional city planner, and there is absolutely nothing inappropriate about the scale of this building in its context. The only objections are due to the religious association. And the RLUIPA says we can’t zone away religious uses.

  29. Mark Gordon says:


  30. ryhntyntyn says:

    I do wonder though, what the point of building a mosque in the shadow of a ruin, destroyed by men who claimed they were representing islam, is?

    Is it to prove that kind of murderous behavior is not the face of islam? Because although the terrorist, fundamentalist side of islam is not its only side, it is a side of it.

    And if building a mosque there would be to provoke a discussion, is that appropriate?

    • Anonymous says:

      violent extremist wingnuts exist in all schools of thought — christian, muslim, jewish, vegan, even hindus can fighty:

      Islam is not the problem — extremists are.

      people are sounding like bigots tho I’m hoping they are just confounding the two issues.

      Thing is, wingnuts are on all sides. It is everyone’s responsibility to chill our wingnuts out.

    • Anonymous says:

      I do wonder though, what the point of building a mosque in the shadow of a ruin, destroyed by men who claimed they were representing islam, is?

      Mosques serve as spiritual centers, kind of like synagogues and churches, for Muslims. Unless there’s something to suggest otherwise, I’d imagine you’d want to build one wherever there are local Muslims.

      • dequeued says:

        Look, no racist.
        I have several Muslim friends.
        I dated a Muslim chick briefly.

        Ok, now that I have my creds laid out on the table…

        Let’s cut the crap.
        A Mosque can very well be a political entity.
        In many countries, there is NO distinction made between a Mosque and a City Hall.
        It’s very conceited to think that the rest of the world thinks the way we do, with our separation of church and state and whatnot.

        In fact, if we factor in all the Mosques in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the world where Islam *is* politics, then I would say that the MAJORITY of the world’s Mosques are political entities.

        And, to put things another way, you know damn well that megachurches by evangelicals and the like, are not just places of worship, but are indeed political rallying centers.

        So, how would you feel if, near the site of the largest Christian terrorist attack in history, they wanted to build a megachurch?
        Or an evangelical “community center”, whatever, same thing.

        9/11 was an attack carried out in the name of Islam.
        Don’t give me any of that “not a true Scotsman” crap, MUSLIMS DID 9/11

        If there’s a chance that those who are backing this Mosque venture are associated with some Sharia pushing assholes, then it should absolutely be opposed.

        NO, I don’t think we should ban people from building Mosques, but we have every right to complain about it, if we object to it.
        (I haven’t made up my mind yet, so I will abstain)
        We have a duty to voice our objections.
        Cory wrote a great article about the virtue of complaining awhile back.

        It’s important that we be able to differentiate political Islam, from the more modern and western religious Islam.
        Ever see Jesus Camp?
        If you can accept that many Christians are explicitly political with their faith (and they’re not really trying to hide it)
        What the bloody hell is it so hard to believe that there are many Muslims like that, too?
        Don’t worry, you’re not a racist or a bigot for saying it.
        There are many Muslims who want to use the force of the state to impose Sharia law on us.

        Let me also make it clear that I live in nyc and I’m an atheist, lol.

        They want to turn the world into Saudi Arabia.
        They want to force women to cover themselves head to toe and protect the rights of parents that perform genital mutilation on their daughters.
        They want state-backed Sharia courts.
        And they vote.
        Be afraid, and speak up.

        Who is they? A small but growing political bloc of Muslims.
        They suck.

        No racist.

        It’s really sad that the first thing that comes to mind for most people, when I point this crap out, is that I’m some closeted bigot, and I have to constantly assert that I’m not.

        My friend, who is a flaming feminist, did a whole project about how women are treated, in parts of the world where Islam is looked to for government policy.
        It sucks..
        And of course, everyone accused her of being racist, for pointing out provable facts.
        Does it conflict with your worldview that much?

        Anyway, off to drink moar.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          Of course they’re becoming radicalized. You would, too, if you and everyone like you were treated like a terrorist just for existing.

          The question is whether you want peace or want to grind your ax. The people building this center are trying to bring about understanding. You’ve made your choice quite clear.

          • dequeued says:

            So it’s all “our” fault, again?
            They’re crashing planes into skyscrapers, and slaughtering people at schools and train-stations, because they may have more scrutiny at the airport???
            Is that what you’re saying?

            Yes, those people at Mumbai deserved it, who is the real monster here?
            Obviously the gunmen were just defending themselves.


            I don’t think you’ve read enough about modern Islam, or why it’s really radicalizing, so lemme throw in my two cents.

            Saudi Arabia’s brand of Islam is very extreme, and used to be a small minority of Muslims (They’re like Westboro baptist church of Muslims)
            But, because of Saudi Money, they’re now spreading across the world, building and staffing new Mosques in every Muslim population center around the world, spreading their influence.
            We should be leery of Mosques that accept money from Saudi Arabia, because it certainly influences them, and they can no longer be considered just centers of worship, but state-propaganda centers.
            This is why, for example, the Mosque in my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, on Atlantic ave, started handing out anti-Semitic fliers — Saudi influence.

            So, IF this Mosque is getting funding from Saudi Arabia, it’s certainly worth checking out.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            because of Saudi Money, they’re now spreading across the world

            Your fulminating bigotry has rendered you incapable of discerning cause and effect. Al-Quaida numbered in the dozens until the Bush administration started World War 3. They number in the thousands now because we declared war on their entire religion.

        • MrJM says:

          I dated a Muslim chick briefly.
          I can’t imagine why that didn’t work out.

    • Sagodjur says:

      By that logic though, should we then not allow churches to be built near abortion clinics because some extremist Christians have murdered clinic employees?

      Should we not allow police stations to be built in cities because some citizens have been murdered by police officers?

      Where do you draw the line?

    • TimmerCA says:

      Well, one good thing that might come out of building a mosque there is that future terrorist will avoid bombing the place so as not to deface a place of worship in their faith.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        future terrorist will avoid bombing the place so as not to deface a place of worship in their faith.

        I think that you’ve failed to account for the Sunni/Shia schism.

        • loraksus says:

          Or, you know… Whitey McBigot and his ryder truck full of anfo.

        • Xopher says:

          More than that, Antinous, the Al Qaeda heresy thinks all moderate Muslims (the majority) are fair targets, since they’re enemies of the “real” Islam. So even being a Sunni mosque won’t help.

      • Xopher says:

        Yes, because of course they never bomb mosques.


    • Ugly Canuck says:

      Is it?
      Sez you, IMHO.

      People often get themselves wrong.
      People who commit violence are not “religious” in any true sense, regardless of however they may seek to justify their murderous and active hatred of mankind by the use of such a spurious and self-awarded label.

      We are not fooled by the criminals’ own professions of membership in a group which indeed actively disowns them – and we are not even religious.

      Are the 9-11 criminals Muslims? More than a few Muslims say that by their actions they are not, and cannot be….but non-Muslims apparently know better, eh?

      I don’t think that anybody who commits violence against others, save and except for immediate self-defense, has any claim whatsoever to be “religious”. Far less are they able to claim some bogus and mendacious “justification” for their violence based upon their self-professed “religion”. As soon as that comes out of someone’s mouth, I immediately consider the speaker to be the spawn of the devil, so to speak.

      They are and were simply criminals: don’t be going after Muslims for what those killers did.
      They may have called themselves Muslim: but Allah will judge, to use the words of that honorable religion. And in MY judgment, they ain’t true Muslims. No matter what they themselves my call themselves.

      Just as in my judgment, those monks and priests who tortured confessions out of witches in the Middle Ages were not Christians, regardless of what they themselves called themselves, or believed themselves to be.

      By their fruits, ye shall know them. Not by what they say.

      • dequeued says:

        Oi vey, you’re so very very wrong.

        The 9/11 hijackers were completely Muslim.
        Millions of other Muslims around the world cheered for them on 9/11, and danced in the streets.
        Were they not Muslim, too?

        It’s really arrogant of you to define what a Muslim is, or isn’t.

        It’s really lazy to just eliminate anyone you want from the equation.
        You’re apologizing and making excuses.
        You can’t just say, “oh, well they don’t count, because I don’t think that they’re Muslim”
        It’s not that easy.

        Fred Phelps is a Christian.
        So was Adolf Hitler.
        Osama Bin Laden is a Muslim.

      • Jonathan Badger says:

        So, say, a guy founds a religion. Not being very creative, he pretty much plagiarizes two other religions, one of which is in turn a heresy of the first, which in turn had plagiarized an epic poem by one of the earliest civilizations. Both of these first two religions are pretty violent, although the second hypocritically claims its founder is some sort of aristocrat of peace.

        Anyway, the founder of this new third religion leads armies to conquer his hometown by violence because there is a mystic rock there that he wants. Is he therefore not a true member of the religion he founded because of this violence?

  31. Xopher says:


  32. Skep says:

    I wonder if the ADL bothered to consider what they would think if Muslims told Jews not to build Synagogues in “sensitive” areas so as to not cause Muslims “pain.”

    The fact is that 9/11 was perpetrated by extremist **individuals**, not Muslims in general. To suggest that Muslims should not build a Mosque near ground zero out of some collective guilt should be an idea that the ADL should recognize as problematic seeing as how one of the things the ADL has to constantly fight against is misplaced collective guilt aimed at Jews. But, if the ADL wants to use collective guilt, why not insist that Saudi Arabians should not be allowed to to finance or build near ground zero, seeing as how almost all of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis. Seeing as how the Saudi connection is tighter than the Muslim one, would the ADL be for that?

    • Ernunnos says:

      Does the ADL have a position on Saudi?

    • orwellian says:

      The 9/11 attacks were not caused by extremist “individuals” but by Muslims who took inspiration from Sura 9/111 that says Muslims should die to defeat the nonbeliever and spread Islam. It was traditional from Mohammad on for Muslims that conquered a city or region to use a holy spot for a mosque. Mecca’s holy center is the former holy spot of the pagans Mohammad grew up with. The most beautiful Byzantine cathedral, St Sophia, was turned into a mosque. A mosque was built on the site of the Temple in Jerusalem and Jews aren’t allowed to visit the site. In Spain, a cathedral was torn down to make the first mosque in Europe. In Cordoba. Which is the name of the proposed mosque.

      Some Muslims will look at the mosque built on the site of a building damaged by one of the planes from 9/11, a mosque named after another mosque created to commemorate an invasion of a continent, a mosque that is to be dedicated on 9/11/11, and think of it as a symbol of victory and a call to arms. Do all Muslims think that way? No, of course not. But the crazy nutjobs do and we don’t need to give them a place to pray and gloat. There are plenty of sites they can build the mosque in Manhattan that won’t make bin Laden giggle with glee.

      It’s said that the mosque is supposed to be an ‘interfaith center’ for ‘opening a dialog’. How about making it a real interfaith center and allowing multiple religions to use the space? I’d settle for Hindu or Sikh or Shinto if Christian and Jewish prayer would offend Muslims.

  33. joncro says:

    There should be no mosque there. No church, no synagogue. No religion at all.

    Well, OK, the whole neighborhood is a temple to worship money, but, you know what I mean……

  34. JD says:

    “JD, you don’t know New York City very well, do you? Three blocks is a whole neighborhood, maybe two, in Manhattan.”

    Irrelevant. The building in question was close enough to get hit by debris from one of the planes. Victims of the attack obviously consider that location too close for comfort. Even if you don’t, can’t you respect that?

    “There are a zillion 13-story buildings within a few blocks of the World Trade Center site and the ONLY reason you’re objecting to this one is because of the religious affiliation.”

    Wrong. I’m objecting because of its proximity, scale, and implicit connotations. As I said, I have no problem with Muslims worshipping in this area. But this project crosses the line of what is and what isn’t appropriate.

    “And the RLUIPA says we can’t zone away religious uses.”

    And I never said it was illegal, nor did I call for the government or city to try and block it. A thank you to Xopher for backing me up on that.

    • Xopher says:

      Irrelevant. The building in question was close enough to get hit by debris from one of the planes. Victims of the attack obviously consider that location too close for comfort. Even if you don’t, can’t you respect that?

      No, absolutely not. The “9/11 families” have gone WAY over the line since the attacks, in ways you may not have heard about from outside the Metro NYC area. They objected to building ANYTHING on the former site of the WTC. They wanted the twin towers’ “footprints” to be left entirely clear and open to the sky, with nothing but grass. This is economically impossible in lower Manhattan, in fact it’s absurd.

      They keep saying there might still be bone fragments there, and that therefore it’s “sacred ground.” Well, my LUNGS are sacred ground by that definition, since I breathed the fumes from the burning WTC here in Hoboken. All of the parts of Lower Manhattan that got covered with ash and debris would be sacred ground by that definition.

      If some of these people got their way, Muslims would be barred from entering lower Manhattan at all (I’m not exaggerating; I’ve heard them call in to radio programs).

      I respect their grief. I do not respect their attempts to impose their agenda on the entirety of the New York Metropolitan Area. Their grief does not give them that right.

      And, just to bring it back around, it does not give them the right to interdict the building of a cultural center which they think is “too close” to what they think is “sacred ground.”

  35. adamnvillani says:

    Japanese-Americans couldn’t very well try to build in Hawaii during WWII, because of the racist policy of locking them up in internment camps.

    Actually, that only applied on the mainland. Japanese-Americans in Hawaii weren’t locked up.

    if Japanese Americans undertook a similar project a similar distance from where the attacks on Pearl Harbor took place, it would be inappropriate.

    The thing is that Pearl Harbor and Lower Manhattan are in different settings. Pearl Harbor is outside the city proper and doesn’t have any kind of high-density development nearby. Lower Manhattan is right in the middle of a population center, where there are a lot of people. And besides, the whole thing is being built to try to mend differences between people, not provoke them. So it IS appropriate to build it where it’s proposed.

  36. pidg says:

    I keep trying hard to find arguments in favour of religion, and to understand people who hold deep religious convictions, but I always just end up laughing in disbelief (literally).

  37. Xopher says:

    So you’d object to Christian churches being built in Jerusalem, which was attacked when it was held by Muslims by radical Christians called Crusaders?

    To take a more recent case, do you object to Christian churches being built in Dresden? Oh, wait, those were mostly Christians who were bombed into nothingness (German zerbombt) there.

    Do you object to Christian churches being built in Hiroshima?

    Or to get to the core of the matter, I assume you think that building a church in Srebrenica would be wrong. But you’re letting yourself off the hook by saying “radical Christians,” since the currently active groups only bomb abortion clinics and murder doctors. If we don’t stop the Dominionists soon, though, you may have to put your money where your mouth is soon.

  38. Jack says:

    Folks, how many of you live in NYC and realize how many Islamic centers there are all over the place. Hate to break the news to you, but there are tons of them. And guess what? None of these folks have anything to do with the loons who crashed planes into the WTC.

    I was in NYC on 9/11. I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan because my sister and a friends mom were stuck there. I’m also Jewish and heard all of the nonsense about this stuff.

    And you know what? Why are you dinks upset at an Islamic cultural center opening near “Ground Zero” when nearly 10 years later—and one massive real estate boom later— “Ground Zero” is still a hole in the ground? Do I see anyone outraged at the delays, money and time wasted in this perverse “pork barrel” project?

    Wake up folks. You’re being fleeced in ways you never knew existed because you’re too bust concentrating on nonsense like a religious center.

  39. ryhntyntyn says:

    Hmmm. This seems to outline their position a little more clearly.

    “Abraham Foxman, national director of the ADL, defended his position.

    In a phone interview, he compared the idea of a mosque near ground zero to the Roman Catholic Carmelite nuns who had a convent at the Auschwitz death camp. In 1993, Pope John Paul II responded to Jewish protests by ordering the nuns to move.

    “We’re saying if your purpose is to heal differences, it’s the wrong place,” Foxman said of the mosque. “Don’t do it. The symbolism is wrong.”

    It certainly isn’t very politically correct, but Foxman might just have a point. Certainly not that the Islamic center doesn’t have the right, but it might hurt more than it helps. Not necessarily the earlier point about causing the victims pain, but it simply might not make the situation any better. Then again, maybe it isn’t supposed to.

    • Marya says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Here on the left we’ve become so disgracefully politically correct that we are unable to tell someone that what they are proposing is simply in the worst possible taste.

      What’s wrong with us? This is why the craven rapacious right can behave as though they somehow have the moral high ground; we can’t even bring our selves to tell the baby not to spit.

    • bkad says:

      Thanks for posting the clarification, ryhntyntyn. That meshes with how I read the quote in boing boing. The ADL is making a request in the name of sensitivity to people who have been hurt. We can disagree, but that’s hardly a hateful position.

      It reminds of a time one of the Christian groups on campus was criticized for bringing in messianic Jewish speakers during the holidays. Everyone agreed the group had every right to bring in any speaker they want, and even actively proselytize to other students and members of the community. But the Christian group was asked, out of sensitivity to Jewish people, to change the wording of the advertising bulletins to be more unambiguously Christian. Was this request anti-Christian? anti-religious? Some thought so; “spreading the word” is a major part of many Christian’s religious practice, and there were fair number of angry free-speech advocates in their numbers. But in a polite society people sometimes ask each other to voluntarily curtail their own activities in the interest of good will.

  40. Funky16Corners says:

    All this whining about what is and isn’t ‘appropriate’ in relation to 9-11 and the site on which it occurred should probably have a talk with Rudolph Giuliani who’s been exploiting the event since it happened to further his political career.
    We have a constitution in this country that supersedes people’s wide ranging and wholly insignificant ‘feelings’.
    We either have freedom of religious expression or we don’t and that concept doesn’t change from faith to faith (or the lack thereof if you so choose).

  41. SeattleJoe says:

    Have victims spoken out or been asked about how they feel about it? The ADL is talking in their name, and using them as the only reason for not building the mosque, which is unreasonable. I don’t think that the general opposition to the mosque is based on that.

    • Skep says:

      “Have victims spoken out or been asked about how they feel about it? “

      You mean like the **Muslim** victims? People seem to forget that the twin towers were occupied by people of all races and creeds, including Islam. It is pretty ironic that the ADL wants Muslims not to have a Mosque near ground zero. Not even for the families of Muslim victims to pray at?

      If somebody wants to propose banning all religions from building near the site, fine. But singling one out for special treatment? Not so fine.

      • SeattleJoe says:

        I was just questioning the reason the ADL was giving in its statement. I didn’t and don’t buy it, although I find the carmelite nuns at aushwitz analogy quite convincing.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          I find the carmelite nuns at aushwitz analogy quite convincing.

          Except that the Carmelite mission is to run homes for the aged and Auschwitz isn’t in one of the world’s largest cities, whereas the the mosque is meant to be a community center and diplomatic mission and is in one of the most densely populated areas on earth.

  42. bersl2 says:


    That said, upon actually reading the quote, it’s not so bad. It’s not as if they’re raving endlessly; it’s simply a statement that the proposed Islamic institution should not be located there. It could be a much worse statement.

  43. Kaden says:

    ‘Inappropriate’ is one of those unquantifiable weasel words often brought into play by the righteously indignant as a last resort weapon against facts, logic and rule of law. See also: ‘Indecent’, and ‘Immoral’.

  44. schmod says:

    Build a mosque there. I hope they even get to include a minaret. The message needs to be that tolerance trumps dogmatism and fanaticism. Allowing the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero would be a powerful conveyance of that message.

    Of course, the proposed site isn’t actually on Ground Zero, or even particularly close to it, when you consider that the WTC site is on a rather large superblock, and about a quarter of Lower Manhattan sits within a two-block radius of it.

    This debate isn’t about opposition to a mosque at Ground Zero. It’s about opposition to a mosque.

  45. Xopher says:

    Donald Petersen, Anon 82, futbol789, thanks.

  46. bkad says:

    To suggest that Muslims should not build a Mosque near ground zero out of some collective guilt should be an idea that the ADL should recognize as problematic…

    I don’t see anything about collective guilt in the above quote. Maybe it was in the original?

    I agree that the ADL should not have made a public statement on this issue, but let’s not put words into their mouths. The way I would interpret the statement is, “it’s not you, it’s me.” The statement has the same result as if they had taken an anti-Muslim stance, which is why I agree they shouldn’t have made the statement, but it is a completely different tone.

    • Skep says:

      “I agree that the ADL should not have made a public statement on this issue, but let’s not put words into their mouths.”

      The collective guilt is inherent in their request.

      The idea that a Mosque, by Muslims unrelated to the terrorists who perpetrated the crime other than by being Muslim, being near ground zero would cause “pain” is based on the concept of collective guilt. Otherwise the ADL and other anti-Ground Zero Mosque folks wouldn’t have an objection.

      • ryhntyntyn says:

        There is a quote from a rabbi in Germany about sorting out the difference between guilt and responsibility, or rather, acting responsibly.

        Sadly, I can’t find it. But I think collective responsibility, might be appropriate, where guilt seems to be a too heavy hammer for the problems at hand.

        There is admittedly a fine line in between the two.

  47. JD says:

    To Funky and Kaden, I would like to reiterate that I am not advocating government action against this project or any other kind of repression of the freedom of religion. I’m simply saying that I find this project offensive and object to being classified as a bigot for opposing it.

  48. zootboing says:

    I would love to see the local churches, and temples step up and offer to build right next to the potential mosque site too. That would not only allow the mosque to be built, but it would be creating a multi-faith center where all three Allah/God/Yaweh faiths have a place to worship as well as a center where their congregants can meet and seek to understand and respect each other.
    That would REALLY spike the guns of the haters.

    Because honestly? I can see the ADL’s point. A lot of New Yorkers lost loved ones to some jerks claiming the right to do violence in the name of their faith that day. And now other (non-violent, yes, but still under the same “brand name”) people of that faith wants to build a huge place of worship in the proximity of the disaster site. It is pretty tactless.

    Come on, do you think that any Arab country would appreciate it’s Christian groups erecting a huge cathedral right next to an infamous battle site where the Christian zealots made un-provoked battle on Arab people?

    • DragonVPM says:

      Wow, can your logic be any worse?

      The ADL has a point because some batshit crazy people damaged the muslim “Brand Name”? Well then jews and israelis should be banned from building near any muslim areas because their “brand name” has been damaged over the years. Christians have also had their “brand name” damaged by their own batshit crazy followers so we’ll have to start restricting them too.

      Pretty much EVERY group of people of any significant size will have had a few idiots who have done some really horrible things in the name of their god, their country, or their leader and none of them deserve to be lumped into the same group as the losers who have to resort to violence and terror in order to get their points across.

      Furthermore it doesn’t matter what some other country would or would not do. We’re supposed to be better than that. I’m not usually given to being “rah rah USA” and I have some major issues with some of the things that are done in our name, but if nothing else I will whole heartedly support the idea of what this country should and could be. Even if we do stumble on occasion (I’m looking at you Arizona (HB1060), and California (Prop 8)) while getting there. I refuse to accept the notion that doing Bad-Thing-X is ok because Saudi Arabia (or North Korea, or Cuba, or any other country) would do something as bad or worse.

    • Cowicide says:

      I can see the ADL’s point. A lot of New Yorkers lost loved ones to some jerks claiming the right to do violence in the name of their faith that day.

      Fight intolerance with… intolerance?

      Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.

      • Markle says:


        Fight intolerance with… intolerance?

        (Finger within an inch of your face)
        I’m not touching you!

        • Cowicide says:

          Your highness, when I said that you are like a stream of bat’s piss, I only mean that you shine out like a shaft of gold when all around it is dark.

    • Markle says:


      Come on, do you think that any Arab country would appreciate it’s Christian groups erecting a huge cathedral right next to an infamous battle site where the Christian zealots made un-provoked battle on Arab people?

      In most Islamic countries it’s illegal to evangelize or even proselytize anything other than Islam. Often, punishable by death in extra-judicial sharia courts. You can’t even wear or carry religious jewelry, visiting the Maldives.

  49. Rick York says:

    The ADL is a marvelous and effective organization. It is truly unfortunate that they have taken this absolutely shameful position.

  50. SeattleJoe says:

    I think the carmelite nunnery/aushwitz analogy is pretty convincing.

  51. JD says:

    “And, just to bring it back around, it does not give them the right to interdict the building of a cultural center which they think is “too close” to what they think is “sacred ground.””

    No, but it does give them the right to object to it, and they should be freed to do so without being called bigoted. Regardless of what you’ve observed and heard from some of those affected, many inside and outside of Manhattan have legitimate reasons for not wanting to see this project go through.

    • Xopher says:

      No, but it does give them the right to object to it, and they should be freed to do so without being called bigoted.

      Wrong. They have the right to object to whatever they like, and so does someone from Keokuk, IA who hasn’t had a relative come east of Pennsylvania in a hundred years. They have that right because this is America, not because of 9/11 grief.

      AND they DON’T have the right to object to things “without being called bigoted.” If they’re bigoted, they are, and WE have the right to call them on it. No amount of 9/11 grief exempts them from that judgment. It may be understandable, but that doesn’t mean we should pretend it isn’t still bigotry.

      Regardless of what you’ve observed and heard from some of those affected, many inside and outside of Manhattan have legitimate reasons for not wanting to see this project go through.

      I haven’t heard any yet. And no, I’m not going to watch that clip from Faux News. YOU tell me a legitimate reason to object to this project. I can’t think of a single one. Traffic? People will mostly walk there. Skyline? Asked and answered; it’s within an appropriate size for the neighborhood.

      You keep saying “legitimate reasons” as if I won’t notice you’re trying to palm a card. We do not agree on what reasons are legitimate. Unless you cite some reasons *I* think are legitimate, I’m not going to agree that there are legitimate reasons.

  52. macho says:

    The ADL have long been little more than a hate group. Noam Chomsky’s said it’s “one of the ugliest, most powerful pressure groups in the U.S… Its primary commitment is to use any technique, however dishonest and disgraceful, in order to defame and silence and destroy anybody who dares to criticize the Holy State (‘Israel’).”

  53. danback says:

    I work in lower Manhattan. I walk past the place they want this on my way to and from lunch every day (Amish Market represent!). Like someone said earlier – this isn’t even really that close. Yes it is 3 or 4 blocks away, but so is everything else down there. Crap I go weeks without walking south of Vesey. Anyone against this is just a bigot.

  54. Xopher says:

    Yeah, nothing I bring up is comparable, but the idea of building a Japanese cultural center near a MILITARY BASE during a war with the Japanese is? I think the Crusades are as comparable to 9/11 as Pearl Harbor is.

    You really don’t understand this project. It’s going to have a BOD with Christian and Jewish clergy on it in addition to the Muslims. It’s specifically designed to heal the breaches between those communities especially in New York City that were caused by 9/11. That’s why near GZ is a GREAT place to build it, and why 9/11 is EXACTLY the right date to open it. “Here we are,” it will say, “and on this date when the most terrible things were done in the name of Islam, here we show what can be done in its true name and the name of Peace.” (My characterization, not a quote.)

    The people who have raised the objections to this are the ones who benefit from those breaches continuing, who benefit from the widespread irrational fear of Muslims that has taken hold of this once-great nation. They are the same people who want to keep the “brown people” out, the gay people in the closet, and the women in the kitchen. They’re the ones who call the loss of an outright “white” majority in the US “the coming demographic winter.” They know Al Qaeda isn’t representative of Islam; they’re using the lie that it is to further their reprehensible and fundamentally unAmerican agenda.

  55. angusm says:

    It’s apparently not even a mosque. Their website makes it sound as if it’s something rather larger, perhaps a kind of non-denominational or ecumenical community center. It sounds as if it’s a kind of hearts-and-minds exercise, by a group whose goal is to try to convince the suspicious Americans that not all Muslims are scary fanatics.

    We’ll have to remember to ask them how that’s working out for them.

  56. Sarcasmo says:

    I say they should build mosques in every tall building across the country like an insect repellent to prevent those jihadi terrorist bugs from crashing into them.

  57. Manooshi says:

    FYI: ADL are bigots!

    Anyways, some of the WTC victims were Muslim as well, My Fellow Americans. Shit, Muslims ARE Americans too. The horror!

    I’m an agnostics/psuedo-atheist, however, I was raised Muslim in Los Angeles. The mosque I grew up attending Sunday school at (which is now Korea Town) was constantly harassed by ADL and even moreso by JDL who on more than one occasion planted bombs while us kids were having Arabic lessons. The FBI would come and evacuate us out…. and these instances NEVER were reported on the news. That’s homegrown TERRORISM for you… and I’m talking 20-25 years ago. Bottomline, these Jewish groups are prejudice toward ANY Americans having a Muslim face.

    And just because the 9’11 hijackers/terrorists were a handful of fucked up Wahabi extremists, does NOT mean that the other 2-billion Muslims in the world support or subscribe to the Wahabi sexist, extremist, and ignorant interpretations of the religion. (But fuck ALL religions, IMHO.)

    IF the U.S. did not have Saudi as a client-state for OIL, then these Wahabi fucktards would NOT have the power they have today. Also, let’s not forget WHO put those ignorant extremists in power to begin with: The British Colonials. And Uncle Sam was happy to inherit the British Empire’s booty after WWII. But the 200 year old backward little Wahabi sect would have NEVER grown to the 200,000 extremists they have today had the British not made those illiterate fucktards from a low-level Arab tribe KINGS. But you see, that is how the British colonials functioned: chose the most illiterate, ignorant, low-level people to be their King-PUPPETS. They did the same by creating the Shah of Iran 100+ years ago. Excuse me, that was BRITISH PETROLEUM via the gun of the British colonials who did so in Iran. Same formula in Saudi– and the Americans just kept it going via Eisenhower’s fuKKKEd up Big Oil policy! Same as when the CIA did a coup and put Saddam Hussein in power in Iraq in 1967. Thanks for creating ruthless puppet rulers to suppress the natives from benefiting from their own natural resources, Anglo-American colonials!! Thanks, Uncle Sam!

    Fuck U.S. foreign policy!

    • David Pescovitz says:

      The ADL and the JDL are not the same. In fact, the ADL is vocally opposed to the JDL’s “radical form of Jewish nationalism which reflected racism, violence and political extremism.”

  58. jdk998 says:

    Separation of church and state is a great concept. Unfortunately, it does not exist in the Islamic world. No thanks.

  59. Haro! says:

    Are they also banning Muslim people from visiting the WTC site? Because the way I see it is if a mosque or Islamic center would conjure negative memories/thoughts about the events of Sept. 11, surely seeing a Muslim person visit the site would do the exact thing. Many Muslims wear religious clothing so it would be easy to spot a Muslim person there and thus create the exact feeling that those opposed to the creation of this center are trying to fight. Maybe they should ban Muslims from Lower Manhattan at this rate. Oh and Seikhs cause they look kind of Muslim. And Hindus just in case.
    I am a lifelong Brooklyn resident so some of my feelings on this matter may not be well thought out.I think of this in the sense that the whole “Ground Zero” site is on the verge of becoming nothing more than a bunch of corporate space anyway. There will be corporate, retail and residential space in the immediate area. Isn’t this in a way more insulting to the memorial space? That it will become something as lifeless and touristy as Times Square. And I am certainly in no position to speak for the families of the victims and survivors but hasn’t much of the delay in getting ANYTHING built on the site been held back by tailoring it to the demands of the various interests involved in the site? All I’m saying is, petty crap like this has wasted our time kept us from moving forward. Nearly ten years later and there is still a big fucking hole in the ground with nothing to show for any of this. It’d be a shame if something that can be built and can bring something new (and I think more worthy than condos and retail going up in that part of town) to the downtown area gets canceled because of this.

  60. Anonymous says:

    “Proponents of St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral may have every right to re-build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Christianity. The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, re-building a Christian Church in the shadow of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building will cause some victims more pain –unnecessarily — and that is not right.”

  61. adamnvillani says:

    For all you idiots claiming that the intolerance of Saudi Arabia or other Islamic countries somehow means we’re supposed to apply the same standards to them here in the U.S.A….

    Why do you hate America?

    Freedom of Religion is in the first amendment to the Constitution. It’s pretty important. America is the place you can go and practice any religion you want and nobody will bother you for it.

    All of a sudden now the question is not “What is allowed by the Constitution?” or “What will enable my fellow Americans to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?” but instead, “What are the Wahhabi lunatics in charge of Saudi Arabia doing? Let’s do what they’re doing!”

    The whole point is that America is better than that. And we demonstrate that America is America by having BETTER laws and MORE freedom than backwards societies in the Old World, not by emulating them.

    Remember when George W. Bush oversimplified things by saying “They hate us for our freedom?” Well, now Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich hate our freedom. They want to throw centuries of American religious tolerance out the window because their feelings might be hurt. Well, screw that. The sooner these anti-American bigots fade into the garbage pile of history, the better.

    • Phikus says:

      Remember when George W. Bush oversimplified things by saying “They hate us for our freedom?” Well, now Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich hate our freedom. They want to throw centuries of American religious tolerance out the window because their feelings might be hurt. Well, screw that. The sooner these anti-American bigots fade into the garbage pile of history, the better.

      Well said. I like the cut of your jib.

      I tried to get the bushes to not build libraries in my state because they offended me but they wouldn’t listen.

      • dequeued says:

        eh, “they” DO hate us for our freedom.

        Why the hell do you think they did 9/11?
        Do you think it was a piloting accident, lol?

        It’s because, these young Muslim men, who lived in places like Cairo, saw creeping western influence in their cultures.
        They saw hard-core porn dvds, and liquor, being sold in every market places, and they saw their countrymen buying it.

        Let’s not delude ourselves, this is a culture war.
        They hate our culture, and, in an indirect way, they hate our freedom, Bush was right.

        They wish to add America to the Islamic Caliphate.
        This isn’t conspiracy theory crap, this is from official Al-Queda press releases.
        Have any of you bothered to look into what Osama, or other al queda tards say in their tapes?

  62. adamnvillani says:

    And furthermore…

    Freedom of Religion means Freedom of Unpopular Religion. It doesn’t mean anything if it only means Freedom to Exercise the Dominant Religion. Guess what? You have the freedom to exercise the dominant religion in every single country in the world. That’s because it’s the dominant religion! The whole point is that minority religious groups should have the freedom to practice, too.

    • Phikus says:

      The whole point is that minority religious groups should have the freedom to practice, too.

      It’s sad that you should have to spell that out. Who was it that said “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind?”

    • peacelovehope says:


  63. JD says:

    “It’s specifically designed to heal the breaches between those communities especially in New York City that were caused by 9/11. That’s why near GZ is a GREAT place to build it, and why 9/11 is EXACTLY the right date to open it.”

    I’ve already explained why that doesn’t fly.

    “The people who have raised the objections to this are the ones who benefit from those breaches continuing, who benefit from the widespread irrational fear of Muslims that has taken hold of this once-great nation.”

    …or maybe they are just people who understand the reality of radical Islam and believe that a project like this, however well-intentioned, would be a slap in the face to 9/11 victims and a potential sign of submission to Islamic radicals. See, that’s my real problem with all of this. I understand if you disagree with me over whether or not this project is appropriate. What I don’t understand is why you need to jump to accusations of bigotry. I never questioned your motives in supporting this project, never called you un-American or a terrorist sympathizer. So why must opposition to the project automatically be considered bigotry, as you and others, including the author of this article, have suggested?

    • Felton says:

      …or maybe they are just people who understand the reality of radical Islam and believe that a project like this, however well-intentioned, would be a slap in the face to 9/11 victims and a potential sign of submission to Islamic radicals. See, that’s my real problem with all of this.

      From what I’ve read, the small but vocal group of people opposing this includes some, not many, family members of 9/11 victims, who may understandably, though irrationally, object due to strong emotions, and a bunch of right wing pundits and political figures who have a history of inflaming and exploiting America’s pervasive fear of the Muslim world, which they want to be seen as a giant homogenous boogie-man out to get us. I agree with Xopher.

  64. ryhntyntyn says:

    Chomsky has said a lot things, some of them true, some not so much.

    I think he’s not batting 1000 on this one. It’s not about is here, but more about does, and what they did was say what and why it might not help the cause of peaceful coexistence to build a mosque and Islamic community center that close. In that they might be right.

    Maybe the planners have a right to build and it shouldn’t matter, but it might not help. It might make things worse. Which would sadly be a perversion, but there’s no accounting for feelings. Sometimes they just don’t act accordingly. I don’t think that’s very bigoted. I think if they owners of the property want to build it, they should. If they think they will help by doing so, then by all means. However, it’s worth mentioning that it might not help.

    But it also has to be admitted that the opposition so far has had a lot of crazy in it.

  65. Anonymous says:

    I just want to know if the Orthodox Christian Church that was destroyed in “Ground Zero” on 9/11 will be replaced first.

  66. Susan Oliver says:

    Rob, your use of the word “mosque”, both in the post and in the meant-grab-attention headline, is misleading, since the ADL clearly addresses its opposition to an “Islamic Center”, NOT a mosque. While I find the ADL’s stance unpleasant, I find BB’s use of the word mosque unnecessarily inflammatory.

    Unless, of course, they use the word mosque elsewhere in their statement. I can’t tell, since y’all haven’t provided a link.

  67. Phikus says:

    One can tell a lot about someone by their bedfellows. That’s it. I’m starting the Pro-Defamation League. We will offend everyone who easily takes offense equally, just to show ‘em. How’m I doin’ so far?

    • peacelovehope says:

      I love it! Sign me up!

      Also, I’m from the same state, and I’m right there with ya on the Shrub libraries.

  68. Cowicide says:

    I have to admit I didn’t know much about the ADL till now. But I’ve lost respect for them tremendously because of this idiotic stance they’ve taken and also reading here in this thread that Chomsky thinks they suck too.

    ADL. You fail and you fail miserably.

    ADL…. You should change your name… your actions aren’t worthy of it.

    • Xopher says:

      I agree with you again. My world is no longer shaken by this.

      *sigh* We probably agree more often than we disagree, actually.

  69. Anonymous says:

    To everybody that keeps talking about the Muslim victims, there were apparently about 70 from 3k that died that day.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      To everybody that keeps talking about the Muslim victims, there were apparently about 70 from 3k that died that day.

      According to Wikipedia, Muslims make up 0.6% of the US population. 70 out of 3k is 2.3%, so Muslims deaths in the WTC were nearly four times the average per religion. I can play with numbers, too.

    • MrWednesday says:


  70. IamInnocent says:

    “We’re saying if your purpose is to heal differences, it’s the wrong place,”

    If your are able to imagine places where differences (of any magnitude) can’t be healed, then you create a sort of sanctuary for them to exist forever.

    Some people are experts at perpetuating misery for everyone else and the leaders of the ADL are of that kind.

  71. JD says:

    “AND they DON’T have the right to object to things “without being called bigoted.””

    I never said they had that right. I said they should be free to, as in, you should have the common decency to debate their points without writing them off as bigots.

    “YOU tell me a legitimate reason to object to this project.”

    I have. I’ve mentioned the proximity to Ground Zero, the scale, the date of unveiling, the historical context of mosques, and the opposition of 9/11 families. Frankly, no one here has given good enough reason to say that this project should go through in the face of these controversial aspects, why this project can’t be done somewhere else. If you don’t consider those legitimate reasons, that’s fine. But don’t try to accuse me of bigotry.

    • soongtype says:

      All those aspects are controversial for a reason. Building the mosque sends a powerful message. In the US Islam is associated with terrorism. This mosque will stand in face of that association. The people who will feel pain from this clearly have anti-Islamic feelings that are understandable but misguided. They will have to bear that burden in the name of tolerance because that’s how we do it in America.

    • SamSam says:

      Frankly, no one here has given good enough reason to say that this project should go through in the face of these controversial aspects

      Because in this country we value freedom, including freedom of beliefs and freedom to worship, over the complaints of those who are intolerant. That’s why.

      It’s a fundamental principle of this country.

  72. Anonymous says:

    I disagree with the ADL’s conclusion, but I can respect it. It’s not based on some abstract theory, it’s based on a pragmatic and honest assessment (which may well be wrong) of what will cause people significantly less pain. That makes it something I can respect but argue with. I wish you’d taken a more measured approach to your characterization of things rather than allow this thread to be a springboard for anti-religious sentiment. Speaking of which:

    @pidg: next time you find yourself homeless, try surviving on the support of government and non-religious institutions alone; try skipping the food and shelter at all the local churches and see how you feel about things then.

  73. TheGZeus says:

    Oh, to be clear, I’m not saying the ADL is a good organisation. I haven’t done the research there(yet), unfortunately.

    I’m just saying that this isn’t even close to journalism, and it’s crap.

    • Frenetic says:

      I think you’re being a little harsh, TheGZeus.

      Aside from one or two sentences making a bit of a jab, most of the post is fairly neutral and factual. I’m not sure I’d call it “journalism” either, but BoingBoing isn’t a newspaper I don’t think. Isn’t it technically a blog? A blog where a good deal of the actual content discussing this issue is in the comment thread.

  74. spcfgt says:

    This is one of those issues that you can’t approach without a bias. No matter which side you’re on, you are very heavily biased. Even though I don’t feel strongly for either side, I feel that I can’t express my opinion on it without coming off as heavily biased. But oh well, I’ll share it anyways.

    I believe that this religious-based center should not be built, only because of the fact that it would cause the uproar it already has, with the worst still to come. If you know that after it’s built its users and patrons will be harassed, loathed and hated based on (misplaced) aggression towards Islam, then why build it there?

    I realize that it’s not being built there to stir up any of this aggression- I totally realize that it’s probably something needed in that area. But for the sake of everyone, collectively, why not elsewhere? Compromise, quell, work with people who will be affected by this. I realize that these aren’t steps that would be taken by either group or even a third party with a vested interest in the development of such a place, but it’s the only solution I can see.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I believe that this religious-based center should not be built, only because of the fact that it would cause the uproar it already has

      There is no uproar. There is a bit of grumbling. This thing has been in the planning stages for-fucking-ever and almost all of the objections have been from small special interest groups, as is the case in every single planning decision anywhere, ever. Especially in a place like New York where people are stacked on top of each other.

      Replace mosque and ADL with wind farm and NIMBYs, or perhaps with Shirley Sherrod and Andrew Breitbart, and you get the picture. This country is held hostage by the tiniest groups with the most vocal media presence.

  75. Anonymous says:

    i think i’d be more down if it was a mosque, a synagogue and a church side by side. that to me would be beautiful.

    then again, they’d probably fight about who should go in the middle.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget to include the shrine to Odin and the rest of the Norse gods, the temple of the Olympian deities, the sacrifical altar to Quetzacoatl, a Shinto temple, and an Italian restaurant. [Those are just some of the other religions I can think of off the top of my head.]

      Why an Italian restaurant you ask? Easy — Pastafarianism.

    • IamInnocent says:

      i think i’d be more down if it was a mosque, a synagogue and a church side by side. that to me would be beautiful.

      Build them next to a bar and we may have a good ending joke. :D

  76. teapot says:

    All religious practice and establishment causes me offence and pain…

    pain that we now have the tools to seek a fairly accurate approximation of truth, yet people still waste their time and resources with archaic beliefs. I will always reserve my right to laugh at such stupidity.

  77. Xopher says:

    So why must opposition to the project automatically be considered bigotry, as you and others, including the author of this article, have suggested?

    It’s not “automatic.” You just haven’t given any non-bigoted reasons for objecting to it, and neither has anyone else. It’s only a “slap in the face to 9/11 victims” if you believe that Islam is the enemy. It’s not a “sign of submission to Islamic radicals” because they’d KILL any of the people involved in this project for their open fellowship with Jews. Besides, they’re living in America, and for Al Qaeda the only acceptable reason for doing that is if you’re planning an attack. Enjoying the rights and freedoms of America? Death to you.

    That’s why it’s bigotry. The ONLY reason for finding it “a slap in the face” is if you’re so ignorant of Islam that you think Al Qaeda represents it. Eric Rudolph doesn’t represent Christians, and Osama bin Laden doesn’t represent Islam.

  78. Xopher says:

    JD, you’re saying the same things over and over without listening to the answers we’ve given. We’ve said why we think every single one of your objections amounts to bigotry, and you profess not to understand why we think you’re bigoted.

    You don’t think your objections are bigoted. I think they are, and several others think so too. Since you’re not responding to our explanations of why we think your objections ARE bigoted, and when I ask for a reason other than those (i.e. one *I* think is legitimate), you repeat the same things again.

    I think we’re at an impasse here. Do you see any value in continuing?

  79. JD says:

    It’s obvious that any reason I give you is just going to be met with baseless accusations of bigotry. If you can’t see that Islam is regrettably yet inexorably tied to 9/11 and how rational, tolerant people might consider a project like this is offensive, there’s no point left in arguing with you.

    • Kaden says:

      Dude, the stance you’re taking is It’s Not Bigotry If It’s True.

      First problem: it’s not True.

      Second problem: even if it was True, it’s bigotry.

      Claiming otherwise, repeatedly, does not change this.

    • Avram / Moderator says:

      JD, the bigotry comes from the way you’ve tarred one billion Muslims with the actions of a small group of radical Qutbist Sunnis.

      You’re not even keeping track of your own statements. In comment #176, you asserted that “that Islam is regrettably yet inexorably tied to 9/11,” and in #180, you claimed there was a “deep and clear connection between Islam and the perpetrators of 9/11″. But then, in #185, you ask “Why must an objection to this be an objection to all of Islam?”, as if you’d totally forgotten the sentences you’d typed just a few minutes earlier.

  80. David Pescovitz says:

    Republican nominee for NY governor Rick Lazio wrote a CNN editorial about “Who’s paying for the ground zero Islamic center?”

  81. Felton says:

    For anyone who’s interested, the Cordoba Initiative’s website states their intentions very clearly. If you still think it’s some kind of Muslim conspiracy, feel free to dig, but it’s inspiring stuff from my point of view.

  82. mgfarrelly says:

    Get up, walk out of your house, take a stroll in any direction. After a while, stop.

    Where you’re standing, someone died. Someone was murdered, someone was assaulted, someone lost hope, a child died, a friendship ended, terrible deeds were plotted, terrible deeds were carried out, good people did nothing while evil flourished.

    The whole world is a graveyard. The whole world, save for the most remote and inhospitable to our species, is a monument to the cruelties and wickedness we are so very capable of.

    We are so picky about what history we lionize, which victims become martyrs, which martyrs become movements, we forget that every patch of ground holds some awful shameful act.

    When people want to build something and not knock it down, especially in the name of a group that is feared and maligned, we should be happy. Stop using history as a cudgel.

    • Jesse Weinstein says:

      Excellent, poetic statement. Thank you for posting it. Even if it’s not technically true (I’m sure there are spots in populated areas where few enough people have traveled that little horror has happened there (yet)), it’s metaphorically true, and very well said. Thanks again.

    • ryhntyntyn says:

      The ADL is a partisan organisation. If the part they are protecting is jews. Which is their stated aim. And I personally enjoy the honesty. But they have also stood up for other religions. The Mormons for instance. And they have supported and investigated against organisations on the right and the left.

      There is a difference between history and current events. I think there might be something to be said for not poking too deeply into cultural political statements at a site where a few thousand people died while their relatives and friends are still around, while a war that started as a result of those deaths is still going on, and while the feelings concerning the act are still so strong. Memorials are often built a long time after an event, as a way to remember.
      I still lecture part time at Dachau, and the place is still so easy to politicize 65 some odd years later. One has to try really hard to remain neutral. It’s a wonder they managed to put a memorial there at all, and no surprise that it took them 20 years from war’s end to figure out how to build it.

      And September 11 is still so fresh in people’s minds. It will be years before that changes. And the proof is right here, otherwise why are we having this discussion?

      • mgfarrelly says:

        The problem with the argument is that, at it’s heart, opposing this the Cordoba Building is implying that all Muslims are akin to the group of Muslims who carried out the 9/11 attacks.

        At the very core of this controversy is simple guilt by association, guilt by dint of religion. It’s being done by people like Sarah Palin and other Right-Wing nutters to drum up FEAR in an election year. That’s loathsome.

        The Right is using recent history as a means of fund-raising. The ADL jumping into this is just ridiculous and causes nothing but damage to their reputation.

  83. Thalia says:

    To all the defenders of the First Amendment: Whatever happened to defending the ADL’s right to say this? The ADL isn’t blocking the building, they simply expressed their view on it (namely that it’s tasteless and likely counterproductive to the stated goals of the organization).

    I find the magical funding (apparently the Cordoba Project last tax season claimed to have $200,000 in assets) to be a much more troubling issue. $100M is not spare change. I hope they disclose the source for that money. And I hope all of you now supporting this project will check that out too.

    • Xopher says:

      No one is saying the ADL shouldn’t have the right to say this.

      We’re saying we think ill of them for saying it. That’s OUR right.

      In a free society you have the right to say whatever you want. You do NOT have the right to do so without people judging you based on what you say.

  84. Xopher says:

    Not baseless ones, no. I’m beginning to wonder what you DO think is bigotry, though.

  85. ryhntyntyn says:

    Every hurt in the world cannot be healed proactively. Somethings require time and forgetfulness to heal. And again, I wonder if this center is the right idea and if it will help. The right to build it shouldn’t be in question. It isn’t as far as I remember. The wisdom of it, might be questionable.

    The Carmelite mission at Auschwitz and currently at Dachau, in addition to their stated aim of care and palliative care for the elderly is to pray the pain out of the ground. The earth at Concentration Camps is in their view literally saturated with human suffering.

    But if I remember correctly, the problem at Auschwitz was the big honking cross they put up, across from Auschwitz I. The Pope thought that was not cool, so he asked them to go.

  86. Rob Beschizza says:

    I called it a mosque because CNN did, but am happy to change that. I’d be just as supportive of the plans if it were a “mega mosque” in any case: it’s Manhattan and everything there is like that. Melting pot, folks.

  87. an0nymous says:

    The ADL is quite shady. The application of their standards supports the notion that they are a partisan organization.

  88. Bennessy says:

    It’s two blocks away for chrissakes. Are we going to start holding Christians accountable for the KKK?

  89. Neon Tooth says:

    One not just take this line of bigotry to its logical conclusion and ban Muslims from entering a certain radius around Ground Zero period. The ADL can decide on what boundaries are sufficient enough to show proper reverence…….

  90. Felton says:

    Plenty of Muslims have denounced terrorism, including Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who’s building the Islamic center in question. Just google “muslims denounce terrorism.”

  91. Noufal Ibrahim says:

    As a practising Muslim (no pork, no alcohol, pray 5 times day etc.), I have some opinions on this.

    I don’t live in the US (I’m from India). If the people in power do agree to the mosque it’s a positive sign to the Muslim community that it’s not their religion as a whole that’s being singled out.

    The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the general feeling that they have created in the minds of impressionable Muslim youth is probably the biggest recruitment point for violent groups out there. If something like this mosque is built and the Muslim leaders use it to counter the propaganda from the other side, I think it’d go a long way.

    I don’t know much about the ADL but I have read reports on them being a partisan organisation. They do have a point though. I don’t know what the general mentality of the people is in the Manhattan area (and the US in general) but if they feel something like this , it’s a bad idea to build a mosque there right away.

    • Xopher says:

      It isn’t how we feel in the New York Metropolitan Area. There are a FEW people who feel that way, and most of them have been riled up by right-wing freaks and Christian Dominionists, who are the enemies of everything good.

      As for what some families of victims feel, here’s the statement of September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows on the topic.

      Personally, I think Ground Zero should be a garden, not a graveyard. But this site isn’t AT Ground Zero anyway, and it doesn’t have any problem of cultural inappropriateness.

  92. Anonymous says:

    Next up, let’s outlaw christian churches near abortion clinics. We can also eliminate synagogues near christian churches, what with “jews” killing jesus all those years ago. Don’t forget to ban private software developers from setting up shop near IRS buildings. A terrorist act, after all, has the power to convert any group of people (no matter how large and diverse) into a metaphor for absolute evil.

    In fact, let’s just dump 400 years of progress in the garbage and go back to the dark ages.

  93. Antinous / Moderator says:

    I’ve finally gotten why so many comments sound so familiar. People talk about Muslims like they’re zombies and we’re holed up in an empty mall with a couple of shotguns.

    • Felton says:

      I’ve finally gotten why so many comments sound so familiar. People talk about Muslims like they’re zombies and we’re holed up in an empty mall with a couple of shotguns.

      They hate our freedoms, but they love our brains. :-D

  94. Ugly Canuck says:

    Build it, and they shall come.

    Are they seriously opposed to this construction project based upon nothing more than religion?
    Sheesh! What has happened to the USA?

    • ryhntyntyn says:

      If it was that simple no one would be debating eh?. The USA got attacked and haven’t gotten over it yet. I think it’s understandable if not completely acceptable.

      • Brainspore says:

        The USA got attacked and haven’t gotten over it yet. I think it’s understandable if not completely acceptable.

        This isn’t a question of “USA versus scary foreigners.” The people who want to build the mosque are Americans too. New Yorkers, even. This isn’t even a little acceptable.

  95. anharmyenone says:

    You keep trying to make this about personalities and narratives. I think that is silly, but I care about you. I’m worried about you. I would like to get through to you. So I will give you a narrative as an analogy. Here goes. I am like a person from the northern United States during the Jim Crow era who was criticizing Jim Crow laws. (Remember I never vilified a people, I only criticized a system of laws.) You are someone who says that because I am not a Southerner, I have no right to criticize Southerners, that I am just an anti-southern bigot and should leave “the South” alone to resolve its own problems.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      You are someone who says that because I am not a Southerner, I have no right to criticize Southerners, that I am just an anti-southern bigot and should leave “the South” alone to resolve its own problems.

      Except in this case, you’re actually like Southerners complaining that the North doesn’t have Jim Crow laws and should be forced to have them. Your analogy has the form right, but has reversed the content. Or in other words, you’ve just rattled off the doctrine of reverse discrimination to support bigotry. But thanks for pointing out how much the anti-mosquers sound like people who want the ‘colored’ water fountain to go in another part of town so it won’t offend white people.

  96. Antinous / Moderator says:

    As long as Sharia is officially affirmed as the ultimate authority on every question, how do you counter the radicalizing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots?

    The Muslim world got along pretty well with the rest of the planet until Western Europe and the US started intervening in its affairs in the last century. We toppled a democratic regime in Iran and reinstated the Shah’s father, which led to the Islamic state, which led us to arm Iraq to fight them, which led to an armed Iraq….

    Maybe the solution is to take our fists out of their asses and let them get on with their own political process. Most of the Islamic word was progressing nicely toward modern democracy before we fucked with them.

    One thing is for sure – talking about them as the Red Menace, the Yellow Menace, the International Jewish banking conspiracy, the black men coming to steal our women, the Gypsies coming to steal our children and every other one of your jingoistic rhetorical antecedents never solved anything.

    • anharmyenone says:

      There is a book called _Them: Adventures with Extremists_ by Jon Ronson. He went and spent time with various types of extremists including white supremacists, Islamic extremists, Ian Paisley and others. What he found was surprising. He found that they all believe the same thing. They all believe that the world is controlled by a small secretive group that pulls the strings and manipulates the media and governments and that elections are all for show, etc, etc, etc.

  97. JoshuaZ says:

    Oh fuck this. The ADL used to be very good about understanding that you can only get tolerance if you push for tolerance for everyone, and understood that that was the best thing to do to be decent humans. This is just another aspect of how far they’ve fallen in the last few years. It is interesting to note that there are reports that they’ve been less helpful in the last few years in regards to discrimination against Orthodox Jews. It seems like the ADL at this point represents nothing more than what a small fraction of suburban Jews want.

  98. Felton says:

    Here’s an interesting transcript from a 60 Minutes interview between Ed Bradley and a group of American Muslims, including Imam Faisal. It covers some interesting topics, including thoughts on curbing Islamic extremism.

  99. adamnvillani says:

    I’ve mentioned the proximity to Ground Zero,

    …which you would not object to if they were not Muslim,

    the scale,

    …which you would not object to if they were not Muslim,

    the date of unveiling,

    …which you would not object to if they were not Muslim,

    the historical context of mosques,

    …which you bring up precisely because they are Muslim,

    and the opposition of 9/11 families.

    …which you feel is legitimate only because the Cordoba project is Muslim.

    Bigotry is complete intolerance of another creed or belief.

    It only becomes bigotry when your intolerance is “complete”? This is typical of the bigot’s playbook… claim that calling them out on their bigotry is the “real” bigotry.

    I have consistently stated that I have no objection to peaceful Muslims or their gathering or worship.

    No, you just want to lump them all in with a radicalized criminal minority.

    I simply believe that, because of the deep and clear connection between Islam and the perpetrators of 9/11, it is insensitive to erect such a large symbol of Islam that close to Ground Zero.

    And we have shown that there is no connection between the Cordoba project and the perpetrators of 9/11, and that they are building their project for the benefit of the community precisely to demonstrate that they are not like the Muslims who were responsible for 9/11.

  100. Xopher says:

    I posted the following on another site where the issue of the Islamic Center came up.


    I feel I should offer my perspective here.

    I was working in One World Trade Center at the time of the attacks. I escaped death by my decision that morning to come in at 10 (as I had as a contractor) rather than at 8:30 (as I had since becoming an employee). I worked on a floor right in the center of the hole where the first plane went in.

    300 of my coworkers died that day, including several people who were friendly to me and whom I personally liked. Because phones were down and people were marooned far from home (the trains and tunnels were shut down for security reasons), it took a long time to verify the miraculous fact: none of the people really close to me had died, none of my old friends…only my new ones.

    But that wasn’t what broke me, and sent me into a deepening depression I still struggle with.

    The response of my fellow Americans made me ashamed. They attacked their Muslim neighbors, and their non-Muslim Arab neighbors, and their Sikh neighbors (even though no Sikh had anything to do with the attacks, the turbans were enough).

    Living where I do, I know a number of Muslims. On 9/11, the owner of a Middle Eastern restaurant here in Hoboken called a bunch of men from his mosque and rushed down to Ground Zero to volunteer. When they were told the place was overflowing with volunteers (as it was), they raised money instead. That restaurant proudly displays one of the American flags flown at Ground Zero during the rescue period.

    Another of my friends is an Albanian Muslim, raised right here in New Jersey. He looks, acts, sounds, and IS exactly like any other young adult from New Jersey. (The exceptions are that he didn’t get drunk on his 21st birthday – or ever – and fasts during Ramadan. His favorite fast-breaking food? A peanut butter and jelly sandwich.)

    Because he’s white, he’s often been the “surprise” Muslim in his classes, and heard people say some phenomenally stupid things about Muslims and Islam. “Wait a minute! I’m a Muslim, and I’m not like that,” he often has to say, and their response is often “You’re not a Muslim.” He’s not a brown-skinned turban-wearing psychopath, you see, so he can’t be a Muslim.

    Let’s compare some other terrorist attacks, hmm? Tim McVeigh has already been brought up; he was a white guy from Michigan, like me. Funny, I didn’t get any hate stares on the street after the OKC bombing, which at the time was the worst terrorist attack on American soil. He was a Christian, but no one says that Christian churches should not be allowed near the OKC memorial.

    The terrorists who have been blowing up abortion clinics and shooting doctors are self-proclaimed Christians also, but no one throws rocks at men in reversed collars or people wearing crosses because of this, not even the family members of the people they’ve murdered, not even the horribly-scarred survivors of the fires they set.

    But, you will say, those people aren’t good Christians. They aren’t good examples of Christianity. You know what? That’s exactly what my Muslim friends say about Osama bin Laden and his gang of perverts. The behavior of Al Qaeda is utterly prohibited by their reading of the Qur’an…the reading they’ve learned in their mosques.

    In my opinion this proposed mosque will be an emblem of American freedom, ESPECIALLY since it’s near Ground Zero. It will help educate people about Islam, so that they will know that Osama bin Laden and his ilk are outcast heretics in Islam, and have no justification in ANY religion for their murderous behavior. There will also be a community center which will be open to everyone, not just Muslims, in a neighborhood sadly deprived of such things.

    Please consider what I’ve said carefully, and then think about whether it changes your position. I know both 9/11 and Muslims, and I support the building of this mosque.

    • Donald Petersen says:

      Xopher, your perspective is invaluable, and your experience heartbreaking, even to people at some remove from your experience, as I am.

      But the latter half of your message is what really hit me. IMHO, you are as right as right can be when it comes to this.


    • Anonymous says:

      It may be because I am buzzed and the beer I am drinking is called Karma but your post read amazingly to me. Thank you for adding your perspective to this. I was already pro-Islamic center, but reading your experience made me feel like my opinion was the patriotic, the proud and accepting one. Not even just tolerating, which I feel is a poor description and a bad thing to teach–to me it oftn impies a begrudging “allowing” to exist instead of being open to differences.

      I am what I call a nontheist–I do not believe in much of anything, but I wholeheartedly embrace that I have no clue and have no way of knowing. But I REALLY want everyone to have the ability to live and exist happily with everyone else. Which would mean the ability to build a center without having people react like, well, this.

      Anyway the moral of the story is I want this thing built and u want it to flourish.

  101. Felton says:

    Thanks, Phikus! I was in the mood to hear some Pink Floyd, although I didn’t know it until I followed that link.

    Here’s a feel-good answer song.

  102. Anonymous says:

    I want to thank the participants of this discussion for helping me to solidify my position on this issue.

    I had leaned toward allowing the Islamic Center on a strictly legal basis–there are no laws that I’m aware of restricting religious organizations from setting up shop in proximity to anything in particular. But I also felt that I was hiding behind the legal argument somewhat, because deep down I wasn’t sure if it was the right move. After all, wouldn’t it just be easier if they wanted to move somewhere else?

    But now I see the error in that argument, and I fully support the decision to build an Islamic Center wherever there are Muslims (Islamists?) who want to get together.

    And I understand how the ADL folks and others could have come down on the wrong side of this issue–it’s the easier position to take. But easier isn’t always better. And now it’s on them to think long and hard and come around. Might I suggest reading through the hundreds of comments here? It’s worth the time.

  103. Dirtgrain says:

    Will we ever have fascism in the USA? “Yes, but it will be called anti-fascism” (Huey Long).

    Anti-defamation . . .

  104. Ugly Canuck says:

    bah. “may” for ‘my”, in my forgoing comment.

  105. Xopher says:

    Again, why must they be anti-Islamic feelings? Why must an objection to this be an objection to all of Islam?

    Because there’s no OTHER reason to object to this! Islam is the only connection, however tenuous, between the source of their pain and this project. If this project causes them pain, only anti-Islamic feeling can possibly be the reason.

    Look, suppose there was a murder of some white people by an African-American nutcase in Central Park. If that person’s family felt “pain” every time they saw an African-American after that, that would be “anti-African-American feeling,” and also bigotry. This is exactly what you’re describing and denying that it’s bigotry.

  106. Xopher says:

    I seem to have quoted a comment that was subsequently deleted.

    • adamnvillani says:

      I seem to have quoted a comment that was subsequently deleted.

      I feel your pain. It’s pretty annoying to have a conversation and not know which of your statements will actually be made public, and which will be made public and then disappear, or if you’ll reply to something that will then disappear.

      JD is 100% wrong, but personally I don’t want to see any of his comments deleted. If a fool says something, don’t give him cover by concealing his foolishness.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        When someone says the same thing 16 times in four hours in one thread, I have no qualms about taking half of them out. I left all of the ones that had replies using the reply function.

  107. Gag Halfrunt says:

    I read that there was a Muslim prayer room in one of the World Trade Center towers.

    • Felton says:

      I’m getting sick of calling them “Faux News.” I think I’ll start calling them “Hen-House News,” in honor of their fan base.

  108. David A says:

    Weren’t they the ones saying that other countries aren’t allowed to call racially driven mass slaughters, genocides.

    Because only Israeli’s get to use that word…..

    • Avram / Moderator says:

      David A, it’s more complicated than that. Back in 2004, the ADL took out a big newspaper ad in 2004 calling attention to the Sudanese genocide, so no, they don’t claim that only Israel gets to use the word.

      There’s some complicated politics surrounding the Ottoman genocide of Armenians during WW1. Turkey refuses to admit that it happened, and since Turkey is valuable as a secular Muslim nation in that region that’s friendly to the west, well, the US and Israel have been tip-toeing gingerly around the topic for a while. At least, up until the recent Freedom Flotilla incident. But that’s not a matter of claiming that only Israelis get to use the word “genocide”.

  109. Ugly Canuck says:

    I personally think of Osama bin Laden as a exiled prince in revolt against the ruling house of his land.

    A very common figure in history.
    They’ll usually attack the foreign or domestic allies of the ruling house, too. In this case, the USA.

    Thus, an appeal to religion is somewhat necessary for him, as the Saudi rulers are indisputably the Keepers of Mecca and Medina, and as such have a significant religious role to play (and income from pilgrims to collect). To revolt against the ruler of Saudi Arabia, you’ve got to talk some religion.

    IMHO the Saudis would treat Osama even worse than the Americans would – if they could get a hold of him. But I suppose I could be wrong.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      the Saudi rulers are indisputably the Keepers of Mecca and Medina

      Feh. They’re hicks from Riyadh who dispossessed the historical Sharifs of Mecca.

  110. Phikus says:

    If the ADL joined the Truthers instead of the bigots, they’d no longer have a problem. XD

  111. dequeued says:

    Again, if a new megachurch was being built, and one of the founding members was a former member of the Westboro baptist church, who refused to condemn the Westboro baptist church, and they wanted to build it across the street from an LGBT center, are you really telling me that that wouldn’t bother you?

    • Xopher says:

      Of course it would. Which founding member of the Cordoba Center is a former member of Al Qaeda who refuses to condemn them?

    • Notary Sojac says:

      The imam who is heading up the Cordoba movement cannot be documented as having links to Al Qaeda. He does however have some connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has advocated the extension of shari’a, and which is banned in Egypt due to its advocacy of violence.

  112. Anonymous says:

    So, if building a Catholic church near a place were a child has been molested by a priest causes pain to the victims and their families, then it should be right to not let them build the church…
    This is complete nonsense. It’s ignorant and discriminatory.

  113. Anonymous says:

    While I have never been to ground zero, and know absolutely no victims, involved, I would think that I would resent any organization or person making blanket statements on my behalf.

    Of course for me, it will make me even more eager to see this center built. Perhaps it will bring even MORE people to the center.

    Not that I feel this way, but we should get rid of all the Civil War memorials, and any memorial for that matter, because it might negatively affect the victims. For that matter, let’s get rid of anything that has caused pain.

    Sorry… I’m getting a bit silly with all the silliness. Give it a rest and stop speaking for people who didn’t ask you to speak for them.

  114. anharmyenone says:

    I’ll made a deal. If the Islamic clergyman behind this project will condemn Sharia Law as being barbaric and against the will of Allah and issue a fatwah that all Muslims worldwide should ignore and abolish Sharia everywhere and adopt constitutional democracy, equal rights for all people regardless of religion, ethnicity, or gender, and accept that laws made by democratically elected legislatures are what Allah desires law to be, then I will personally write a check to help pay to build this community center/mosque and support it being situated anywhere desired, even at the actual site of the WTC.

    • Xopher says:

      Shari’a, according to Islamic scholars, is supposed to serve the people, not the other way around. To most Muslims, it’s accepted that Shari’a is culturally appropriate to wherever it is, and changes with the times.

      We mostly hear about the people who think Shari’a is supposed to be inflexible, unchanging, and harsh, but that’s actually an idea that was unknown in the world 50 years ago.

    • Avram / Moderator says:

      Anharmyenone, how would it be possible to issue a fatwā abolishing sharia? That would be like asking the US Supreme Court to abolish the Constitution.

      Would I be correct in guessing that your sole exposure to the word “sharia” has been in breathless news stories and blog posts about how radical Muslims want to force everybody to live under their religious law? And that you’re entirely unfamiliar with the actual practices of religious Muslims living their lives in secular nations? And, for that matter, with religious Jews living under halakha?

      • anharmyenone says:

        Avram. My heart goes out to the people suffering under Sharia. Per your inquiry as to what I have read about Sharia. I have read widely, including the Wikipedia article on Sharia. I quote from the “Democracy and human rights” section. Begin quote:

        In 1998 the Constitutional Court of Turkey banned and dissolved Turkey’s Refah Party on the grounds that the “rules of sharia”, which Refah sought to introduce, “were incompatible with the democratic regime,” stating that “Democracy is the antithesis of sharia.” On appeal by Refah the European Court of Human Rights determined that “sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy”.[157][158][159] Refah’s Sharia based notion of a “plurality of legal systems, grounded on religion” was ruled to contravene the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It was determined that it would “do away with the State’s role as the guarantor of individual rights and freedoms” and “infringe the principle of non-discrimination between individuals as regards their enjoyment of public freedoms, which is one of the fundamental principles of democracy”. It was further ruled that, according to Christian Moe:

        [T]he Court considers that sharia, which faithfully reflects the dogmas and divine rules laid down by religion, is stable and invariable. Principles such as pluralism in the political sphere or the constant evolution of public freedoms have no place in it. [...] It is difficult to declare one’s respect for democracy and human rights while at the same time supporting a regime based on sharia, which clearly diverges from Convention values, particularly with regard to its criminal law and criminal procedure, its rules on the legal status of women and the way it intervenes in all spheres of private and public life in accordance with religious precepts.[160]

        End quote.

        So there you have it. The European Court of Human Rights thought that Sharia was such a threat to democracy, that it endorsed banning a political party (an inherently undemocratic act). That court must have regarded Sharia as an EXISTENTIAL THREAT to democracy to go that far.

        I hope they’re wrong, but I fear they are not. Perhaps CAIR could take it upon themselves to explain, in detail, Sharia Law to all of America, and if we have misunderstood it, then they can set us all straight. The more Americans learn about all the details of Sharia, will our fears be defused, or will we get more scared? Let’s find out. Let’s make Sharia, in all its details, the number one topic of conversation in America. Let sunlight shine on every nitty gritty aspect of Sharia and then we will all become enlightened by the knowledge we gain from studying Sharia.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          Everything I need to know about international law, I learned from Wikipedia!

          I have an idea. Why don’t you go visit an Islamic country instead of proposing public policy based on an online encyclopedia written and edited by random anonymous individuals.

          • anharmyenone says:

            Your reply is an example of ad hominem logic.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            No, it’s an example of calling someone out for defaming a billion people based on having read a Wikipedia article. Perhaps you haven’t been paying attention, but several wars are now in progress because Americans en masse have gotten into the odd habit of acting on propaganda, rumors, lies and unproven allegations. Maybe a little real research into the situation would be in order.

          • anharmyenone says:

            The wars of which you speak are being fought because people do not realize there is a war of ideas going on. Whoever most resorts to and relies on force in this war of ideas will lose. The 9/11 attacks did great harm to the cause of those who carried them out. Right now the USA is on the path to losing. Neocons in both our major political parties in the USA are trying to build an American Empire. That effort will and is failing miserably. They are falling right into the hands of those who want to replay “Saladin vs. crusaders”. If you are trying to end those fruitless military wars, more power to you.

            Now, on the other matter, let me get this straight. My personal reading habits are relevant to whether the European Court of Human Rights has or has not made a specific ruling? You’re trying to make this about me. I am insignificant. (Ontologically I do not even believe I exist, as I have undergone “ego death”.)

            Your cry of “defamation” is the rhetorical equivalent of a SLAPP suit. Whenever someone criticizes a policy of the Catholic Church, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League comes out and says the critic is an anti-Catholic religious bigot. He tries to use the allegation of defamation against the world’s Catholics as a bludgeon to silence any criticism of his church. You are doing substantially the same thing when you accuse me of defamation.

            Any time a religion goes beyond making claims about theology, or angels, or the afterlife and such and starts telling people (even its own members) what to do, it is fair game for criticism, and that applies to ANY religion. Any negative effects here on earth that any religion has, is just as subject to criticism as if it were IBM corporation doing it. Just being a religion does not entitle any negative action or consequence from being criticized just as mercilessly as a corporation or a politician. Ever see “The People vs. Larry Flynt?” Just because Jerry Falwell was a clergyman did not exempt him from the most merciless of criticism, because he went beyond talking about what prayer he thought people should pray to get to heaven–he was involved in terrestrial matters.

            Having said that, I think it is unwise to criticize ancient religious figures or religious founders. Such criticisms will likely backfire, no matter what religion is at issue. It is much better to argue “If our esteemed founder were participating in this discussion today, he would be in favor of this reform proposal, in light of all that has happened since his time.”

            As long as Sharia is officially affirmed as the ultimate authority on every question, how do you counter the radicalizing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots?

          • Felton says:

            I wonder if Larry Gonick could be persuaded to do a Cartoon Guide to the Muslim World.

    • Felton says:

      Here’s a good rundown of where the man is coming from. If you’ll take him at his word, he really does seem to want to make progress along the lines you mentioned:

      “The Cordoba Initiative also seeks to engage policymakers, religious leaders and women – whose voices have largely been left out on matters of religion – to find ways to bridge tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims.

      “One of its projects brings together several hundred Muslim women activists and intellectuals to work on advancing women’s rights and improving access to education. Another theme of discussion is how Muslims can draw on their faith to thrive in multicultural, multi-religious societies.”

  115. mattrue says:

    Xopher, am I a bigot because I believe being Muslim makes one more likely to commit acts of terrorism? And don’t bring up crap that happened a thousand years ago. Am I a bigot because I fail to see any protests by Muslims denouncing extremism? Am I a bigot because I believe it’s immoral to threaten others if they don’t join your religion?

    Now I’m not some rightwing nut. I abhor racism. The millions of illegals here in the US are just trying to survive. I want nothing but peace and prosperity for every moral human being on this planet. Militarily, we should have been out of the ME decades ago. It only legitimizes dictators over there.

    But we have a moral obligation to denounce intolerance. The entire human race does. If American Muslims don’t break off their ties to Muslim bigots in the Middle East, we’re only going to get more of this “counter bigotry”.

    • Noufal Ibrahim says:

      Xopher, am I a bigot because I believe being Muslim makes one more likely to commit acts of terrorism? [..]Am I a bigot because I fail to see any protests by Muslims denouncing extremism?

      No. I wouldn’t call you a bigot but I would say that you’re misinformed about and quite unaware of the situation inside the Muslim world.
      I’m about 30 years old and I’ve missed maybe 3 or 4 Friday prayers in my entire life. I’ve been to mosques in the Middle East and in India. Not once have I listened to a sermon advocating that we “kill the infidels”. Sermons (of which the ones on Friday are the ones most attended by people) are usually non political and discuss religious matters like the inner aspects of prayer, moral lessons from the early Muslims etc.
      Quite contrary to your statement, I’ve heard more than my share of sermons and lectures denouncing terrorism and killing of innocent people post 9/11. This by reputed local scholars who are respected by the local communities. They don’t go on TV news channels though. Perhaps that’s why you miss them. The force of their statements is dulled though by a common question. “What about what they’re doing in Palestine, in Iraq and in Afghanistan?”. That’s something which only the United States has an ability to fix and I think it’s fair that the Muslim community require than from them.

      Am I a bigot because I believe it’s immoral to threaten others if they don’t join your religion?

      No. You’re not a bigot and I share your belief. I just wish that you’d be more receptive to the idea that most of my co-religionists share this belief.

      Islamic Law is a lot more complex than taking out a Quran translation and flipping through an index for “violence”. That however seems to be the way that much of the media interprets our faith and it’s becoming tiring to explain the truth to an increasingly agitated crowd.

      Islam is a missionary religion. The act of spreading the message to general community of non Muslims is a praiseworthy thing to do. Do you think driving a plane into a tower full of innocent people helps this or makes it extremely hard if not impossible to do it?

      Ideas are spread by showing others that they have something to gain from accepting the idea. Not by forcing or threatening them.

      But we have a moral obligation to denounce intolerance. The entire human race does.

      Including us. We try to follow the path show to us by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and one of his lessons is to “speak the truth even if it be against yourself”. Go down the street in a traditional Muslim community and ask a religious Muslim what he thinks of groups bombing and killing innocent people. You’ll get one of two replies – “It’s making the lives of common Muslims like us harder” or “What about what they’re doing to our people in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan”.

      If American Muslims don’t break off their ties to Muslim bigots in the Middle East, we’re only going to get more of this “counter bigotry”.
      The Middle East (especially Saudi Arabia) has more than it’s fair share of bigots. I lived in Oman for around 15 years and while the overall society and government is structured around Islamic principles (since that’s they way they’ve been since long ago), non Muslims live their lives just fine. They have their own religious buildings (though much lesser in number than you’d expect in a predominantly non Muslim country like India), they have economic opportunities and they have their own social and religious lives.
      The Saudi strain of Islam is extremely harsh and unacceptable to most people. The fact remains though that it’s the resting place of the founder of the faith and has the most venerated shrines of the religion. Muslims are not going to “break off their ties” to the region.
      Most don’t subscribe to the Saudi form of Islam but they (the house of Saud) spend their national wealth to spread their ideas. This is a pity and a disaster for us as a community.

      But I’m rambling. I think you mean well but I feel that your outlook is distorted by some of the opinions that you hold.

      • Xopher says:

        Thank you again. I and other non-Muslims* can say these things all day, but people can just say they haven’t heard this from Muslims. By coming here and speaking your truth, you’re truly helping fight bigotry and prejudice.

        I truly believe many of the people who believe bigoted things are reasonable people who reject religious bigotry in principle, but have been misled by the dominant narrative in our media. Some of those people will change their minds when they become aware of the facts, and by coming here and speaking out, you provide facts that American non-Muslims such as myself cannot provide.

        I’m aware that you disagree with me about the building of the Cordoba Center, but I suspect you’d change your mind if you knew the politics behind the opposition here. It’s not an outcry from the community by any means; it’s a few fanatics raising the roof and supported by right-wing politicians promoting a Dominionist Christian agenda.
        *If I understand correctly my religious beliefs could get me executed under Saudi law (though maybe I could get away with them if I didn’t bring my polytheistic books), but I would be safe in e.g. Pakistan.

        • Noufal Ibrahim says:

          I truly believe many of the people who believe bigoted things are reasonable people who reject religious bigotry in principle, but have been misled by the dominant narrative in our media.

          You put it well. I visited the US quite a few times and met cultural and religious groups different from the ones I usually see in my part of the world. They’re fine people. There are things which I disagree with them about and rather strongly at that but we’re both civilised enough to have conversations about it and agree to disagree. There were also people who were unyielding and unwilling to discuss their positions. Just like in my community.

          Apropos the Cordoba initiative, I’m too uninformed about the state of affairs (and too sceptical about the general media reports) to comment. I’m in support of efforts to present Islam in a more positive light and to bridge the differences between it and other communities though. You seem to be better aware of the situation there so you’re in a position to have a more informed opinion.

          Finally, apropos the Saudi state. I think (sadly) that you’re right. The laws there are quite repressive. I myself am quite orthodox and don’t really subscribe to the Saudi strain of the faith. I imagine I’d have a hard time practising Islam if I were there (this is based on my understanding of the place from the stories of my relatives who live there). The irony is not lost on me.

          The early rulers from the house of Saud in the mid 1700s actually blocked Hajj pilgrims from neighbouring countries (e.g. Yemen) because they disagreed with them on tiny matters of practice. They were dealt with by the Ottomans then but these days are richer and just as intolerant as they were.

          There are plenty of Muslim countries out there which are not like Saudi Arabia but people often pick SA since it’s the best one to exemplify their positions on the faith. “Cherry picking” and all that. Oh well…

          • Felton says:

            I’d also like to thank you for your thoughts here, Noufal. Xopher is absolutely right about the media here. It seems to either actively promote or passively enable a negative stereotype of Muslims. It’s amazing how many people blindly accept that stereotype.

    • Xopher says:

      Xopher, am I a bigot because I believe being Muslim makes one more likely to commit acts of terrorism? … Am I a bigot because I fail to see any protests by Muslims denouncing extremism? Am I a bigot because I believe it’s immoral to threaten others if they don’t join your religion?

      Hmm, let’s see. Yes, yes*, and no**.
      *Because if you’d looked, you’d see them. They don’t make the MSM because they don’t fit the currently fashionable narrative.

      **Not in the abstract. The belief that all Muslims do so, however, IS bigoted.

    • Felton says:

      Xopher, am I a bigot because I believe being Muslim makes one more likely to commit acts of terrorism?

      What word would you use for shoving a diverse group of over a billion people into such a narrow and negative stereotype?

  116. Anonymous says:

    I have lived in the UK among moderate Muslims. They are kind, decent people. I don’t believe they would support building this Mosque because they would find to do so would be insensitive and unkind.

    I do wonder about the motivation behind the determination to go ahead with this plan.

    • Hamlet says:

      Sarcastic Response to the ADL:
      I think that we all went wrong when we guaranteed individuals the right to and/or from religion; I think we should tear up the Constitution of the US, get rid of that clause, and all the religious buildings be they churches, synagogues, temples or mosques. None of them pay taxes, yet use all public services, and that’s not kind to the rest of us who not only pay taxes (and thus foot the cost of these deadbeat institutions all), but have our freedom from denied since these churches–especially the churches, are everywhere. What? You are a Christian and tell me you’ve the freedom to worship and to get lost? Well, there’s your answer right back from the Jews and the Muslims, who have the same rights as you do, and that includes the right to build their place of worship (synagogues and mosques respectively, and thus including this mosque).

      I might add that that mosque, being more like a YMCA, offers far more benefits to New Yorkers than do the churches, and let’s not forget there are strip joints in that area, too. Since most “terrorists” and criminals in the US are actually Christian (so, too, are the IRA and the FLQ, not to mention all those other militants), I think it’s high time we picked on the Christians. What, you say that not all Christians should be held accountable for the actions of others just because those others are Christians?

      If so, you’d be correct, as that would not be right. Nor is it right here to discriminate among religions, which in fact is the only thing going on as it relates to opposition of this mosque (Muslim Americans have the same rights as do all other Americans, including the right to their worship; they are no more responsible for the acts of foreigners than Christian Americans are for the acts of foreigners, even although most of the criminals and terrorists IN America are neither Muslim nor Jew but in fact Christian).

      Who cares what the ADL thinks — it’s not their freedom (religion) at stake, nor is it for them to decide. I do care about American’s feelings, in this case, the feelings of Muslim Americans who are being asked to give up their fundamental rights and freedoms, which request is appalling. It matters not whether the request is couched in terms of a carrot or a stick: the fact is and remains that it is the Muslim’s right to build this mosque, and no one has a right to ask them to refrain from that which they have a constitutional right to do. That anyone would be motivated to ask another to give up their rights for any reason is just plain wrong, and only serves to victimize Muslims. To even suggest that it’s somehow insensitive or suspicious for these people to want to go ahead with their mosque—in an area legally and properly designated for mosques and which means (and only means) that they are only exercising their fundamental constitutional rights in turn–is an incredulous suggestion, being not only itself insensitive and suspicious, but also inflammatory and just plain wrong. Muslims are human beings, worthy of dignity and respect, including the right to have others respect their religion (which requires a mosque to worship, like Christians need their church). That this is their right as guaranteed them under the Constitution is the answer, the only answer, and nothing but the answer.

      What on earth, I ask, is the US military doing overseas dying for religious freedom, when there are bigots, racists and otherwise insensitive people in America and/or elsewhere who are trying to tear up the Constitutional rights of others at home?

  117. abulafia says:

    In practically any organisation there will be outliers, those who, maybe because of a lack of education or a particular psychological bent, take their dogma just a little too seriously. The moderate muslims allow these outliers by perpetuating their version of fiction, as do catholics, protestants, mormons, in fact, all religious groupings.

    Religions, by their very nature are divisive. And they fracture along lines that are wholly predictable. There are only two reasons that religions still persist, one is power (control), the other is money. That’s pretty much it. Also, most religions are misogynistic in their dogma and their practice. How any woman can tolerate this smorgasbord of bullshit is beyond me.

    For me, the bottom line is usually a case of ‘my bullshit trumps your bullshit, and we are more willing to die for our bullshit than you are’. It’s nasty, it’s medieval, but so are all religions.

    Separate church and state permanently, keep religion out of schools and remove tax-exempt status. See how that works out.

    Religious belief should be treated as a mental illness.


  118. Snig says:


    Specifically failure to remember the repeated Torah refrain of thou shall not oppress or wrong the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

    Also failure to recognize our shared humanity, failure to recognize that Americans have the right to life, liberty and the purfuit of happiness, which includes freedom of peaceable assembly and freedom of religion.

    Reciprocal demonization is never a sensible pathway.

  119. Anonymous says:

    If my point was covered in the previous comments, I apologize – there are so many – I only skimmed them.

    I am a Jew and my sympathies, if not day-to-day practice (not yet) are Orthodox, and I consider myself to be a Zionist (and I’ve had more ‘liberal’ coreligionists wag their accusing fingers at me for this.) The Palestinians are being treated really unfairly, It’s been a vicious cycle. Civil wars are always nasty I know, but with such an educated population in Israel, (both Muslims and Jews) you’d think they’d work something out. (WTF, FTW, TFW..)

    However – first – I understand the arguments against the Carmelite nuns – and academically, I guess they make sense – but I still don’t see the big deal. Their convent was legal – did not interfere with the function of the Memorial – and if the Carmelite wished to look like assho…er…insensitive, so be it. Blocking construction of the convent, IMHO, made the opponents look like silly bullies (they weren’t though)and fed whichever martyr complex that moved the nuns to attempt the build on the site of a nazi death-camp. It is clear they didn’t need to build there.) My opinion concerning the nuns, in internet lingo – ‘Don’t Feed the Troll.’

    The same might kinda/sorta, barely, hold for the Manhattan Muslim community center, if the purpose behind it is to cause bad feelings, assert something or similar motivations.

    If there are not enough Muslims in the area to justify a community center (haven’t researched yet), then perhaps the people proposing this are maybe looking for controversy.

    If there are a lot, or at least enough Muslims in the area who would benefit from such a center – then what’s the problem? Looks like fair and legal use to me. Plus, the Jewish _and_ Muslim community centers I’ve been to tend to benefit the non-Jewish/Muslim residents of the ‘hood, _and_ increase property values, make the area safer and etcetera.

    Finally, just because idiots, albeit organized idiots, claiming to speak for all of Islam were behind 911 – why should we judge all Muslims?

    There are at least 1.2 billion Muslims from over 60 ethic groups. They are very diverse. As an aside, there might only be 15 million Jews right now, but we also have over 60 ethnic groups (some only a handful.)Jews and Muslims are not a monolith.

    Arguments against this community center remind me of arguments proposed by the flaming, rabid, patchouli soaked, U of O liberals of my former town, Eugene Oregon, against building of Jewish community centers, or Synagogues there. The ‘libs’ can be as bigoted and horrible as the so-called religious-right. I sometimes think they are in some sort of cahoots. If they are in cahoots, they should get a room, and let us know which room it is so we can keep them from hurting themselves and others.

    Anyway, this anti-Muslim rhetoric reminds me of the old anti-Roman Catholic and anti-Jewish bullshit.

    Just my two Sheckles.

  120. bkad says:

    So, if building a Catholic church near a place were a child has been molested by a priest causes pain to the victims and their families, then it should be right to not let them build the church…

    It wouldn’t be right to ‘not let them build a church’ but it would be perfectly acceptable to ‘politely ask them not to’, wouldn’t it?

  121. clyde says:

    personally i think what was said was pretty neutral and logical. i hate that a religious organization or people are being protested against building something, but 9/11 is still fresh in peoples minds, so it seems illogical to really build any sort of religious center there, where some sort of connotation can be drawn from it. personally i think it is of ill taste to build the mosque there.

  122. osmo says:

    So incredibly wierd and incredibly counter-productive. But hell, religious freedom is just a word like all other freedoms. It only means as much as people will let it.

  123. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know a way one can contact the mosque to offer support?

  124. technogeek says:

    I gave up on the ADL years ago. They’ve taken too many unreasonable positions, and too often taken reasonable criticism of Israeli policy as attack. They do NOT speak for me and mine.

  125. Anonymous says:

    News flash for the uninformed.

    There ALREADY IS a mosque (masjid) in lower manhattan. It is four blocks from the WTC site. It has been there since 1970.

    Why didn’t the ADL protest the existence of this mosque on 9/12/01?

    Why did they wait until now to pay attention? Oh, right… silly me. It wasn’t convenient to gin up ethnic hatred for political gain then, whereas now it is. That explains it.

  126. Snig says:

    I think I may have posted about this before. Happened pre 9/11. A student in my postgrad program was talking about a comparative religion class he was taking on the side. He said he always made his teacher mad at him. When I asked why, it was because he was mad at religon, and always pointed out it’s failure to make the world a better place. I’m kind of ambivalent on the subject, so asked him what he meant.

    He said that when he was in Pakistan, the Imams in his school told him all Jews were devils. Then he got here, and took the program with me and a few other Jews. We treated him like everyone else, helped him if he was stuck on a problem. Likely most of us assumed he was Muslim, and only mentioned it casually around Ramadan. The cognitive dissonance was enough to make him question everything that the Imams told him.

    This is absolutely the way to deal with extremism. Any prejudice based on religion would have justfied the views of the Imams.

  127. Markle says:

    Who seems to forget that muslims are a diverse group is the writer of this article. Diverse includes those willing to coopt people who are partial to accommodation to get the means to say fuck you to those who remember that the towers were brought down in the name of religious intolerance.

    Irony meters should be ringing off the hooks.

    This is the equivalent to Fundamentalist Christians screaming about persecution because they don’t get to post the 10 commandments in every courthouse and schoolroom in the country.

  128. Felton says:

    These 9/11 family members seem to have no problem with it, just to provide more counterbalance to the “offense to the 9/11 families” argument.

  129. Obviously says:

    I can’t believe this is still being discussed. They have every right to put this mosque or whatever it is on their private property. I don’t care if it’s an Islamic center near Ground Zero or a Nazi rallying camp next door to the White House and I don’t care who it offends or why. If you take away someone’s rights because it offends you then you don’t deserve the right to be offended.

    • Xopher says:

      Obviously, Obviously. That’s why this discussion has been almost entirely about whether they ought to do it, whether it’s the right thing for them to do, and not about whether it should be allowed. It’s going to be allowed. Nearly everyone in this discussion agreed it should be allowed. Even the ADL said so.

  130. Tom Jobim says:

    The ADL reminds me of Uncle Leo (from Seinfeld) on steroids. The group has a dark history, they spied on Cantral American solidarity and anti-Apartheid groups in the 80s, which puts them alongside Dick Cheney in the ideological spectrum.

  131. JD says:

    Wow. This simply baffles me. Oppose the building of a mosque, a major symbol of the Islamic faith (and in many cases historically, a symbol of Islamic dominance), right by the place where three thousand innocent people were murdered in the name of that same faith and that makes you a bigot? Unbelievable.

    And yes, before you start frothing at the mouth, they are planning to build a mosque as part of this Islamic center. And, according to the man behind the project, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the plan is to unveil it on September 11th, 2011. Am I at least allowed to ask, why so close, and why that date? And where is the funding for this thing coming from? Or does that make me a bigot, too?

    Here, I’ve got an exercise for you. Since all of you denouncing the ADL and the rest of us “bigots” no doubt consider yourselves very tolerant and capable of placing yourself in someone else’s shoes, put yourselves in the shoes of a radical Muslim. How do you think that radical Muslim would see the unveiling of a mosque (again, a symbol this radical and others like him would recognize historically as a symbol of Islamic conquering of a nation) near the site where his movement scored a blow against America, on the 10th anniversary of that same event? Don’t you think that to the millions of radical Muslims out there calling for the destruction of America, something like this would look like a victory?

    Let’s put it in a different perspective. All of these comparisons to Carmelite nunneries in Auschwitz and megachurches by LGBT centers are inaccurate. I prefer the analogy made by Paul Sipos, a member of New York Community Board One who compared it to building a Japanese cultural center across from Pearl Harbor. That’s an insensitive idea now, over 60 years after the bombing. Could you imagine if such a thing was done, say, December 7th, 1944, while the war was still going on?

    This is not an issue of religion or race or politics. This is about what is and what isn’t appropriate when it comes to the most devastating attack on American soil. The ADL was right in saying it would cause victims pain; 9/11 families denounce it, as should all Americans:

    • Xopher says:

      Yes, you’re a bigot. If you didn’t read the thread, go back and do it. If you did, or if nothing in it changes your perspective, then you’re just too bigoted to argue with. Therefore it’s a waste of time to bring up all the arguments again.

      • JD says:

        Well I read your contribution up there, and my perspective stays the same. In fact, you lost me when you claimed that what “broke you” was not the murder of 3000 innocent Americans but the backlash from a few angry people that, I can only assume, didn’t include the murder of 3000 innocent people.

        • Xopher says:

          You didn’t understand that, and I’m not surprised. It was a horrible trauma that 3000 of my neighbors, including 300 of my co-workers, were murdered by heartless, monstrous terrorists. People I knew and liked were burned to death in the office (they texted other people I know, saying they couldn’t get out). That was horrible.

          But we have enemies. I know we have enemies, and our enemies do terrible things. That’s horrible, traumatic, infuriating. But right after it happened (as in, for a few days) I felt proud to be an American, and even prouder to be a New Yorker (Metro Area and worker), because everyone pulled together, and did wonderful things for each other, and the stories were coming out of people carrying their handicapped coworkers down the stairs.

          Then people started talking like you, and acting like stupid swine. Beating up SIKHS, for fuck’s sake!

          It was much more depressing to me to lose my pride in being an American and in America than it was to have my country attacked by enemies. My patriotism was damaged (it’s back now, in somewhat different form), and that hurt.

          But I don’t expect you to understand that. You probably think you’re a patriot because you know just how Americans should act and that those damn towel-heads don’t fit the bill. I think you’re unAmerican.

    • Xopher says:

      And I didn’t notice you linked to Faux News in your post until I’d hit Submit on my previous.

      If you’re getting your information from them, no wonder you’re a bigot. Or maybe that should be “since you’re a bigot, it’s no wonder you get your information from Faux News,” since they’re really the primary promulgators of narrowminded, stupid, bigoted wingnuttery on the planet right now.

  132. endstar says:

    So, the ADL think it’s wrong to build an Islamic center near to the former site of the World Trade Center because it will “desecrate” a potential shrine the hatred of Muslims? I couldn’t disagree more.

    The mixing of Islamic, Jewish, and Christian traditions that happened southern Spain was crucial to sparking the Renaissance in Europe. I think that calling this building the Cordova center is an appropriate acknowledgment of the shared history of people of different faiths. Looking forward, the future will be brighter if people of all faiths (and lack thereof) learn to understand each other and work together.

    It should be easy for New York City to ignore the crazies that want to use the World Trade Center site to stoke their hatred. However, I hope they also are able to stand against groups, like the ADL, that ignorantly take up the haters’ cause in the name of “sensitivity”.

  133. Art says:

    Does anyone know how New Yorkers feel about this subject?

    Out of curiousity, do the staff @ BB and the commentors live and work in NYC?

    Just askin’

    • Avram / Moderator says:

      Art, I’m a New Yorker. My girlfriend used to work in the WTC (though she wasn’t in the building when the planes hit). We both think the jerks complaining about Cordoba House are bigots.

    • futbol789 says:

      With respect, who cares what New Yorkers think? The fact that this question is even asked presupposes that someone has a right to tell another citizen where they can set up shop.

      If the conversation is about what people think in order to crowd source whether or not we shall bestow the American rights of freedom of religion and enterprise, the point is kind of lost, isn’t it?

      But hey, Sarah Palin and the bigots she’s calling out to have the right to peaceably assembly in protest. Act like assholes all they want. No clue why the ADL is even touching this concocted right wing outrage with a ten foot pole.

      You know, that said. I really liked what Xopher had to say. And you said it well brother.

    • mccrum says:

      Sure. Most of us just don’t care. I was a mile away on a rooftop that morning and I’d fricking build this thing myself if it would bring back how everyone felt for the weeks afterward.

      You know, everyone helping each other out a little more, carrying strollers upstairs from the subways, being polite, crime rates dropped. The rest of September that year really showed me a very kind group of Americans that I think would be great to get to know again. Yeah, there was a lot of rage, but a lot of kindness towards each other as well.

  134. Xopher says:

    …and JD gets the badge of honor. And there was much rejoicing.

  135. postjosh says:

    this issue really upsets me. i am a jew who has lived in tribeca for over 25 years. i was here on sept. 11th and was forcefully evacuated from my apartment building for a week after that terrible day. i still remember passing the pakistani tea house on church st. a few blocks uptown from ground zero on sept. 12th and being impressed that they were open with an american flag in their window. the islamic organization that wants to build the center has a history downtown that predates the tragedy. they are exactly the kind of islamic organization that all american’s should support. the location they want is one block further away from ground zero than st. paul’s catholic church which is allowed to prominently display the crucifix steel cross beam from the wtc site. it is on a side street and the center won’t even be visible from ground zero. i know one that i know objects to the center. one downtown rabbi has publicly supported the center. the adl are a bunch of hypocrites.

  136. Antinous / Moderator says:


    There’s plenty of room for opposing opinions here without getting into a pissing contest.

  137. cstatman says:

    fight intolerance and ignorance with your pocketbook and your feet.

    As an American jew, a Texan, a motorcyclist, a world traveller, and about a million other labels, this really chaps my ass.

    this year’s $$ to ADL just went elsewhere…

    if you are really bored tonight, and need a good perspective, I cannot recommend the movie “My Name is Khan” enough.

    America is the land of opportunity, the land of open arms. If Americans do not start working together, to keep it this way, then it’s no better than any other craphole with no more industry, production, or creativity.

    i am so mad I have no more words.

  138. bklynchris says:

    Today, I heard Bloomberg’s nasally whiny voice on WNYC snarl something to the effect that he is outraged that his proposed federal hybrid taxi law as it continues our dependency of foreign oil which in turn funds terrorism.

    So, here you have our mayor making equally wackadoo comments along the lines presented here. Kind of gives free reign for the ADL to make these comments and expect them to sound rational.

    Really bullyberg? Than why the farck don’t you get a black smoked window Chevy Suburban that runs on french fry oil to cart your bony little ass around town? Oh, I know why, then you would in turn be supporting junk food consumption, and who would dare tax you? Whatever Napolean. And whatever ADL.

  139. MrJM says:

    “a _touch_ of research on this supposedly friendly, peace-loving ‘muslim’ organisation would show little of anything to that effect.”

    I’m sure we would all love to examine your evidence to support this assertion.

    Oh, never mind — I see you’re already “done with all of BoingBoing.”

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