Monday, September 20, 2010

Different Perspectives on the Mosque

This map helps you see just how close the proposed mosque site is to Ground Zero.

Here is a photo of the building that will be renovated and turned into a mosque, according to the current plans.

This protestor believes that the mosque is being built near Ground Zero to show that Muslims won a victory over the United States on 9/11. It's true that Muslims have built mosques near the sites of their military victories. The leaders of the NYC mosque have never suggested that they want to build the mosque there for that reason.

Tomorrow we discuss our viewpoints on the mosque. It's going to be great. To help you decide what you believe, here are some opinions from other writers. Read what I've written first. Then you can try to read the indented paragraph, which is a quote from the writer's article about the mosque. If you want even more information, click on the writer's name, and that will take you to the full article. Okay, here goes!

In an excellent magazine called the New Republic, Barry Gewen says we should be very concerned about hatred against Muslims, and we should recognize that NYC's Muslim community is free to build a mosque near Ground Zero. But he thinks that it would be best for the mosque to be moved. If the mosque leaders agree to move, Gewen thinks that most Americans will be very happy and will view Muslims more positively:

The question at this point is whether the center has to be built at the proposed site. It’s understandable that the supporters would want to resist yielding to bigotry, irrationality, and intimidation, but on a simply pragmatic basis, everyone should hope that some solution can be reached so that the feelings of millions of Americans are respected. After all, the sponsors of the center say they are interested in building bridges among peoples. This aim would be better served by moving the mosque a few blocks away, even if that means bending a cherished principle. And just think of the good will that would be generated across the country. Nonetheless, if compromise proves to be impossible, then [tolerance] must have the final word.

In the newspaper The Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer argues that Ground Zero is a sacred site, so a mosque should not be placed there. He also suggests that the mosque could one day hire an Islamic extremist--and that would be a major national security problem:

Bloomberg's implication is clear: If the proposed mosque were controlled by "insensitive" Islamist radicals either excusing or celebrating 9/11, he would not support its construction.

But then, why not? By the mayor's own expansive view of religious freedom, by what right do we dictate the message of any mosque? Moreover, as a practical matter, there's no guarantee that this couldn't happen in the future. Religious institutions in this country are autonomous. Who is to say that the mosque won't one day hire an [Islamic extremist]?

An [Islamic extremist] preaching in Virginia is a security problem. An [Islamic extremist] preaching at Ground Zero is a sacrilege. Or would the mayor then step in -- violating the same First Amendment he grandiosely pretends to protect from mosque opponents -- and exercise a veto over the mosque's clergy?

Elsewhere in the Post, a former adviser to President Bush, Karen Hughes, also thinks the mosque should be moved.
Bulleted List
This last columnist does not take a position on the mosque. However, he argues for tolerance of Muslims. In the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof apologizes to Muslims for Americans' insensitivity toward the religion:

I hereby apologize to Muslims for the wave of bigotry and simple nuttiness that has lately been directed at you. The venom on the airwaves, equating Muslims with terrorists, should embarrass us more than you. Muslims are one of the last minorities in the United States that it is still possible to demean openly, and I apologize for the slurs.

Finally, here are video and text of Mayor Bloomberg's speech, and here is text of President Obama's comments on the mosque. Obama supports the right of NYC's Muslims to build near Ground Zero. Please e-mail me if you have any questions, or post a comment on the blog if there's something you want to share!


  1. im gonna write aboout the place were they are going to put the mosque. why did they decide to put it were they are going to put it? why are they going to put it close to the world trade center? i wonder how long it will take them to build the mosque. also i wonder how many people are gonna go into the mosque and when they are going to tell people when its open. my last thing is that if they are only going to allow muslims into the mosque because, mosque's is for muslims.

  2. Mr.Toomajian i think that for the time being Americans should think on the reasons why the Muslims should be allowed to build the mosque near ground zero. I also understand the family members of thoose who passed away on 9/11; but they should reason and think that in memory of there lost ones they should not give the terrorists the satisfaction of being inhuman to the Muslims. I should explain a little further what i mean by inhumam: i try to say that a human being has rights here in America. Treating them different because of their religious beliefs is not right. They have the same rights as we do and they are not all terrorists and they have the rights to the same laws as any other resident in New York, let alone the entire United States. In conclusion, the New Yorkers should be sensible to the ocasion and rise to the American promise. - Helmsley H.

  3. Okay, So the pictre that is there is showing were the Mosque was going to be at right. I think that us Americans that live here should at least consider that the mosque can bulid near the ground zero. I think this because buliding next to it will be good. Also I understand stand that many people are gone because of the 9.11.01 is kind of harsh. But really what if it was one of us how would evrything be. Acting like Muslims not exist is not kind is not how we are. So, In conclusion to everything I think that we shold at least allow that the Mosque can be build by the Ground Zero.- Jaileen D.

  4. Helmsley and Jaileen, your opinions are so thoughtful. Please share them in class Tuesday!

    Taylor, you've got great questions. Thank you! Why did they choose to build in that location? It's hard to find property to buy anywhere in Downtown Manhattan, so I think that when they found this property for the right price, they bought it. The leaders of the mosque say that their goal is to promote understanding of Islam and other religions in New York City. They will invite people of all faiths to visit their community center, which will be in the same building as the mosque. As for the numbers, about 450 people have used that space for worship already. The mosque would have space for between 1,000 and 2,000 people. For now, construction of the mosque is on hold. They don't want to continue with building while there is so much disagreement over their presence there.

  5. Thats just really racist how someone will write that the muslims that are trying to create a mosque, are the people that did the 9/11 attack. The people that did the attack werent muslim they just thought they did.This mosque they are trying to create, people are just so upset for no reason.They did nothing wrong and they shoulds have a piece of freedom.Thats what this country is all about.

  6. I'm not saying that the mosque shouldn't be built I'm just saying that maybe they can consider the ones hurt from 9/11 and build the mosque a little farther. Also ITS NOT THE ONLY PLACE TO BUILD A MOSQUE!

  7. um i know this is off topic but isnt their a 9/21/10 blog because everyone shared about this today

  8. Thanks for the thoughts, Jason! Tokyomewmew1, I'm going to guess that that's Alannah. Or...maybe Stephany? Am I right? Please sign your blog posts, everybody. We've got to make sure we're taking ownership of our opinions on the blog.

    Today's blog post is coming, Alejandro! I just got home from a meeting. I'll do it soon, seriously!

  9. Here is a comment e-mailed by Will of 803:

    I think what others think of the mosque is kind of mean. Some I agree with, people have the right to freedom of religeon. Others think it's a territorial terrorist action. I see how that can be a possibility, but still. You shouldn't be against muslims because of people who "claim" to be muslim do. The families who are a little shaky because of the 9/11 attack have a decent argument. They don't wan't to lose more family members, or their just scare. Heck, the other protesters could be scared. Because when we are scared, and are confused, we don't like it.

  10. I think that these people are confused because of what others think. They are compelled to believe that this is wrong because they are also afraid of the people who strongly feel that this is wrong. Those who think that this is wrong don't know that this may be one step to getting the Islamic extremist to cave in. This may bring all of our religions together considering that it will also be a community center. If this is prohibited from being built, then the Islams may become angered and who know what will happen to our soldiers out there. Not only that, but what about us here in the United States! That isn't good right? So, in conclusion, I still think that this mosque should be built for the better of the community. Those who think that this is a bad idea may see that they were wrong once they get over the fact that it wasn't a bad idea.

  11. Well my post is concerning the controversy on the proposed mosque. My opinion is that Iman Feisal Abdel Rauf and others part of the ownership of the mosque should be a able to build their mosque. The Reason why I think this is because as United State citizens Muslims have the right and have their freedom to do so. I understand that other citizens are concerned for there well being and the well being for others but just because 1 GROUP Al-Queda destroyed the World Trade Center and killed thousands we cant blame others of the same religion for Al-Queda's wrong. They were blaming what they did on there religion and said they did it because the Koran said to kill all who are not Muslim. But that is wrong; Other Muslims don't even consider Al-Queda to be Muslim. Well like I said this is my opinion and others have the right to theirs, so I am not going to tell anyone what to say but when you say something be more sensitive and think how would other Muslims familys and children that had nothing to do with the attack feel...
    -George 802

  12. Assuming that tokyomewmew is Alannah, she's made an important point. The mosque could be moved. If you believe the mosque should stay where it is and be opened, why are you sure that it should stay there? Wouldn't it be all right if the mosque were moved a few more blocks away--especially if it made 9/11 victims' families more comfortable?

    Remember, these are just questions for you; they don't reflect my personal opinion, which I won't reveal. But we've got lots of eloquent arguments for keeping the mosque where it is. Anyone want to argue for the mosque to be moved or to not be built at all? I know many of you believe it should be moved or that we should be more cautious--it'd be great to hear from you!

  13. Iman Feisal Abdel Rauf may not have an intentional feeling of victory but we should not take the risk. Even though I believe everyone should have rights because I wouldn't like a person telling me I cannot read a bible, practice my Catholic religion, or go to Church. Everyone should also understand that America was built by immigrants and progressed to give people rights. For example the 1st Amendment I believe it states you can practice any religion in America. Money will not be will spent because I believe it will not stand for a month because the raged Americans.
    -Danny G