Archive for Thursday, August 5, 2010

Group sues to stop ground zero mosque

August 5, 2010


— The debate over a planned Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero became a court fight Wednesday, as a conservative advocacy group sued to try to stop a project that has become a fulcrum for balancing religious freedom and the legacy of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The American Center for Law and Justice, founded by the Rev. Pat Robertson, filed suit Wednesday to challenge a city panel’s decision to let developers tear down a building to make way for the mosque two blocks from ground zero.

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission moved too fast in making a decision, underappreciated the building’s historic value and “allowed the intended use of the building and political considerations to taint the deliberative process,” lawyer Brett Joshpe wrote in papers filed in a Manhattan state court. The Washington, D.C.-based group represents a firefighter who responded to and survived the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center.

City attorneys are confident the landmarks group adhered to legal standards and procedures, Law Department spokeswoman Kate O’Brien Ahlers said. A spokesman for the planned Islamic center, Oz Sultan, declined to comment on the lawsuit but said organizers were continuing to work toward choosing an architect.

The mosque has become a national political flashpoint, pitting several influential Republicans and the nation’s most prominent Jewish civil rights group against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others. In one of the latest signs of the issue’s political reach beyond Manhattan, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick expressed support Wednesday for the proposed mosque.

The group behind the

$100 million project, the Cordoba Initiative, describes it as a Muslim-themed community center. Early plans call not only for prayer space but for a swimming pool, culinary school, art studios and other features. Developers envision it as a hub for interfaith interaction, as well as a place for Muslims to bridge some of their faith’s own schisms.

“We want to create a model that shows the world that you can develop moderate Muslim communities,” Sultan said Wednesday. “We would admonish people to, at least, give us a fair shake.”

Opponents see the prospect of a mosque so near the destroyed trade center as an insult to the memory of the nearly 3,000 people killed by Islamic terrorists in the 2001 attacks.


Liberty_One 7 years, 4 months ago

The lawyer who filed this suit should be disbarred.

SLOPOKE 7 years, 4 months ago

And you should be given a paid vaction to one of Saddam's Gold plaited safe house's, to face the ..Gallo's.........

Jimo 7 years, 4 months ago

Or fined for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

Jimo 7 years, 4 months ago

About ACLJ: "The ACLJ is specifically dedicated to the ideal that religious freedom and freedom of speech are inalienable, God-given rights."

Unless you're Muslim.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 4 months ago

Cordoba Initiative is the same group that sent out copies of the Quran after 9/11.They were trying to educate people about Islam. I got a copy and it was a big beautiful leather-bound book.I gave it to my son for Christmas since he's always been interested in various religions. I can't believe they were giving those away like that. I buy a lot of books, but I've never seen one that expensive looking. Couldn't believe they were giving them away for free like that. Let them build the mosque. It's actually a couple blocks away from Ground Zero. We enjoy religious freedom in this country. All of us.

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

Just to repeat Grammaddy's, from all sources the proposed site is several blocks from Ground Zero, and from others I've gathered there's already such sanctified establishments as a strip club between it and the Trade Center area.

So, other than the Fear of Muslims, can Anyone give a rational reason that government intrusion here is justified? No spin, no diversion. Just one rational reason.

Paul R Getto 7 years, 4 months ago

Give it up; this is a nonissue unless the demagogues grab on to it and the concept may begin some of the necessary healing. Islam is not evil; some who distort the teachings are; all religions have their nuts and we need to work on understanding and an end to the 1,000+ year 'war' between folks who worship the same god of Abraham.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 4 months ago

"The American Center for Law and Justice, founded by the Rev. Pat Robertson, filed suit Wednesday to challenge a city panel’s decision to let developers tear down a building to make way for the mosque two blocks from ground zero."

So it really isn't at ground zero. It's two blocks from ground zero.

yankeevet 7 years, 4 months ago

Build it and they will come............................hummmmmmmmm////

jimmyjms 7 years, 4 months ago

Yes, quoting a Kevin Costner movie about dead baseball players and cornfields most definitely lends you credibility on this topic.

yankeevet 7 years, 4 months ago

I did not ask for credibility; smart a........

jaywalker 7 years, 4 months ago

I can understand the paranoia to an extent, but this is all extremely disappointing. I can't think of a better example to the argument that if we change our way of life due to the atrocious acts of that fateful day, then THEY (the extremists) have indeed won.

FIRST Amendment: 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances'

It's the first issue addressed in the Bill of Rights! It's why Puritans came to this land, to worship freely, to express themselves without oppression. More than a billion muslims in this world, represented in dozens of nations, by Danes, by Swiss, by Japanese, by our own countrymen........but people want to grant a handful of murderers exactly the type of victory they hoped for all along?! As if the KKK was representative of Christianity?!

I can only hope that this is just part of our process, where we're able to voice our opposition and have those opinions heard, but in the end the just and right decision will be handed down.
Allow the mosque to be built. Could there be anything more truly representative toward what the idea of 'America' is supposed to stand for?

verity 7 years, 4 months ago

I often don't agree with you, but you hit the ball out of the park this time, jaywalker.

If one studies history, you will see that Muslims and Christians have lived in community and shared a place of worship in the past. Works quite well as they don't need it the same day.

Besides, the building on the site is already being used for Muslim worship. The sky hasn't fallen.

Graczyk 7 years, 4 months ago

Muslims and Christians live well together in Palestine.

kimmydarling 7 years, 4 months ago

Sadly, there are many many people who believe the idea of religious freedom simply means "freedom to be Christian and anyone else can suck it up"

Truthspeaker 7 years, 4 months ago

My initial gut reaction to hearing a Mosque going to be built anywhere near "Ground Zero" in New York was "Oh, that shouldn't be allowed."

However, when I started to think through it, I can't think of a valid reason why it shouldn't be allowed. I admit, it still doesn't feel completely right to me, but that's not enough.

SWJayhawk13 7 years, 4 months ago

Agreed! I can't think of any legal reason why it shouldn't/can't be built, but at the same time, it doesn't really feel right. I can't pinpoint what specifically, but to me it just seems like it's a little too much to have it two blocks from ground zero.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 4 months ago

Can you post any evidence that this Mosque supports Burkas or beating women, or are you making up a lie and presenting it as a truth?

What else do you lie about to make points, and are you incapable of making a point without telling a lie?

ivalueamerica 7 years, 4 months ago

Do you have any evidence suggesting that this Mosque supports beheadings?

Or are you just a liar.

Richard Payton 7 years, 4 months ago

Surah 9:73 Mohammed is commanded to press hard war agaisn't non-believers. Surah 9:29 "fight Jews and Chrsitians because....." Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf teaches out of the Quran which encourage the faithful to press violent jihad against non-muslims. This Mosque hasn't been built but looking at patterns from other countries beheadings happen. Sometimes Michael Savage will post them on his web site but usually with a warning of very violent graphic content message.

Graczyk 7 years, 4 months ago

Michael Savage? I think we know all that we need to know about you now.

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

Why would gays show up to a Muslim YMCA style community center to get married?

gatekeeper 7 years, 4 months ago

Wouldn't have expected anything but a stupid comment from you, Tom.

Matt Torres 7 years, 4 months ago

That is such a slippery slope straw man--oh, it's you Tom. Carry on.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 4 months ago

Gee Nancy-Tom could you be any more ridiculous?Like that would ever happen.

mom_of_three 7 years, 4 months ago

Was it jimmy Kimmel who made the comment that they should put mosques on all buildings who receive threats to keep them from being targets? Yes, it was a joke.

Good post, jaywalker. You can't judge a group by a few extremists. That would be like thinking all Christians would be like WBC or all Christians were judgemental like this group who is protesting.

Amy Heeter 7 years, 4 months ago

It is going to be two blocks away not on ground zero.

voevoda 7 years, 4 months ago

Should we deny religious freedom and property rights guaranteed by US law in order to cater to the misplaced emotions of a few vocal 9/11 survivors? I don't think so. The Muslim group is promoting peace and reconciliation--and it is challenging the Islamist extremism that led to the 9/11 tragedy. How better to honor the dead--who included, by the way, numerous Muslims!

anonyname 7 years, 4 months ago

I can honestly say that if I lost a loved one in 9/11 I would wholeheartedly support this. Our country is built on religious freedom, be it the freedom to express your own religion, or the freedom to not participate in one. If Ted Kaczynski or Tim McVeigh attended a Christian church, should we then by extension ban all Christian churches? Throughout history, there have been people killing in the name of countless religions. This doesn't mean the vast majority of believers are not peaceful people.

If we turn into an intolerant society that is centered around the one 'approved' religion that everyone must adhere to, then we're no better than the extremists that attacked us, as that's how they'd like their countries to be. It would speak volumes about us if we allow the actions of 19 men to guide our views of the hundreds of millions of Muslims throughout the world. The strongest possible repudiation of their actions would be to allow the many thousands of Muslims in NYC to peacefully express their religious beliefs.

Kirk Larson 7 years, 4 months ago

Actually, there are family members of 9/11 victims who support the mosque. Why don't you put yourself in their shoes?

uncleandyt 7 years, 4 months ago

Is it possible that religion had nothing to do with the 9$11 attacks?? ...and yes, I feel ok about the center being built.

Matt Torres 7 years, 4 months ago

I don't think one could argue that it had NOTHING to do with it. I do think it's just as hard to argue that it had EVERYTHING to do with it, though. It certainly helped the plotters/attackers to JUSTIFY the attack and probably contributed to some of the ideology behind it, but it's never that simple.

Graczyk 7 years, 4 months ago

Religion is just the agent. The real problem is culture. Christians and Muslims live peacefully together in Palestine because they basically share the same culture.

Matt Torres 7 years, 4 months ago

First of all, your analogy of Japanese flags on WWII soliders' graves is a horrible one. Defiling someone's grave in a cemetery is not equivalent (at all) to wanting to put a building up in a place you have every legal right to do so.

As for the victims' relatives, they have my condolences and I'm sure a lot of them will be upset/offended by this. one has the "right" not to be offended or upset. It would be unconstitutional to legally deny this organization's right to do something any other group would have a right to do...because of their religious affiliation.

kimmydarling 7 years, 4 months ago

How lucky, then, that these developers are looking to put X two blocks away from.

Frankly, most public land in the US is a grave to someone. Be it indigenous tribes or those who simply lost their life as the nation expanded. By your logic, it's disrespectful to build anywhere.

The ground the WTC stood on is not sacred. It is not hallowed ground. It is a place where thousands of people tragically lost their lives because of people with extreme, crazy views.

Jimo 7 years, 4 months ago

"It is out of respect of the families that this should not be built."

I think many of the dead would be quite disturbed that their tragedy would be used by bigots to further some sort of religious war. That is the painful thing you fail to grasp. Does it even occur to you that the families of some of the dead are repulsed by this bigotry? Did it dawn on you that Muslims were killed by these fanatics that day? That Muslims are the overwhelming victims of these terrorists daily?

"What if someone stuck mini Japanese flags in the gravesites of dead WWII soldiers?"

Have you been to the Shinto shrine "at" Pear Harbor?

"Ground Zero is a sacred place now."

Well, since it isn't at Ground Zero I guess there's no problem then, is there?

"just trying to be PC all the time."

Okay here's the nub - no one is being "PC". We're honoring our own values, values so inseparable from what it means to be an American that these values lie at the core of our nation's constitutional framework. Religious freedom isn't just a vague policy position or a feel good theme. If you aren't interested in those values you're free to leave, seeing that you've already repudiated your citizenship. I'll even buy you the plane ticket!

feeble 7 years, 4 months ago

Bloomberg said it best on Tuesday:

"The simple fact is, this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship, and the government has no right whatsoever to deny that right. And if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

"Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question: Should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here.

"This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions or favor one over another. The World Trade Center site will forever hold a special place in our city, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans if we said no to a mosque in lower Manhattan."

full text here:

Jimo 7 years, 4 months ago

Religious practices not beliefs. Religion isn't an exemption from following the various laws of the U.S. (although I seem to remember Heritage Baptist a few years back who seemed to think they weren't covered by zoning laws).

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

It's not on Ground Zero. If you believe it is, then you have been manipulated for political gain. It's not on Ground Zero. If you believe it is, then you have been manipulated for political gain. It's not on Ground Zero. If you believe it is, then you have been manipulated for political gain. It's not on Ground Zero. If you believe it is, then you have been manipulated for political gain. It's not on Ground Zero. If you believe it is, then you have been manipulated for political gain. It's not on Ground Zero. If you believe it is, then you have been manipulated for political gain. It's not on Ground Zero. If you believe it is, then you have been manipulated for political gain. It's not on Ground Zero. If you believe it is, then you have been manipulated for political gain. It's not on Ground Zero. If you believe it is, then you have been manipulated for political gain.

Maybe with enough repetitions it will sink in.

Kirk Larson 7 years, 4 months ago

There's not enough bandwidth in the whole internet to repeat it enough for some people.

jimmyjms 7 years, 4 months ago

If you don't currently reside in Lower Manhattan, I can't see how it's any of your business.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

Wow - that's pretty narrow minded of you.

So if injustices are happening, but they're not in our own back yard, we should have no concern about them?

jimmyjms 7 years, 4 months ago

Um, no it's not. If there were some project happening in Kansas and the NY media/punditry sect got involved, the same people making the specious arguments against the mosque here would be asking why the "liberal east coast elite" are getting involved in "our" local politics.

How is this an "injustice?"

Moderateguy 7 years, 4 months ago

In the spirit of tolerance, we need to all get together and open up a BBQ joint / Victoria's Secret right next door. Perhaps an art gallery with depictions of the prophet Mohamed on the other corner.

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

It's also funny how often this argument is used as if it is in any way relevant.

As long as conservative people of faith (any faith) are content to worry about their own spiritual welfare without forcing it on others who do not wish to subscribe to it, there's no issue.

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

It's almost like there's a strong and vast contigent of Christians in this country, some large number of whom are far more invasive in an organized fashion than the relatively small Muslim community.

Anyway, your generalizations of libs and the left are just that. The extremes always speak with the loudest voices, and garner the most attention. That doesn't make them representative of the whole, no matter how much you want them to be.

Matt Torres 7 years, 4 months ago

Wow! Did you miss the whole "everyone draw mohammad day" thing? It was massively participated in and I'm guessing a lot of the people who did it were what you would call "libs".

This is NOT a PC issue. This group wants to put a church in a building they own and have every right to put a church in. If evidence surfaces that this group is extremist or something to the effect, then there are laws that apply and they should be investigated. Otherwise, they've got every right to do this.

Believe me as a fairly staunch atheist I am the last person who will stick up for any religion to keep from having its feelings hurt, but this IS a first amendment issue.

anonyname 7 years, 4 months ago

Actually, it's funny (or sad?) how you mock people who are trying to uphold the Constitution - that's usually a claim that conservatives swath themselves in. The owners of private property are looking to use it in the way they choose.

nbnative 7 years, 4 months ago

They own the property. The hysterical site commission did not find violation of a bogus environs. While they are changing the name from Cordoba to Park 51 because the former is provocative, it will probably be referred to as Cordoba. If the ACLJ wants to use their money they could raise the funds for quiet and restful sculpture garden across the street. It would house sculptures to honoring non-Muslim religions, e.g. replicas of the statues destroyed by the Taliban, Egyptian deities, figures from classical mythology, figures from Norse mythology and earth religions, Christian figures to include Santiago de Campostela, Geoffrey of Jerusalem, Charlemagne etc.

voevoda 7 years, 4 months ago

No, but there's a convent nearby Auschwitz. Some Jewish groups objected--same argument (the feelings of survivors)--missing the point: the nuns were praying for an end to hatred.

voevoda 7 years, 4 months ago

Actually, seriouscat, the convent was just moved from the camp itself into the town of Oswiecim (Auschwitz) itself. Visitors to the camp still see the nuns. See the article by Katie Long, "Auschwitz-Birkenau: The Challenges of Heritage Management Following the Cold War. " She writes: "A key means to facilitating learning and empathy between parites was the establishment in Oswiecim of several Jewish and Catholic community centres, whose educational and cross-cultural dialogue now figure prominently." This is exactly what the Muslims in NY are planning!

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

So why can't the Cordoba institute move to another location that is less sensitive?

I would not go so far as to advocate making them stop but people have a right to be offended by the name and location, and if there are enough people like me who need to have our hands held by the Muslim community somewhere else a little longer after 911, which evidently there are, and they really cared about that very valid sentiment (remember the people dancing in the streets???) then the right thing to do is to honor that, even if legally and constitutionally they don't have to.

voevoda 7 years, 4 months ago

American Muslims were not dancing in the streets on 9/11; they were appalled. And afraid that their fellow Americans would not understand the difference between terrorists and peace-loving Muslims and would treat them (American Muslims) with suspicion and prejudice. And nearly 9 years later, it's still happening.
The people who harbor ignorant prejudice are the ones who need to adjust.

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

Funny how you have to qualify your Muslims with 'American Muslims'. We all saw the 1000's of people dancing in the streets and celebrating Islam's great victory on the day the towers fell. The fact that America Muslims weren't dancing is because America is already the most open and tolerant country in the world.

You are right that the people who harbor ignorance and prejudice are the one who need to adjust though. Which countries would you put at the top of the list as far as fostering ignorance and prejudice?

voevoda 7 years, 4 months ago

Very true, seriouscat. The United States for the most part is open and tolerant--and I want to keep it that way! It starts by not allowing ignorance and prejudice (even if honestly felt) trump openness and tolerance. So the Muslim community deserves to win on this one, because they are the ones being open and tolerant.

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

I'm sorry, but actions speak louder than words. When the Muslim community's actions actually match the words they speak of openness and tolerance, I will believe in your idealized POV.

The fact that you can't even bring yourself to acknowledge that perhaps it's not exactly open and tolerant to put up a huge thirteen story mosque right next to the site of a mass murder committed by Islamic jihadists, and that perhaps it's the mosque builders who should adjust, instead of the thousands of people who lost family and loved ones, tells me that for you it's about everyone adjusting except the Muslim community.

Congratulations on your virtuous open mindedness.

voevoda 7 years, 4 months ago

Thank you, seriouscat, for your congratulations. I mean that sincerely (as I hope you intended the congratulations). Maybe someday you will become more open minded, too. Maybe one day you will come to understand that the Muslim community in the US is not responsible for the terrorist acts of 9/11, any more than the Christian community was, or the Jewish community, or the social groups that Pat Robertson so crudely blamed right after the tragedy. The NY Muslim community chose to build the Cordoba Center precisely for the purpose you demand: "actions [that] actually match the words they speak of openness and tolerance." And you reject their act of reconciliation. At least you haven't adopted the vituperative tone of too many of the postings on this forum. At least you haven't hijacked genuine (if misplaced) emotions and inserted blatant falsehoods in order to boost political careers, the way Pat Robertson and Newt Gingrich are doing. So there is hope that you will grow more understanding and accepting--becoming more like the Muslims who are building the center.

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

Haha! You knew my congratulations was sarcastic, and you know that your post is patronizing and dripping with condescension.

However in spite of all that, you are correct that there is always hope that the people who are building the mosque might make me more open minded about their intentions.

If they build it... which they surely will, and truly accept people of any and all race, color, gender, creed, and sexual orientations within their walls, I will accept their reconciliation.

We shall see.

kimmydarling 7 years, 4 months ago

Why should the name be offensive? While the Cordoban era was noted by conquest of Spain, those 800 years were seen as some of the most enlightened in Islam's history. The Caliphs were noted to work to spread the positive insights of Islam and there was very little civil unrest at that time.

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

I think the faith you're looking for is Shinto, not Buddhism. You know, the one that was the official State Religion of Meiji and later Imperialist Japan.

And I gather there are 7 Shinto shrines in Hawaii.

Jimo 7 years, 4 months ago

One on the highway right outside of Pearl Harbor.

Danimal 7 years, 4 months ago

The Japanese aren't Buddhists, they're largely Shintoists.

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

You still missed the part where after the Meiji restoration in the 1860-70s, there was a defined effort to separate the "purely" Japanese Shinto (which, like most Japanese culture, had roots in Chinese culture, but since China didn't found Buddhism either doesn't really mean much here), from the foreign import of Buddhism and other foreign influences. Nothing in your post changes the fact that Shinto was the faith pushed by the State during its imperialist expansion, with Buddhism coming into some degree of state disfavor. This situation only changed after the defeat of Japan in WWII, and the two faiths have continued to coexist since then.

When you're just reading sources on the internet, you should try to read farther than just the point that you believe you have superficially supported your original claim.

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

There's nothing inherent in Buddhism about worshiping ancestors, that's just an adaptation in both China and Japan of their cultural practices (predating Buddhism) that was adapted into the Buddhist faith on its assimilation into their cultures.

Buddhism itself in its basic form is built upon a removal of attachments. Hell, one of the first and main problems with the incorporation of Buddhism into China, from the Indian region, was that the Buddhist tenets, including the lessening of familial ties and the general idea of not having children at all (sex and family being another attachments) was precisely that it was a danger towards the existing ancestor worship in the country.

The problem was not Shinto, nor is religion generally the exact problem, just the outward expression. The problem was Nationalism. So very easy to confuse with Patriotism. And Japan does not have a lock on Nationalism, neither during the present day nor during the War.

drake 7 years, 4 months ago

This is two blocks away from Ground Zero. If it can't be built here how far away would be acceptable? 1 mile? 10?

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

This has been an interesting debate to me and I have been enjoying watching the rhetoric on both sides diverge. When I first heard the story on NPR the place was referred to as a Muslim/Islamic multicultutal community center 27 blocks from Ground Zero and I laughed at the people who were making a big deal out of it.

Then I read some the opposing sides POV and it is referred to as a mosque named the Cordoba House and that it is 2 blocks away from GZ. Turns out that the latter is a lot more close to the truth.

I think the people who want to build this thing, if they really wanted to foster peace and understanding would withdraw their plans and/or do something less 'in your face'.

For one thing it's bit insulting to intend to build this particular structure when to all intents and purposes, the whole point appears to be the traditional building of a mosque upon the site of a victorious battle. Remember the people dancing in the strrets on 911? To Islam 911 was a great victory. Doesn't it say a lot that the intended name is the very same name of the site in Spain where Muslims celebrated one of their greatest victories and established one of the most powerful caliphates in history? There is the question of the financing. The conservatives say that it's suspicious and want assurance that it's not being funded by terrorist sympathizers. Is that too much to ask?

We hold ourselves to be an open a tolerant society, and I am proud as an American of that tradition, but I don't think that it's fair to say people who oppose this are intolerant bigots without really answering the above questions. There are mosques all over the USA. This is about more than tolerance, it's also about respect for the dead, respect for the real danger that terrorism pressents to to this toleant way of life that we enjoy, and well, lots of other cultural stuff that makes this an intersting and complex debate.

I don't live in New York and didn't have any loved ones killed on 911, but I think the people who have a problem with this have some valid points.

I mean, it's a total Muslim warlord tradition to erect mosques upon the sites of victorious battles

drake 7 years, 4 months ago

This is two blocks away from Ground Zero. If it can't be built here how far away would be acceptable? 1 mile? 10?

gatekeeper 7 years, 4 months ago

Would the muslim world like it if a Christian organization wanted to build a multi-story church/center called the Crusader House and their organization called the Crusader Institute?

How stupid. If they want to build it in America - who cares what the name is. Your reference would be Christians building the Crusader House in a Muslim country. KEY difference is that we have our constitution that guarantees freedom of religion, whether you like it or not. Don't like it, get out of this country.

uncleandyt 7 years, 4 months ago

US good Americans have a tradition of building military bases all over the world. We are usually not invited to build them. We put them near sites of our victorious battles. How many hundreds of thousands of innocent people have WE terrorized and killed in the last ten years? Don't think about it.

jaywalker 7 years, 4 months ago

Boy, that's one woefully poor post, unclean.

voevoda 7 years, 4 months ago

You misunderstand the reference of "Cordoba." It isn't referring to a Muslim crusader-like victory over Christians. It's referring to a kingdom in which Muslims, Christians, and Jews all lived together peacefully, exchanging the riches of each culture. It is from there that medieval Western Europe rediscovered classical learning; that Europeans adopted Arabic mathematics; that Christians came to respect the wisdom of the Jewish scholar Maimonides. In other words, it's meant as a celebration of religious diversity and tolerance. And as such, doesn't it belong near Ground Zero?

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

Okay great! Then make it a Muslim, Christian, and Jew community center just like Cordoba was!

voevoda 7 years, 4 months ago

And that's what's being planned--with the Muslim community taking the lead. Kudos to them!

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

If you are talking about a multicultural center as in the whole neighborhood, that is what already exists in New York! Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf already runs another mosque 12 blocks away from GZ! This country and especially NYC has the greatest religious freedom and freedom of speech in the world!

If it's a community center that welcome all faiths and religions to debate under one roof together for everyone to see the merits of all viewpoints, then I'm 100% for it!

Can you tell me that THAT is what the mosque is going to be like? Can the Imam? Can anyone?

50YearResident 7 years, 4 months ago

And that is exactly what this is. You can bet the main worship room will be high enough up and facing the World Trade Center Center so all worshipers can give praise to Allah for a job well done in his name.

gccs14r 7 years, 4 months ago

You do realize that their puny 13-story building will be completely dwarfed by the immensity of the new WTC tower complex, right? If there were anything to the idea that they're trying to build a victory mosque over a vanquished enemy, it would be the equivalent of a gnat peeing on an elephant's foot. The symbolism would be completely reversed. Besides, depending on which lot on Park Place they're redeveloping, they may not be able to see the lower floors of the new WTC at all. This really is a non-issue that does nothing more than expose the hidden intolerance of some of our citizens.

Danimal 7 years, 4 months ago

I was kind of tepid on this until I found it was just down the street, within eye sight of Ground Zero. Additionally, they want to hold their grand opening (or whatever ceremonies you have to open a new mosque) on 9/11/2011, the tenth anniversary of 9/11. It looks like that won't happen because they've been held up a little, and frankly building any building in New York City in less than a couple years would take a miracle.

I'm not sure that there's anything that can be done to stop this as they're basically using our own traditions of religious tolerance as a weapon against us. If you don't see this as a provocation, or this Islamic center's way of poking us all in the eye, you might want to think on it some more. They already have a building fifteen blocks from Ground Zero, but apparently that just isn't close enough. I don't think we can stop them from building it, but I don't think that we have to just blindly accept that they don't have some ulterior motives.

drake 7 years, 4 months ago

I am in complete agreement with you in that they are building this as a provocation. They do have ulterior motives. Violating the Constitution to prevent them from building this will not make us stronger.

Having their mosque dedicated on 9/11 is abhorrent and the protests to this would be huge (as they should be).

If it wasn't for that damn Constitution always getting in the way we could stop them.

uncleandyt 7 years, 4 months ago

The dedication ceremony is scheduled for Rush Limbaugh's birthday.

Jimo 7 years, 4 months ago

"They already have a building fifteen blocks from Ground Zero"

"They"? Who is "they"?

That makes as much sense as saying "they" have a hundred churches in Lawrence. I'd love to see the City Commission meeting where some church group is denied a building permit because "they" already have multiple churches.

Ricky_Vaughn 7 years, 4 months ago

This is the kinda stuff Pitts was writing about the other day. Disgusting if you ask me.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 4 months ago

In other words, no, they do not, but someone else in some other location does who mentioned this project, and you do not need facts to make your point, in fact they just get in your way.

That makes you a liar, nothing more.

voevoda 7 years, 4 months ago

The imam involved in this project, along with his wife, have led the American Muslim community in promoting interfaith understanding and acceptance.
Does the "left wing" have a monopoly on the promotion of religious tolerance? I hope not!

gatekeeper 7 years, 4 months ago

Thank you!!! The imam has worked closely with Jews, trying to stop the hatred between their people. Most of the people on here with negative comments I think are listening to extremist propaganda and don't really know much (and only help to spread hatred). Even the head of the Anti-Defamation League has said what a great man this imam is.

voevoda 7 years, 4 months ago

Yes, and it's a disgrace that the Anti-Defamation League joined with the opposition to the Cordoba Center. They should know better!

anonyname 7 years, 4 months ago

Are we to get in touch with reality by shredding the Constitution? You'd rather ignore both freedom of religion and individual property rights to prevent these Muslims from building a mosque because there are radical Muslims in the world. Ridiculous.

Truthspeaker 7 years, 4 months ago

The Government's ability to take away your land if you don't pay them money every year, the ability of local governments to institute smoking bans in all public areas, etc., puts to rest the myth of private property rights in this country.

Kirk Larson 7 years, 4 months ago

I heard a rabbi on NPR the other day who has worked for years with the imam who heads the Cordoba group trying to reconcile Jews and Muslims. He insists the imam and the Cordoba group are in no way radical, but are in fact sincere in their goal of tolerance and mutual understanding.

Truthspeaker 7 years, 4 months ago

If they are truly interested in peace, would it not be wise to be seen making a concession in this case?

Kirk Larson 7 years, 4 months ago

I don't see why they should. This is America, after all. Don't you see the slippery slope of giving in to religious extremists like those who oppose the mosque? It could lead to xtian radical terrorists taking over the country. Some snark intended, but it is something I am concerned about.

Truthspeaker 7 years, 4 months ago

I didn't say they SHOULD either. I haven't come to a definitive opinion in my own mind about it yet.

However, I was just merely throwing an option out there. If they really ant to make peace with everyone and show that they reasonable, as the vast majority of Muslims are contrary to what some believe, it would be a very valid option. Spun properly, the PR could be very helpful to their cause.

Kirk Larson 7 years, 4 months ago

I don't think the comparison is valid. At it's height, Cordoba was a center of culture, finance, and trade, the envy of Europe.

Jimo 7 years, 4 months ago

radical imam? Just when I was convinced you couldn't swallow more bs.

Truthspeaker 7 years, 4 months ago

Wow, could your analogy be any worse?

First, Neo-Nazis are not a religion. Second, a Mosque is not a tribute to the fall of the towers (no matter how badly you want to believe it is and how desperate you are to convince both yourself and other it is).

Seriously, that was the stupidest analogy you could have come up with. Basically every part of it made no sense in this situation.

Truthspeaker 7 years, 4 months ago

Yes, says me. I know you feel obligated to defend your poorly thought out analogy, but it’s ok to admit that it was stupid. No matter how badly you want to defend yourself, countering “Neo-Nazism is not a religion” with “Says you” is pathetic. That isn’t a rebuttal, it’s an admission that you were caught in your own inane argument and don’t have the honesty to admit it.

Then you follow it up with an amazing contradiction. In your originally horrifically terrible analogy you say it IS a “tribute statue”, then, in your poor defense you say it isn’t going to be one. Well which point do you want to argue? Based solely on the wording you gave, it IS a tribute statue. Now when called out on it, you flip to whatever is convenient for you. If I lower myself enough, the point I assume you are attempting to make is that the mosque is going to be a tribute to the success of the terrorists, no matter what people say. That’s a fascinatingly vapid argument. So, is every Mosque that has been built since September 11th a tribute? You know what, there is no need for you to answer that. In your incredibly shortsighted view of the world, you’d probably answer “Yes” to that, proving that either suffer from inherently close minded or just plain dumb.

In regards to any argument you try to make, your analogy fails. I’d implore you to put actual thought future analogies, but your sad defense of this one proves that would be a wasted effort on my part. I understand that capable analogies can be difficult because you have to have the mental capacity to accurately compare two separate, but similar, situations, so please, leave it to those with a comprehension level above a fourth grader.

voevoda 7 years, 4 months ago

The proper parallel would be this: prohibiting any Christian church in the vicinity of the Oklahoma City Federal building, on the grounds that Christians in general are responsible for the bombers that acted in their name.

SLOPOKE 7 years, 4 months ago

The Dr. Pat Robertson , is on it.. And I hope he stay's on it!!!!!!!!

sciencegeek 7 years, 4 months ago

The thing that bothered me was the extent of what they're trying to build. The architect drawing that I saw this week was of a multi-floor, gilded-front, huge building, that not only would be visible from Ground Zero, but would dominate the view. A modest design would have been much more in keeping with their stated goal of promoting understanding. There are New Yorkers who wouldn't object to the building if it weren't so garish; what one called a "poke in the eye". So far, there has been no consideration of toning down the plans. Perhaps some sensitivity to American culture and emotions is in order.

Before answering in knee-jerk fashion to those who don't support the mosque, let's be honest here: there ARE times when our laws and culture are used against us to promote an agenda, even if religion is the stated cause. Anyone ever heard of Fred Phelps?

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

I agree with you, and I would say that even Phelps is an entirely different animal. Phelps would have to permanently place a "god hates fags" billboard right next to the cemetery where the dead soldiers are buried to make a more fair comparison. I don't think anyone advocating for the mosque would be willing to concede that that's okay.

I remember stating recently in a Phelps v. ACLU column about how I was grateful to the ACLU for protecting Phelps' freedom of speech, no matter how offensive it is. And I still stand by that.

There is an important distinction here that I think people are missing, and that is the fact that speech coming out of someone's mouth is protected, religion that someone practices is protected, but MONUMENTS are governmentally and societally sanctioned. Yes it's private property but the symbolic aspect of it belongs to all of NY just like the Statue Of Liberty.

Matt Torres 7 years, 4 months ago

Can we stop with the horrible analogies here?

"How would you like it if Nazi's built a ___ at __?"

"How would you like it if the Japanese built a ___ at __?"

Surely we can talk about this without resorting to silly equivocation fallacies, straw-man arguments and slippery slopes.....

People have a right to be angry/offended by this. There's nothing stopping people from protesting/making their voices heard if they feel that way. But if we use the law to target a group based on religion, we'll be forsaking the very ideals the 9/11 attackers supposedly hated us for.

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

I agree that the constitution should not be breached in trying to stop the mosque from being built, but if it's supposed to foster community, and pushing forward with the building of it is clearly not achieving this goal, then why continue?

Richard Payton 7 years, 4 months ago

Search term " Honor Killings" Nationalgeographic reports thousands of women killed for family honor. This story appeared on Feb, 12th, 2002. Which cartonist had to go into hiding because of Islamist threats because of his drawing? I have no problem with peace-loving Muslims but I do dislike the radicals of any group. Rev. Fred Phelps I would consider a radical that embraces hate on the Christian front.

Katara 7 years, 4 months ago

That is not an Islamic belief. That is a cultural belief and one that exists in areas that are not Muslim. Honor killings happen in India. Honor killings happen in China. Honor killings happen in America (where they are usually classified as domestic violence rather than given the label honor killing).

Honor killings also happen to men too. It is not always about gender but rather the perception that shame has been brought upon the family/clan/tribe.

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

Does anyone have a direct, non-blogosphere citation for the target Grand Opening of September 11th? I've spent a little bit looking and I haven't been able to find anything that's not in an openly biased blog or in the commentary on one article or another.

For the question, is there ulterior motives? Perhaps there are. No one but the planners and builders know for certain. Admittedly, a target date, if true, of the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 is suspicion of antagonistic motives, or at least insensitive stupidity, but the name itself seems like reading a particular way or another. It was a middle-ages caliphate, certainly, but lots of history suggests that at that time the Islamic Empire was one of the more cultured and advanced in the world, and lets be honest, virtually all territory taken by all countries at that time was the result of conquest of some form or another.

Ultimately, though, whatever their motivations are seem pretty irrelevant. Personally, I would view the decision to allow it as a victory for us, not the terrorists or jihadist Islam. It would say that we're simply unafraid. That they can't destroy some of our fundamental traits as a country either by blowing up our buildings nor erecting their own. That's just my personal thought on the matter.

jaywalker 7 years, 4 months ago

Exceptionally well-articulated. Thank you, jonas.

Jaminrawk 7 years, 4 months ago

People are being ignorant about Islam. Looking at groups like Al-Qaida and judging Islam by their standars is like someone looking at Christianity through the eyes of the KKK. How about Hitler? Part of his agenda was about Christian purification. Believe it or not, not all Muslims are militant folks. And if by some chance this building led to terrorist activity, why would they build it under such scrutiny in the public spotlight? Has anyone here even been to NY? Believe it or not, people of Muslim faith live there and pay taxes and obey laws. Shocker, I know.

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

Did you not see the people dancing in the streets on 911?

Jaminrawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Judging by your previous comments, it's probably not worth really engaging in a conversation. You believe what you believe and I believe what I believe.

I'm not Muslim. I do think 9/11 was a horrific tragedy. I also believe that there are many groups of people in the world besides Muslims that hate the USA. I didn't see muslims dancing in the street in NYC, no. I saw a city of multiple beliefs and races band together in the face of chaos. The fact is, no matter where Muslims build mosques in America, there will always be conservative Christians that will be upset by it and immediately connotate to terrorism. More than anything, i think peacful Muslims are trying to show people that they aren't like the militant Muslims that the news media seems to focus on.

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

There were 10 mosques in NYC on 911. Now there are now over 100 and not one word from conservative Christians about terrorism or stopping Muslims from practicing their religion. Not one.

There are many people who are not conservative Christians (myself included) who are questioning the motives behind this mosque and only this mosque. Perhaps if I can go take a look at it and take a dip in the pool the next time I visit New York I will be convinced, but since I'm a woman non-Muslim, I guess I'll never get a chance.

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

The issue here is not x number of mosques....I repeated some misinformation which is a risk in any heated debate but it was not meant to be misleading, it was meant to bolster the point that NYC and the United States has already proven beyond any reasonable doubt that it is not intolerant of Islam or mosques.

Your facts may be more accurate, but they still prove my point...which is that by and large NYC, and the United States, IS tolerant of mosques and Islam, and that conservative Christians HAVE NOT spoken out against other mosques or the rights of Muslim Americans to practice their religion.

The imam who wants to build this mosque already runs one 12 blocks away.

I apologize for spreading misinformation...I hate when people do that, but it doesn't change the crux of my arguments.

beatrice 7 years, 4 months ago

Here is a Press Conference on the latest developments for the 9/11 memorial. It is worth watching (however, a sense of humor is recommended):

voevoda 7 years, 4 months ago

rockchalk1977, Your comment is very offensive. I hope that you will realize this for yourself upon reflection, and retract it.

beatrice 7 years, 4 months ago

And the 9/11 victims who were Muslim? Is it a slap to them as well, or do they too get described as pissing dogs by you?

voevoda 7 years, 4 months ago

There are several "Jerusalem Centers" that promote interfaith understanding. Given that Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others have all conquered the city at some point, should we assume that all those centers constitute "an assertion of [Islamist or Christian, or Jewish, or whatever] triumphalism that we should not tolerate" (to borrow Newt Gingrich's phrase)? If so, which faith is exhibiting intolerable triumphalism?

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

Is it at all possible that a mosque in such a proximity to the towers might be construed by the more radical Muslims and terrorist organizations as an assertion of triumphalism?

You seem to think that the way a mosque like this is going to be spun in those circles is irrelevant.

I think moderate Muslims should be the most ardent and vocal opponents to it. I mean what better way to send a message to the radicals than by conceding that the location is too provocative and it's too soon.

The silence is deafening.

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

Typical knee jerk response. Please point me to the post where I advocate trashing the constitution.

I am calling for the court of public opinion to shut it down...not the legal institutions.

Many people on this thread who have advocated that constitutional right for a mosque to be built supersedes any offense that people feel because of it, have still been able to admit the unseemly timing and location of it. And I agree.

If one thinks that something someone is doing is in incredibly bad taste, then one may exercise their constitutional right to say so! Loudly and often!

Even the NYT Tom Friedman, in his glowing column of feel good diversity says

"If I was going to spend $100 million to build a mosque that promotes interfaith tolerance, I would not build it in Manhattan. I’d build it in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. That is where 9/11 came from, and those are the countries that espouse the most puritanical version of Sunni Islam"

it's not about the constitution, it's about manners. Which people who believe a mosque at ground zero is good way to prove tolerance obviously just don't understand!

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

Nice spin, but sure, if you want to equate the feelings of those who disagree with you being taken into consideration and changing the outcome as "mob rule toppling the constitution", then go for it.

Be prepared to be consistent with that stance in all other areas of American discourse though, otherwise it's just more knee jerkiness.

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

Okaayyy tomato tamoto. Is mob rule always bad? Wouldn't it be great if Phelps actually listened to the mob and SHUT the hell up?

Wouldn't he, if he cared about fostering acceptance and tolerance, actually LISTEN to the mob and change his behavior?

But he doesn't, because he cares about being provocative.

TopJayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Everyone on here pretty much knows I am conservative. But I am a real conservative.
As such I believe in personal freedom and responsibility, as well as the Constitution. I would rather offend some folks than the Constitiution. I say Build it. It is their right. It is what the Constitution envisioned. Freedom of Religion from Government. (Not the other way around) Build it.
Do not allow our fear and anger to cloud our judgement or our way of life. If it somehow becomes a problem later, we can deal with it then.

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

People had a problem with Catholic nuns opening up a convent at Auschwitz, and the pope asked them to move, which they did. Even though legally they didn't have to.

Lindsey Buscher 7 years, 4 months ago

"Besides Islam, is there another religion in the world that inflects so much pain, suffering and death on innocent people? ... The answer is YES to all."

YES, including christianity...

Erik Prince, the head of Blackwater (now 'Xe') one of the major defense contractors in Iraq "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."

The quote comes from an ex-Marine who went to work for Xe who accused Prince of murder.

50YearResident 7 years, 4 months ago

Are there any Muslims reading this story that care to comment one way or the other?

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 4 months ago

I believe building such an imposing mosque that close to ground zero is pretty tacky. I don't have to like it, though because I live in a society that, (in principle) is tolerant of all religions.

For those who believe that Islam is less a religion than it is a religious ideology bent on killing Americans, and want to cite the Quran, let's please discuss.

"Surah 9:73 Mohammed is commanded to press hard war against non-believers. Surah 9:29 "fight Jews and Chrsitians because....." Surah 9 was written after 930,ad. Muhammad died in 932. It is believed to be the last Surah written by Muhammad and supercedes "any of Muhammad's previous kind-hearted words." It is a book about the repentance of Muslims of the northern tribes that did not bend to the extortion of taxes for the privilege of living under Islam during a Muslim crusade against Tabuk to confront the Byzantine Christians. This is NOT a book calling for the repentance of Christians who did not embrace Allah. It is a book that Fundamentalist Muslim Extremists misinterpret to justify Islamic Jihad.

9:29 as quoted above is a made up lie. It is not referring to Christians and Jews. It refers to the Muslims of those northern tribes that were pressed into Islam in exchange for not being attacked again. 9:30 "And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!" Allah (HIMSELF) fighteth against them. NOT all Muslims fighteth against them.

There are people outside of Islam who will say, "When did the Jews and Christians say that Ezrah and Jesus were the sons of Allah?" The answer is that they didn't. Islam only recognizes ONE God, and his name is Allah. To acknowledge God by any name other than Allah is tantamount to heresy.

The Christian counterpart to Surah 9 is Matthew 10:34. Matt. 10:34 "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword." "Sword" should not be taken literally to mean a sword, but is referring to the Christian faith itself as being the weapon against non believers."

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 4 months ago

Hydra, to address your question concerning peyote churches being set up in town. This falls squarely under The land use provisions of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc, et seq., protecting individuals, houses of worship, and other religious institutions from discrimination in zoning and landmarking laws.

In passing this law, Congress found that the right to assemble for worship is at the very core of the free exercise of religion. Religious assemblies cannot function without a physical space adequate to their needs and consistent with their theological requirements. The right to build, buy, or rent such a space is an indispensable adjunct of the core First Amendment right to assemble for religious purposes. Religious assemblies, especially, new, small, or unfamiliar ones, may be illegally discriminated against on the face of zoning codes and also in the highly individualized and discretionary processes of land use regulation. Zoning codes and landmarking laws may illegally exclude religious assemblies in places where they permit theaters, meeting halls, and other places where large groups of people assemble for secular purposes. Or the zoning codes or landmarking laws may permit religious assemblies only with individualized permission from the zoning board or landmarking commission, and zoning boards or landmarking commission may use that authority in illegally discriminatory ways. Check out the above link to see the Native American Church celebrate exactly this religious land use at ground zero in NYC. To update the final statements in this video, James did sue the Federal Government and he won.

Check out his website:

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 4 months ago

Please forgive the partial cut and paste from above. The article goes on to say:

To address these concerns, RLUIPA prohibits zoning and landmarking laws that substantially burden the religious exercise of churches or other religious assemblies or institutions absent the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest. This prohibition applies in any situation where: (i) the state or local government entity imposing the substantial burden receives federal funding; (ii) the substantial burden affects, or removal of the substantial burden would affect, interstate commerce; or (iii) the substantial burden arises from the state or local government's formal or informal procedures for making individualized assessments of a property's uses.

In addition, RLUIPA prohibits zoning and landmarking laws that: (1) treat churches or other religious assemblies or institutions on less than equal terms with nonreligious institutions; (2) discriminate against any assemblies or institutions on the basis of religion or religious denomination; (3) totally exclude religious assemblies from a jurisdiction; or (4) unreasonably limit religious assemblies, institutions, or structures within a jurisdiction.

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 4 months ago

I understand where you are going with this.

I'll say first that my post(s) here about RLUIPA are the first, (in a pretty short history of posting on that I have cut and pasted anything. I really try hard to only post original, well thought out, (albeit often misunderstood) content, spoken from my heart and in my own words without profanity. I try not to be partisan, I try not to be arrogant, I don't call names, I try not to offend where I can, and above all, I try to be respectful. Regrettably, I was too busy at the time I posted to articulate the subject for myself. I only took the lazy way out because it was an act of Congress that precisely answered your question. In other words, I cited settled law and left my opinion out of it. Rare.

Second. Should the reverse hold true as well? Not really. Businesses, (adult or otherwise) are not protected under the First Amendment as religions are. If you are the proprietor of an adult novelty store who has been in business in the same place for 10, 20, or 30 years, and a church is built within 1000 feet of your business, depending on the savvy of your attorney, you may have to move. The church, regardless of its denominational popularity, is protected where your business is not.

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 4 months ago

I didn't think that you were belittling me. I'm way too laid back to make that assumption. I chose the adult business as an example only.

What you are saying makes sense. What is good for the goose, and all that... I agree that it probably doesn't give churches overriding rights. It doesn't make sense that a business that generates tax revenues could be shut down or moved to accommodate a tax exempt ventures' whim to build.

This act of Congress only protects churches from zoning and landmarking laws. It is probable that a churches' location or outright operation may be regulated by other means. Namely, by proving a compelling government interest. For instance, a peyote church, regardless of location would draw a lot of public scrutiny and it's members would have to be vigilant to a strict set of guidelines. The compelling interest might be proven by identifying how the sacrament was obtained by the church.

If the peyote was shipped to a church member, and that member was not on a tribal role- compelling interest has been established. If a mosque is caught promoting decapitation- compelling interest. If a synagogue is found to be filtering money into an Israeli weapons program aimed at arming blockades in international waters- compelling interest.

The definitions of compelling government and state interests are intentionally left vague and can really be stretched as far as the ambition of the government agency bringing an organization under scrutiny. At least that is how I understand it.

MeAndFannieLou 7 years, 4 months ago

For those of you who are so concerned about the "911 Families," were you sympathetic to the 911 widows who spoke out against the Iraq war, or did you jump on the Ann Coulter/"doctrine of infallibility" bandwagon? Do you really care about the sensitivies of all of the 911 victims' survivors, or only the ones who will be offended by the proposed mosque?

Richard Payton 7 years, 4 months ago

Maybe the zoning board would approve Lawrence's Sacred Journey store to be built next to this Mosque.

Grammaton 7 years, 4 months ago

Christians murdered Native Americans in terrible ways, and then many, many people settled here and built structures in the country. Let them make their community center. It's far, far less horrible that what many Americans' ancestors have done.

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

Don't forget Spain and the Caliphate of Cordoba! That was a conquest too! So if these are a problem, then that one is too. And vice versa.

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 4 months ago

@Grammaton: "Christians murdered Native Americans in terrible ways, and..."

I have recently used this fact in another article to lead into my primary point. In this case could you please identify your point? Most likely they will have their Mosque, and not because of crimes recent or ancient, or any age in between, but because they have the Constitutional and the Congressional authority to do so.

50YearResident 7 years, 4 months ago

So you are considering this a "Pay Back"?

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

You might be giving too much credit by including the idea of consideration, here.

Grammaton 7 years, 4 months ago

My point is: people die, have died, will die for various reasons; whether biological, theological, or whatever the correct grammatical thingie. Except for biological reasons (including natural death), more people have died in the name of God than for any other reason in history. I would (personally) rather not witness us (Americans) repeat history by saying, "Hey, these [bastards] are trying to build a community center near [some place where people died] in which their beliefs [directly conflict with my opinion] and so therefore [it's wrong and perverse and blah]."

But, I have to admit that I've had a few drinks tonight, so LJWorld editors are free to do their diligence.

And aforementioned opinions, while important, are not going to keep me up tonight. I have the ability to detach myself from impermanent things. Such as this. Just felt like chiming in.

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 4 months ago

A common criticism against religion is how violent the religious have been historically. People have slaughtered each other in large numbers because of differences in religious beliefs or differences which they justify through religious rhetoric. I totally get that but... You are saying on one hand: "Let them make their community center. It's far, far less horrible that what many Americans' ancestors have done." And then when pressed for a bit more clarity you say that you would rather not witness Americans repeat history by building a multicultural community center near ground zero.

Maybe we could both use some sleep because I can't help but recognize the opposition of these two statements, nor can I understand what it has to do with the Native American's condition.

BigPrune 7 years, 4 months ago

This lawsuit is fruitless especially since our country is being run into the toilet by a Muslim.

50YearResident 7 years, 4 months ago

Is this the kind of people we are giving 'Freedom of Religion' to here in the United States?

50YearResident 7 years, 4 months ago

Above link in print...... 6 killed for preaching Chiristianity? 6 Americans on medical mission killed in Afghanistan German, Briton and two Afghans also slain in Taliban ambush on Christian charity workers.

KABUL, Afghanistan — Six Americans and two other foreigners on a medical mission were shot and killed by the Taliban who ambushed their vehicles in a remote part of northern Afghanistan, a charity said Saturday.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press in Pakistan that they killed the foreigners because they were "spying for the Americans" and "preaching Christianity."

Dirk Frans, director of the International Assistance Mission, said the eight-member medical team, which also included one German, one Briton and two Afghan interpreters, was driving to Kabul from an eye clinic in northeastern Nuristan province when they were killed in Badakhshan province to the north.

The group had decided to head through Badakhshan to return to the capital because they thought that would be the safest route, Frans said.

"This tragedy negatively impacts our ability to continue serving the Afghan people as IAM has been doing since 1966," according to a statement released by the nonprofit Christian organization. "We hope it will not stop our work that benefits over a quarter of a million Afghans each year."

Team leader slain Among the dead was team leader Tom Little, an optometrist from Delmar, New York who has been working in Afghanistan for more than 30 years, Frans said.

Little was expelled by the Taliban government in August 2001 after the arrest of eight Christian aid workers — two Americans and six Germans — for allegedly trying to convert Afghans to Christianity. He returned to Afghanistan after the Taliban government was toppled in November 2001 by U.S.-backed forces.

gccs14r 7 years, 4 months ago

Why is it not possible for people to volunteer medical care without also proselytizing?

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 4 months ago

No kidding, right? I was wondering this myself. Why not just get in there and volunteer your medical care and leave it at that? Is the primary motive of this organization to convert people or to treat people?

50YearResident 7 years, 4 months ago

"Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press in Pakistan that they killed the foreigners because they were "spying for the Americans" and "preaching Christianity."

These were only 'allegations only' used to kill the victims and have not been proved to be true. Remember the saying "innocent until proved guilty"?

gccs14r 7 years, 4 months ago

The Taliban had previously tossed the one dude for preaching. He apparently thought it'd be OK to wade into the middle of Taliban territory to do it again. Bad idea. The rest of the group were guilty by association. As for innocent until proven guilty, under what pretense can a U.S. citizen claim constitutional protection in the Afghan boondocks, especially since we're so keen on denying same to foreigners here?

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

Wow, you waited 10 whole minutes before the crickets? You appear to be impatient.

HaRDNok9 has the long and short of it. I hope you didn't think that was a devastatingly difficult intellectual query.

But I tend to think that getting the government out of marriage is still the best solution, past enforcement of a voluntary contract between people.

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

Which 1st question was that? If you didn't notice, it's a long thread.

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

Funny, I seem to recall you getting a response on that, and then you promptly turned around and started going on about the SLC and the Wetlands. It seems like your point here is to throw around enough different things of marginal connection until you manage to prove some sort of inconsistency to yourself. Is that true?

As I gather, accuracy undetermined, per Federal standards it is not illegal for Native Americans to engage in "non-drug use" religious ceremonies including Peyote, but no one else. So, what's the problem? (well, other than the existing law which is rather racist, and pointless, and drugs should be decriminalized) Would it be allowed to stay open? Who knows? Maybe not. The people that forced it to close, in my opinion, would be wrong. The same as the religious or family first people are wrong when they force a sex-shop to close.

Where in this case does it say that a religious institution has requested they build wherever they want, whatever they please? They bought the land, legally, it's theirs to do with as they wish. Where in the Constitution does it say that they cannot?

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 4 months ago

I have stated before, that I think that building this Mosque at ground zero is pretty tacky, but that I don't have to agree with it because the law allows it. It is in the best interest of no religion to prevent it's construction. It is like Larry Flynt said to the Supreme Court of his magazine, "If you don't want to read it, then don't buy it."

The beauty of American freedom is that not everyone has to agree. It would not be freedom if we did.

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

All of their arguments suggest that if they paid money for the property they should be allowed to build what they want there, which is a good thing. Spinning it into what you want it to be is, to my mind, a bad thing, and is quite potentially why most of them see no reason to respond to you, assuming that they have been monitoring this thread at all, rather than doing, ya'know, life things like I'd be if I didn't feel very tired and it wasn't so hot out.

The number of varied ideologically aligned posters that you have lumped together in your last casual, unproven, and totally wrong assertion is, however, quite amusing. Perhaps, like with Buddhism and Shinto, you should do your homework first, before you put your own foot in your mouth.

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

Proving? Was there a point to be proved? I was simply offering information. I made the assumption, in context, that you would view a Buddhist shrine as some sort of victory marker from imperialist Japan, which would be simply untrue, and that part I Have proved, whether you want to admit it or not. What beliefs people hold in Modern Day Japan, in regards to events concerning WWII, are far less relevant that the beliefs that they held in both the build up and time of the war. You really can't see that?

Still, it might have been assumptive on my part to assume that you had a truly coherent point in your original post at all. Sorry to make assumptions.

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

And, to my great amusement, I just looked up myself whether there were any Buddhist temples in the vicinity of Pearl Harbor, and it turns out that there are. There's one in Pearl City.

50YearResident 7 years, 4 months ago

There is not a right of ownership of land that gives the owner the right to do whatever he pleases with that land. Landowners when incorperated into a city such as New York have to follow the laws, restrictions and zoneing as set forth by the city wheather the owners are individuals or a Church organization.

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 4 months ago

I am sorry, but you are wrong. Not about right of ownership , but that zoning and landmarking laws can restrict churches. They cannot.

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 4 months ago

Easy question. This answer is applicable to both Islamic and Mormon polygamous marriages. When a polygamous couple is married where prohibited by state law, only the first marriage is legally recognized. The subsequent "marriages" are ceremonies that are not legally supported, but they are symbolically recognized by the organization which performs it.

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 4 months ago

Additionally, some polygamists engage in serial marriage. Serial marriage is when a person marries, and then divorces to remarry. The divorce protects the property rights of the latter, and alimony proceedings protect the property rights of the divorced.

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 4 months ago

Sorry about the delay. I had to do some reading to make sure that I got everything right. There is a peyote church in Lawrence. Believe it or not, there are actually 6 NAC charters in Kansas.

You are citing: Employment Div. v. Smith., 494 U.S. 872 (1990) The Spirituality of the Native American people was recognized by Congress in the Dawes Act of 1876. The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA), 42 U.S.C. 1978 was amended in H.R. 4230 in 1996 to include provisions for the traditional use of peyote by Indians for religious, and other purposes. The RLUIPA (2000) affirms that the Native American Church has been under the protection of the First Amendment since 1918, meaning that the protection of the church's sacrament predates the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, the Controlled Substances Act, and the United Nations. RLUIPA (2000) made the governments burden of proving a compelling interest a necessary exercise despite the 1990 ruling of 494 U.S. 872.

That pretty much covers peyote and its use by Native American Church members.

On the subject of polygamy. I won't get into 19th century law concerning the matter. Much more recently, is the Defense of Marriage Act (1996), designed to give the federal government relief from having to recognize same sex marriages. It specifies that legal marriage joins one man and one woman. It will be interesting to see how Proposition 8 effects polygamy laws.

Islam's long-established recognition of limited polygamy may one day become legal in the US under the “free exercise” clause of the first amendment. Not so for the Mormons though. LDS abolished the practice of polygamy long ago.

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

No, it generally doesn't.

I have said previously, about a third of the way down the thread, that the motivations behind this don't matter, nor will it represent victory for the Islamic frontier, jihad, or whatever you want to call it, assuming that is their true goal. Allowing them to work within our laws for their benefit has the dual edge that they will have to work within our laws against their benefits as well.

If they wish to govern themselves above and beyond our legal restrictions they are perfectly able to as a community, provided those do not take them into conflict with the laws that govern our society. The hard Christians have done it for long enough on their own volition to show how it works out, both when they work within our laws, and when they go against them. And let's face it, the Christians have a far more forgiving institutional setting in our country.

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

That's a rather fearful and paranoid attitude to take, and one that seems to have no confidence in our country or our institutions. That's rather sad. It seems that you've let the terrorists win.

Perhaps not, but it sure does seem that way.

skinny 7 years, 4 months ago

Ya, let them build it so they can show that they have won! Not!

How about we ask the Muslims where this money is coming from to build this?

Not at Ground Zero!!

gccs14r 7 years, 4 months ago

Too bad for her. Maybe her family can sue the family of Tom Little. As for the materials the Taliban claimed to find, that could be something as simple as a Bible, something I definitely would not have in my possession if traveling in hostile territory.

50YearResident 7 years, 4 months ago

I would expect nothing less from you as you are good for standing up for Islam according to previous posts.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 4 months ago

In other news:

"Not so fast.

The developers of the controversial mosque proposed near Ground Zero own only half the site where they want to construct the $100 million building, The Post has learned.

One of the two buildings on Park Place is owned by Con Edison, even though Soho Properties told officials and the public that it owns the entire parcel. And any potential sale by Con Ed faces a review by the state Public Service Commission.

“We never heard anything about Con Ed whatsoever,” said a stunned Julie Menin, the chairwoman of Community Board 1, which passed a May resolution supporting the mosque...."

Read more:

jonas_opines 7 years, 4 months ago

Well, looks like they'll have to scale down their plans or buy the other part of the property, then.

purplesage 7 years, 4 months ago

Pat Robertson can be kind of on the fringe of evangelicalism, but the ACLJ has hit this nail squarely on the head.

Our Constitution allows the people, by whose consent government governs, to set aside a government which no longer serves its intended purpose. The issue that the New York board faced had to do with the national registtry of historic places. That is a separate question, but once answered, directly relevant to the idea of a mosque in sight of "Ground Zero".

A generation ago, the Pope had the good sense to move some nuns, who had set up shop to promote peace and goodwill, in the environms of Auschwitz. It was well intended but still, it trod upon sacred ground.

It is amazing that, within a generationof WWII, Japanes and German manufactured products gained such acceptance - cameras, cars, motorcysles. The Beatle was around by the early 60's to be sure. Toyotas became popular by the end of that decade. But this is only a decade, an attack on American soil against our citizens. It has nothing to do with tolerance or acceptance. It has everything to do with respect.

Not every Muslim is a terrorist just as not every Japanese or German citizen was a Nazi or facist. But the aggressive activities of those govenments calledthem into suspicion. Likewise with Islam.

jimmyjms 7 years, 4 months ago

Hmmm. So there was "an attack on American soil against our citizen" and that somehow argues against this mosque?

Did you know that the Pentagon was also struck on 9/11? And that some of our citizens died there too?

And did you further know that there is a mosque inside the Pentagon, and has been for years?

Are we now going to argue about the degree to which one "sacred" ground is "more sacred" than another "sacred" ground?

Much ado about nothing.

50YearResident 7 years, 4 months ago

You are an enabler. Do you belong to any religious group?

jimmyjms 7 years, 4 months ago

What difference does that make? No religious tests here in 'Merica, friend.

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

Food for thought and welcome discussion:

Islam is not a religion, nor is it a cult. In its fullest form, it is a complete, total, 100% system of life.

Islam has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components. The religious component is a beard for all of the other components.

Islamization begins when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their religious privileges.

When politically correct, tolerant, and culturally diverse societies agree to Muslim demands for their religious privileges, some of the other components tend to creep in as well.

Here's how it works.

As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% in any given country, they will be for the most part be regarded as a peace-loving minority, and not as a threat to other citizens. This is the case in:

United States -- Muslim 0.6% Australia -- Muslim 1.5% Canada -- Muslim 1.9% China -- Muslim 1.8% Italy -- Muslim 1.5% Norway -- Muslim 1.8%

At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruitment from the jails and street gangs. This is happening in:

Denmark -- Muslim 2% Germany -- Muslim 3.7% United Kingdom -- Muslim 2.7% Spain -- Muslim 4% Thailand -- Muslim 4.6%

From 5% on, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. For example, they will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves -- along with threats for failure to comply. This is occurring in:

France -- 8% Philippines -- 5% Sweden -- 5% Switzerland -- 4.3% The Netherlands -- 5.5% Trinidad & Tobago -- 5.8%

At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves (within their ghettos) under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islamists is to establish Sharia law over the entire world.

When Muslims approach 10% of the population, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions. In Paris, we are already seeing car-burnings. Any non-Muslim action offends Islam, and results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam , with opposition to Mohammed cartoons and films about Islam. Such tensions are seen daily, particularly in Muslim sections, in:

Guyana -- 10% India -- 13.4% Israel -- 16% Kenya -- 10% Russia -- 15%

After reaching 20%, nations can expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings, and the burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, such as in:

Ethiopia -- 32.8%

At 40%, nations experience widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks, and ongoing militia warfare, such as in:

Bosnia -- 40% Chad -- 53.1% Lebanon -- 59.7%

Truthspeaker 7 years, 4 months ago

Plain and simply: No.

There is a difference between beating down your enemy until they stop fighting back and killing every single member of your enemy, even non-combatants, even if they have surrendered.

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago


From 60%, nations experience unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions (including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon, and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels, such as in:

Albania -- 70% Malaysia -- 60.4% Qatar -- 77.5% Sudan -- 70%

After 80%, expect daily intimidation and violent jihad, some State-run ethnic cleansing, and even some genocide, as these nations drive out the infidels, and move toward 100% Muslim, such as has been experienced and in some ways is on-going in:

Bangladesh -- 83% Egypt -- 90% Gaza -- 98.7% Indonesia -- 86.1% Iran -- 98% Iraq -- 97% Jordan -- 92% Morocco -- 98.7% Pakistan -- 97% Palestine -- 99% Syria -- 90% Tajikistan -- 90% Tunisia-- 98% Turkey -- 99.8% United Arab Emirates -- 96%

100% will usher in the peace of 'Dar-es-Salaam' -- the Islamic House of Peace. Here there's supposed to be peace, because everybody is a Muslim, the Madrasses are the only schools, and the Koran is the only word, such as in:

Afghanistan -- 100% Saudi Arabia -- 100% Somalia -- 100% Yemen -- 100%

Unfortunately, peace is never achieved, as in these 100% states the most radical Muslims intimidate and spew hatred, and satisfy their blood lust by killing less radical Muslims, for a variety of reasons.

'Before I was nine I had learned the basic canon of Arab life. It was me against my brother; me and my brother against our father; my family against my cousins and the clan; the clan against the tribe; the tribe against the world, and all of us against the infidel. -- Leon Uris, 'The Haj'

It is important to understand that in some countries, with well under 100% Muslim populations, such as France, the minority Muslim populations live in ghettos, within which they are 100% Muslim, and within which they live by Sharia Law. The national police do not even enter these ghettos. There are no national courts, nor schools, nor non-Muslim religious facilities. In such situations, Muslims do not integrate into the community at large. The children attend madrasses. They learn only the Koran. To even associate with an infidel is a crime punishable with death. Therefore, in some areas of certain nations, Muslim Imams and extremists exercise more power than the national average would indicate.

Today's 1.5 billion Muslims make up 22% of the world's population. But their birth rates dwarf the birth rates of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Jews. Some say Muslims will exceed 50% of the world's population by the end of this century.

~Adapted from Dr. Peter Hammond's book - "Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat"

50YearResident 7 years, 4 months ago

WOW! That sure is an eye opener! All you people that believe in 'Freedom of Religion' regardless of what the end result will be and what the cause is for, better think again.

jimmyjms 7 years, 4 months ago


Why do you hate America, 50? Perhaps you'd find a more sympathetic home in Iran.

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

For anyone whose attention has not yet wandered away...some liberal Canadian Muslims write in the Ottowa citizen:

-As Muslims we are dismayed that our co-religionists have such little consideration for their fellow citizens and wish to rub salt in their wounds and pretend they are applying a balm to sooth the pain.

As for those teary-eyed, bleeding-heart liberals such as New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and much of the media, who are blind to the Islamist agenda in North America, we understand their goodwill.

Unfortunately for us, their stand is based on ignorance and guilt, and they will never in their lives have to face the tyranny of Islamism that targets, kills and maims Muslims worldwide, and is using liberalism itself to destroy liberal secular democratic societies from within."

Read more:

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