Mosque would honor U.S. values

July 21, 2010


They want to build a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero.

And the outrage burns like jet fuel, the argument billows like choking dust, the questions lacerate like flying glass: Is it right, is it decent, is it morally defensible, for developer Sharif el-Gamal of SoHo Properties to build a Muslim worship center called Cordoba House within walking distance of the place where Muslim men, acting from a perverse distortion of their religion, disintegrated thousands of lives — Muslim, Christian, Jewish, atheist and, we may presume, others?

Sally Regenhard, who lost her son in the Sept. 11 attacks, told The New York Times the idea was “sacrilege.” A man named Scott Wheeler produced an ad accusing Muslims of building the mosque to “celebrate” the murders. Sarah Palin called on moderate Muslims to “refudiate” — presumably she meant “repudiate” — the idea.

And then, there is Rabbi Yaakov Thompson. In an opinion piece for the South Florida Sun Sentinel, he accused Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, leader of the group that would worship at the new facility, of taking chutzpah “to a new level,” even though, he added, “I realize that those behind Cordoba House have no connection to terrorism.”

That bears repeating. Though he acknowledges the people behind Cordoba House are not terrorists, the rabbi still demands New York tell them no. In so doing, he blithely legitimizes the idea that tribe is destiny, that you and I are each individually answerable for the crimes of those who merely look like, talk like, or pray like, us.

That being the case, one wonders how far from Ground Zero the rabbi would think it proper for Muslims to build? A mile? Twenty? A hundred? Or maybe nowhere within the borders of these United States.

We should not be without sympathy for those who cringe at the notion of a mosque so near Ground Zero. Memory of what happened there is burned into us all. To put a mosque there would be an unavoidably painful and provocative thing.

But the constitution does not carry an escape clause. We do not get to jettison our national ideals just because they cause pain or provoke. To the contrary, that is the time they are most severely tested and most desperately in need of defending.

And frankly, we ought to be troubled by the easy conflation of Islam and terror into which we have fallen over the last decade. Yes, we have been helped in that fall by manifold Islamic terrorists, from the Fort Hood shooter to the shoe bomber to the man who left a crude bomb in Times Square two months back. But we have also been helped in that fall by that xenophobic strain that was seemingly born in us and that, at some point or another in history, has caused us to regard Americans of Japanese, German, Iranian, Irish and French descent with the same suspicion and scorn we now reserve for Muslims.

But this blanket antipathy is now, as it was then, antithetical to what we claim to believe as Americans. How shameful was it that candidate Obama had to keep reassuring voters he wasn’t a Muslim and that no one — not the candidate, not the pundits — thought to say the obvious: What if he was?

Are Muslims not Americans, too? Is that what we’re saying now?

Yes, I fear terrorism. But I find I fear even more what my country has become in response to it — a nation where a “rabbi”(!) can blandly condemn someone, not for his own crimes but for the crimes of some of his tribesmen.

So yes, putting that building in that place might be painful and provocative, but it would also be a reminder of the very values the terrorists sought to kill. And we seem to need that reminder more everyday.

They want to build a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero? Let them.

— Leonard Pitts Jr., winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a columnist for the Miami Herald. He chats with readers from noon to 1 p.m. CDT each Wednesday on www.MiamiHerald.com. lpitts@miamiherald.com


Jimo 7 years, 11 months ago

"After 9/11"

Clearly, there's a whole encyclopedia of unspoken assumptions here. Care to explain what possible logical point you're making here with your code-wording?

jimmyjms 7 years, 11 months ago

So after OKC, we should outlaw white Christians?


Are you familiar with the Constitution of the country in which you live?

Abdu Omar 7 years, 11 months ago

So don't build a Church near the Federal Building in Oklahoma City? Or Churches in Germany?

I think we all, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Budhists, Hindus, you name it, All of us, should pray for peace.

Mixolydian 7 years, 11 months ago

Why not a Shinto temple or a shrine to Emperor Hirohito across from the waters from the USS Arizona memorial why we're at it?

How about a German historic cultural center or Lutheran megachurch across from Auschwitz?

ksjayhawk74 7 years, 11 months ago

A Shinto Temple is not associated with the attack on Pearl Harbor...

A German Historical Society would not have anything do with the Nazi Party...

That you think either one of your examples mean anything is really sad.

notajayhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

And to think that most people would not find them equally offensive is also sad.

Hey, how about instead of a Shinto temple at Pearl Harbor, we put a big "Sponsored by Mitsubishi" sign on the Arizona memorial?

cato_the_elder 7 years, 11 months ago

This column shows how loony Pitts really is. Does he not know that one of the most strongly-practiced traditions of Islamists for many centuries has been the building of mosques at sites that they consider to represent military victories? Has Pitts researched the background and motivations of Faisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind this, to whom the rabbi whose article was cited by Pitts was too kind? Have New Yorkers who aren't vigorously protesting this gone mad? Does Pitts not know that the site of the former World Trade Center, viciously destroyed by followers of Islam, is already considered by America-hating Islamists to be a shrine? Pitts loves to brag about the critical e-mails he receives. He'll have plenty to brag about after this shameful piece is circulated.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 11 months ago

"Has Pitts researched the background and motivations of Faisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind this,"

Have you, Cato?


"Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf (Arabic: فيصل عبد الرؤوف‎, born 1948[1]) is an Arab-American imam, author, and activist for improvement in relations between the Muslim World and the West. For 25 years, he has been Imam of Masjid al-Farah, a New York City mosque. He has written three books on Islam and its place in contemporary Western society, and has founded two non-profit organizations whose collective mission is to enhance the discourse on Islam in society."

cato_the_elder 7 years, 11 months ago

Of course I have, you twit. He hides behind the type of information you've cited (from Wikipedia no less, which would get you an "F" from any reputable high school teacher). Go back and do your homework. I won't do it for you. There's plenty of accurate information available about this man's motives and long-standing hostility toward the West for what he considers to be its historical oppression of Islam.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 11 months ago

With folks like you around, he doesn't need to complain about "historical oppression."

cato_the_elder 7 years, 11 months ago

Irrelevant, Bozo. This guy has had a cob up his orifice for a long time regarding what he views as the oppressive treatment of Islam by the West, and he's on a mission. Allowing him to erect a mosque at that location to commemorate 9-11 - a modern-day massacre that many in the Islamic world consider to be their greatest victory ever, even greater than any in the Crusades - is a travesty. That fact that you don't see it that way proves once again how little you think of your own country and of those who were murdered on that tragic day.

tomatogrower 7 years, 11 months ago

So Cato, what are your sources about his views on the "oppressive treatment of Islam by the West"? Do you know him personally or did Beck and the druggie tell you? Or did you get that info from a spam email?

cato_the_elder 7 years, 11 months ago

Tomatohead, as I explained to Bozo there's a load of information on the internet about this guy and his anti-Western views. I'm not in the habit of doing research for others, especially far-left moonbats who by their actions devalue this country and what it stands for every day. If you don't know how to find sources other than Wikipedia, I'm sure you can find another left-wing moonbat to help you.

tomatogrower 7 years, 11 months ago

I did some research, and the only sites I can find calling him an extremist are those who oppose his mosque, and some are just down right nasty. None of them quote him directly. The words from him are wanting to promote moderate Islam, and the belief that there is religious freedom in the US. Of course, Cato and his ilk are at war with all people of Islam, so he probably thinks that the only good follower of Islam is a dead one. Take your personal crusade somewhere else, please.

Christians built lots of churches after they conquered the natives of the Americas. A good god fearing Catholic priest burnt most of the books in the Mayan library. Who knows what knowledge he destroyed. Why are you against religious freedom, Cato?

cato_the_elder 7 years, 11 months ago

Tomatohead, in your own words, what millions of Americans want is for Faisal Abdul Rauf to take his personal crusade somewhere else. That's precisely how the New Yorkers I know feel about it. It's a complete disgrace.

ksjayhawk74 7 years, 11 months ago

Obviously this information comes from some BS wingnut website that has zero credibility.

Love the old "you can't trust Wikipedia" argument made by someone that doesn't understand they way Wikipedia works.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 11 months ago

Ksjayhawk74, I know precisely how "Wikipedia works," which is exactly what causes me to observe that any educated person would not cite it as a definitive source. You evidently don't know that. Perhaps when you were at KU you majored in HDFL.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 11 months ago

Vertigo, a "vette" is a nickname for a car. The word that you were attempting to use is "vet."

ksjayhawk74 7 years, 11 months ago

Oh no. He got you with a spelling error. That negates anything you said. Since you were talking about Wikipedia, that means Wikipedia is wrong. You just negated all of Wikipedia!!! Way to go.

It doesn't even matter that what you were talking about proves the information presented on Wikipedia...

cato_the_elder 7 years, 11 months ago

Ksjayhawk74, what have you been smoking? Is it medicinal?

Jimo 7 years, 11 months ago

Take your bigotry and go back where you came from.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 11 months ago

That bears repeating. Though he acknowledges the people behind Cordoba House are not terrorists, the rabbi still demands New York tell them no. In so doing, he blithely legitimizes the idea that tribe is destiny, that you and I are each individually answerable for the crimes of those who merely look like, talk like, or pray like, us.

---ah hypocrisy!
a review of Pittsie's past writings shows that he boes believe in "tribe as destiny" when it comes to judging white americans.
further, his president has now twice displayed rampant racism against white law enforcement officers, first regarding his pal Skippy and second regarding Arizona. these LEO's are suspect in his mind simply because they have a certain skin color. we wouldn't accept it if their skin color were brown, black, yellow, or red.
ah, hypocrisy.

then of course there's another question: would Pittsie know american values if they came up and bit him in the ... ?

the Mosque itself does not represent american values, and one of its backers has published efforts to make american law compliant with strict muslim law. no, not american values.

however, the opportunity to build such a Mosque represents the freedom of religion, assembly, speech, and private property we do charish.

are the people trying to do this rude ignorant morons who are disregarding the heartfelt concerns of americans? yes. our constitution gives each of us the right to be offensive.

tomatogrower 7 years, 11 months ago

a review of Pittsie's past writings shows that he boes believe in "tribe as destiny" when it comes to judging white americans.


beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

"his president"?

Don't you mean "our" president? Who are you to discount the votes of 50 million Americans? Only a sore loser would claim that elections only count when the person from the party you are in wins. He is "our" president, just as Bush was "our" president and not just "your" president. Deal with it.

Further, please stop using the cutesy names. It will help us understand who the hell you are writing about. Skippy? Who is Skippy? And how exactly does "Arizona" equal "white enforcement officers"? Plenty of colors represented by law enforcement officers in Arizona, including the Arizona officers who have also sued the state over the recent immigration law requiring local police to do the job of federal law enforcement. Yet somehow you only see the white law enforcement officers. Interesting.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 11 months ago

Build it! Show them we STILL value religious freedom in this country.From what I've read about it, it will be 13 stories tall and have other facilities (pool, gym, etc.) inside. Kinda like a YMCA two blocks from Ground Zero. I think it's a wonderful idea.

imastinker 7 years, 11 months ago

I don't like it, but property rights and religious freedom are two of the things that made this country great! I'm not about to give those up for something like this.

matchbox81 7 years, 11 months ago

Yes, God Bless America, for within its constitution and laws is the structure that prevents government-dictated stereotyping of an entire set of people, based on a the extremist elements.

yankeevet 7 years, 11 months ago

yes; our country is changing; so many different people; etc..........and they bring their flags; and their customs...........their beliefs..........and learn how too collect their welfare checks...quickly........

bronco1979 7 years, 11 months ago

And pay no attention to the white christian that collects welfare checks and has a car on blocks in their front yard? Is that correct yankeevet?

geekin_topekan 7 years, 11 months ago

Build it.

Otherwise we appear to accept defeat and fear an entire population because of a few wing nuts.

Corey Williams 7 years, 11 months ago

This story has been out for months now and we have to get it via a commentary? When are we going to get the New Black Panther story? (I don't get Fox, but I like to keep up with what they say and I know I can count on Tom to parrot them)

Kirk Larson 7 years, 11 months ago

You mean the one where the Bush DOJ down graded the charges because not one person has come forward to say they were prevented from voting? Where you can watch people on the video walking past the guy to go into the polling place? Where the guy spews a bunch of racist claptrap no different from racist baloney all over the world, but is apparently all mouth? That story?

ivalueamerica 7 years, 11 months ago

The bigots are trying to control America and they seek special rights as bigots to control marriage, religion and the color of America.

They are a bigger threat to the USA than Al Quada ever could be and need to be confronted and told they are vile, unwelcome and sick people who have no place in civilized society.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 11 months ago

I find Christians equal.

Unlike you, I do not assign higher or lower values to people based on their faith, skin color, nationality or sexual orientation.

Unlike you, I think all people are created equal.

Unlike you, I think that we all should have equal access under the law.

Unlike you, I think that a person should be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

Unlike you, we all have the right to freedom of religion, freedom of speech and life, liberty and the persuit of happiness.

That is because I am a Christian, an American and a decent human being.

What are you?

ksjayhawk74 7 years, 11 months ago

He would like a fascist government as long as he is part of the "we" and not a part of the "them"

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 11 months ago

Liberty_one said: "The owner of the property has the right to build what he wants there. If you don't like it then buy the property from him, otherwise shut up."

Agreed. The real question should be by what measure will he be stopped? Will the city pass an ordinance banning construction of a mosque on this spot only? How will he be stopped?

christie 7 years, 11 months ago

I'll support a Mosque at Ground Zero when peace loving Muslims support a Synagogue in Mecca.

Fair enough ??

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 11 months ago

That would be like Jewish people building a synagogue in the Vatican....not going to happen.Most religions have their own "holiest of holy places".

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 11 months ago

1) How are these two things the same? They are not.

2) By your comments, you show yourself to be as narrow-minded and violent as the muslims you hate.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 11 months ago

Sharia law, death by stoning for adultry, capital punishment for consensual sex between same-sex adults, honor killings, death for converting to another faith. Where do American values fall in those Islamic behaviors?

Flap Doodle 7 years, 11 months ago

Sharia law, death by stoning for adultry, capital punishment for consensual sex between same-sex adults, honor killings, death for converting to another faith. Where do American values fall in those Islamic behaviors?

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 11 months ago

I agree with snak_pop_crapple on this one.

How do fundamentalist religious ideas square with american values? They do not.

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

How do fundamentalist Christian ideas square with American values?

devobrun 7 years, 11 months ago

"where Muslim men, acting from a perverse distortion of their religion, disintegrated thousands of lives ". The unanswered question is whether Pitts' assertion is correct.. The Muslims I know are kind and gentle. Very modest and quiet....except when western insults get too much. These insults are overt behavior of western people who are so offensive that it is more than just an irritant. The behavior of Madonna, Prince, and hip hop videos are the type of public display that is deeply offensive towards Islam.

The religion has a fundamental abhorrence to the sexual objectifying of people. The offense of the west is so egregious that normally tolerant Muslims just can't stand it anymore. In the eyes of Islam, the west is so corrupt that it must be stopped. When western values invade Islamic countries via TV and other media, religious elders burn with hatred for the sins that their youngsters are exposed to.

And then Mr. Pitts' statement becomes false. It isn't a distortion of their religion when the perceived evil that is western culture is challenged by Islamic leaders. It isn't a distortion when martyrs are sent to destroy the culture that threatens their religion. It is a holy battle against evil. This isn't a distortion. The distortion is western morality and the distance that it has moved from traditional moral values.

Walk in their shoes, Mr. Pitts. Understand the motives of what you term perversion. Evaluate your own morality and that of Islam and see if maybe, just maybe the violence is not so distorted. Violence in the defense of one's life is called defense. This is their perspective.

We are at war Mr. Pitts. The west and Islam are at war. I know that you don't want to be at war. I know that you want to be friends. We aren't. So the mosque by the hole in the ground is just plain senseless.

jimmyjms 7 years, 11 months ago

"The west and Islam are at war."

If that's true (and it's not), then we're screwed.

devobrun 7 years, 11 months ago

Jimmy, you are not at war. 850,000 top-secret security clearance badges say different. Millions of militant Muslims say different as well.

There are 1200 million Muslims in the world. If 0.1% of them are militant and violent, then 1.2 million Muslims are at war with you.

The only tactics that poor Islamic factions have are terrorist in nature. They can't fight us with soldiers and rifles and fighter planes. So they fight us by occasionally blowing up a nightclub in Bali, or a hotel in Bombay.

Just enough to make us need 850,00 people with top-secret security clearances. They are at war with us. Is all of Islam at war? Of course not. And all Germans were not at war with the U.S. 67 years ago either.

I believe that Iran would be at war with us if they could. They know that they can't fight us in any kind of conventional battle, so they sponsor Hezbollah, Hamas, and other groups that make us spend lots of time and money on security.

The reason that we won WWII was that we were able to build our military strength and our industrial strength throughout the battles. As war carried on, we became stronger and Germany and Japan became weaker.

If Islamic terrorists gradually wear down the west, they will win. We will ultimately become economically weak and they will offer salvation. This is one goal of terrorism. Wear us down.

It is war just the same. They want western culture to be gone. They perceive it as evil and want it to stop.

devobrun 7 years, 11 months ago

I disagree Jack. If Iran could.....If Taliban could...If Al Queda could....we would be toast. Not all Germans, Japanese or Italians were fighting the U.S. and Britain in WWII. Many in our country and even in their own country opposed the fascism of the times.
But we went to war. And today, Islamic factions all over the world are at war with us, even if we don't fight back. Islam started the war with us in the sense that 9/11 and USS Cole and many other violent acts have occurred over the last few decades. We have retaliated. We support Israel (or we used to). We invade the cultures of middle eastern countries with music, movies, fashion, language and the leaders of these countries don't like it.
Hamas, Hezbollah, and many other groups within Islam all fight in there own way and with their own tools against the insult of western modernity. We are a threat to Islam. They haven't been able to really attack us yet. If they get WMDs, look out. This is why there are so many people in America employed today in security. I saw that there are about 850 thousand top-secret security badges in the U.S. today. That's amazing and the reason is that the specter of war looms over us. No matter what Leonard Pitts thinks.

devobrun 7 years, 11 months ago

But Jack, Muslims as a whole have not declared war on us. Neither did Germans or Japanese. Their country did. It was a time when people followed their political leaders more than today. But today's Islam has many people who follow their local Imam just as vehemently as the Japanese followed the emperor. And there are enough Muslims who despise the western world to be dangerous.

As far as all those top-secret clearance folks, what scares me is the shear number of people who have access to classified information. No way are 850,000 people all true blue loyal and untemptable and honest....

They can look at anything I write or do. If they are disturbed by my comments regarding war with Islam, then so be it. I am amazed by the change in American attitude from 9/12/01 until today. Negotiate with the Taliban. No kidding?

Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

Private property. First Amendment. Those are what matters.

Anyone against building a mosque in any spot appropriate for a house of worship is willfully ignoring everything America is. Islam is a lie just like Christianity, but it deserves the exact same protections.

We are a country of laws, not kneejerk reactions.

devobrun 7 years, 11 months ago

One of my favorite speeches....especially the warning about the unhealthy link between government and research. Yep, its right there after the term military-industrial complex was coined. It is all coming to pass.
Only, he didn't warn us of religious ideologies becoming the enemy. Attitudes that transcend boundaries and oppose freedom not from the point of view of governments and countries, but world religions. Freedom is taking it on the chin these days. From overwrought security to wild excess in lifestyles, freedom looks like hideous gargoyles of excess and police state. As Leonard Cohen says: "I have seen the future, baby. And it is murder" Headlong we go into the world of chemically induced reality, video game reality and other abominations of freedom. Islam is afraid of it. They are mobilizing against it. They are war with it. We've had freedom and now we're screwing it up. The 1950's are looking a little better these days.

Irenaku 7 years, 11 months ago

A Mosque is no different than a church or a temple, the call to prayer heard over loud speakers no different than church bells. The degree to which our paranoia has spiked is frightening. Build the mosque!

devobrun 7 years, 11 months ago

From wiki:

"Paranoia is a thought process heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. Historically, this characterization was used to describe any delusional state."

The world trade center was not delusional. The USS Cole was not delusional. Embassy bombings in Africa. Subway bombings, Airline hijackings, Pirates, You are characterized as the "Great Satan". Feeling put upon yet ? There's lots more, but that's all "paranoia" right?

devobrun 7 years, 11 months ago

My list addresses your assertion that people in America are paranoid visa vie the Mosque in Manhattan. You are absolutely correct, the people of the rest of the world are and should be upset by America and its values.

They aren't paranoid, they are being attacked. We aren't paranoid, we are being attacked.

We are at war.

Leonard Pitts is wrong that Islamic violence is only from a small group.

We are engaged in a war of abject freedom, freedom run amok, and fundamentalist religion. Islam doesn't like us, for good reason. Lindsey Lohan and any Islamic sect are at odds. People in Yemen read about Lohan (why I don't know). But there it is.

We are represented to Islam by Lindsey fffffin Lohan and Leonard is too stupid to notice that Islam doesn't like it.

Or that they blow things up when they don;t like them. Or that America is the Great Satan.

How many times does it take to hit a mule in the side of the head with a 2 X 4 for a mule to do what you want?

Islam has been hitting the west in the side of the head with a 2 X 4 for decades and we still don't get it. And we hit Islam with the ol' democracy and freedom 2 X and they don't get it. They don't want to get it, neither do we.

We're at war. Deal with it.

Shane Garrett 7 years, 11 months ago

I have not read much in the Koran that praises democracy, capitalism, or free enterprise, much less human freedoms. If anything these values are reserved for Islamic males.

Shane Garrett 7 years, 11 months ago

Oh, sorry I thought this was a discussion on current Islamic law and american values. I don't believe anywhere in todays society would the ruling elite allow for the de-humanization that is allowed under Shria law. Try and stay up with the topic. This is not about a 2000 year old book. It is about what is taught tody from the religious books. Today we do not have religious leaders, that I know of , and I am not counting that bunch from Topeka, that would condon beheadings, stoning, lashings, and death for non-belivers. My world is not frail.... it is full of American Freedom. Freedom of speach and freedom from thought police like yourself.

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

"I have not read much in the Koran, ..." from your above post. "This is not about a 2000 year old book" from this post.

Make up your mind.

jimmyjms 7 years, 11 months ago

Holy crap, have you ever read the Bible?

Where do you people come from?

jonas_opines 7 years, 11 months ago

Likely they've just had it read to them on Sundays, by someone with a vested interest in leaving out the bad parts and the bad interpretations.

50YearResident 7 years, 11 months ago

Pitts is wrong on this!! It will come back to bite him in the butt.

jaybark 7 years, 11 months ago

History - both archaic and very recent - has proven that the banner of any religion wraps around a broad range of ideas, unfortunately including fringe elements of extremism and violence. The issue at stake here is whether or not we allow the extremist version of a particular religion to paint our collective vision of that religion - to me, a dangerous and altogether pointless prospect.
Building a mosque near Ground Zero shows bold resiliency on behalf of peace-seeking people to prove that we can co-exist and will not have our country's values of religious freedom and equality muddied by those who would seek to divide us. Not understanding a religion because one wasn't raised in it does not mean it is something to fear or revile. The followers of this religion are teachers, doctors, philanthropists, officers, firefighters, PTA members, etc., who we know and trust every day. And, despite the grumblings and rantings of the xenophobic, they have no reason to renounce their religion in the name of assimilation into some, supposed notion of a "Christian" nation.
The building of a mosque near Ground Zero really affords we Americans an unprecedented and wonderful opportunity to prove ourselves the carriers of the torch for tolerance and peaceful co-existence worldwide.

devobrun 7 years, 11 months ago

The German people allowed themselves to be led to committing holocaust. They followed a leader who promised them victory and better living conditions. He delivered (unless you were a Jew, Gypsy, homosexual, mentally or physically challenged,.........). But for the rank and file German who had been driven into poverty for several decades, Hitler looked pretty good.

And Muslims have been on the short end of the stick for a long time. Even the vast amounts of money pouring into Saudi Arabia, The Emirates, Iran, Iraq, etc, always seems to end up in the Swiss bank accounts of the top dogs. There are a lot of miserable Muslims living in bad conditions who are signing up for martyrdom, kinda like the Germans and Japanese did 70 years ago.

And Osama bin Laden gave the Muslims a spiritual leader. Like I said way at the top of this blog, we are at war. And Leonard Pitts forgot that we were.

jaybark 7 years, 11 months ago

I absolutely agree with your point that abject poverty and hopelessness produce a less-educated mass and, ultimately, an easily-led powder keg for unscrupulous people. However, I whole-heartedly disagree that we are at war with Islam as your response implies. We are at war with intolerance and, thereby, make ourselves zealots of hypocrisy by disallowing the free expression and worship of one particular religion. It is the agenda of those who killed thousands of innocent people on September 11th, 2001, to cause us to divide and persecute in order to bring more disillusioned youth to their ranks.

Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

Christianity has proven to be impotent in fighting pervasive immorality peddled by the secular progressives.

Progressives/Liberals/Socialists are posers. Libertarians are the real peddlers of pervasive immorality. Well, actually pervasive amorality.

Richard Payton 7 years, 11 months ago

Liberty_One your wrong that a owner can build whatever he or she wants. The owner must be in compliance with zoning regulations. After passing this test, the owner must meet building code laws. Other laws could determine what can and can't be built at any site. If the mosque is approved by the city site plan then code enforcement must be approved during the building phase. Modifications can be made such as no loud speakers can be put on mosque to comply with noise ordinance the city may have.

Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

Are church bells subject to the same noise ordinances? If they aren't, your going to have a hard time with the loudspeakers.

You are right on with the balance of your post though. L1 probably knew that but didn't mention it out of brevity.

Richard Payton 7 years, 11 months ago

St John Neumann's in Reston Fairfax County Virginia silenced their church bells because of neighbor complaint due to decibel limit of bell exceeded noise ordinance.

Richard Payton 7 years, 11 months ago

Do you have enough money to buy a nuclear power plant? This is why zoning laws exist.

50YearResident 7 years, 11 months ago

Religious Freedom has limits. When a religion urges it's members to become militant and gives permission to kill non-believers and makes suicide killers marters to be proud of with special benefits in haven then it is no longer a religion, it becomes a military group. Military groups do not have the freedoms given to religion. This is true for all religions, not just one.

jimmyjms 7 years, 11 months ago

Hmmm. So basically you're saying that Christianity, going back a thousand years, is a military group.

Brave of you.

50YearResident 7 years, 11 months ago

Good luck with that one........it will never happen.

Liberty275 7 years, 11 months ago

Don't take this the wrong way, but that seems like a bandaid. I think the mosque should merely coexist peacefully without offering what is in effect a rationalization for itself. Their is no reason to associate it's attendees with the brainwashed fools that destroyed our buildings.

Like I said, don't take that wrong. What you wrote is well done and accurate. It just seems too much like an apology coming from people that have no reason to apologize.

Also, some wounds need to remain unhealed. The individuals responsible for the destruction should never be forgiven and their act should never be forgotten.

While I'm at it:

The building of a mosque near Ground Zero really affords we Americans an unprecedented and wonderful opportunity to prove ourselves the carriers of the torch for tolerance and peaceful co-existence worldwide.

That's sentimental hooey. We don't need the mosque to prove anything to the world. What it would be is a fine opportunity for Americans to stand firm on our country's foundation in the face of adversity. The world can look and take from that what they will.

ksjayhawk74 7 years, 11 months ago

Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 11 months ago

What sort of ordinance will NYC pass to disallow the building of a mosque on private property near ground zero? I would like to see the wording on that one.

I agree wholeheartedly that the ideas of religious fundamentalists go against the American grain, including islam and christianity.

However, we do have a set or rights outlined in the Constitution that deal with freedom of religion and a long precedence dealing with private property.

I would be curious to see how the city will stop construction of this single mosque on private property.

jonas_opines 7 years, 11 months ago

Other than a whole lot of "Fear Teh Mooslims!" I haven't seen much of a coherent reason to not allow this. It would certainly make a pretty big PR move.

Not as much as, say, dismantling our foreign bases and occupations, but go with what ya got.

LawrenceBoy 7 years, 11 months ago

I suppose, then, that Leonard Pitts has no objection to the KKK and/or the Neo Nazi's moving in next door to him.

jonas_opines 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm reasonably sure that would be against most residential codes regarding the number of non-related people living under one roof.

Unless you meant the Deeeep South KKK, where they're all related anyway.


/I hate Illinois nazis.

Irenaku 7 years, 11 months ago

LawrenceBoy, I see what you are trying to say...but I think that might be a stretch. Who would you define as a member of the KKK? Perhaps someone who is caucasian, Christian and who lives in the Deep South? That does not mean they are violent fanatical racists, anymore than a Muslim who attends a Mosque regularaly is a terrorist.

jimmyjms 7 years, 11 months ago

LawrenceBoy, thinkin' is a-hard. Maybe too much so. It don't seem that you've had a ton of practice, so maybe refrain from posting the first thing that pops into your mind, yes?

beim 7 years, 11 months ago

And back at the White House Zionist Jews running the show, back at the headquarters of practically every single mass media outlet...Zionist Jews running the show. Ever wonder why America has lost its love for humanity and freedom and now loves to hate so much? Zionist Jewry running this country. SO distracted by the Muslim threat, you should focus on Israel; it’s the root of this countries modern ills.

ksjayhawk74 7 years, 11 months ago

Mel Gibson, is that you? Should you be screaming at your wife right now?

Gareth Skarka 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm sick to death of the "heartland" hijacking 9/11. Get over yourselves, "real america" --- 9/11 was something you watched on CNN.

New York was attacked. You weren't. Hell, most of the "heartland" hates NYC more than Al-Qaeda does. It's "godless libruhl elites", etc.

The local community zoning board in the neighborhood where the community center (which would contain a mosque, and is two blocks away -- and hence not a "Ground Zero Mosque") would be built passed it overwhelmingly (only a single vote against). The protest is coming from outside the neighborhood.

If you want a say of what gets built in NYC -- move there. Otherwise, shut the hell up.

Gareth Skarka 7 years, 11 months ago

Tell ya what, then -- we'll all gladly move out, The Republic of Real America Jesusland can secede, and then you can deal with us any time you want medecine, or science, or entertainment, or money, etc....

Just like every other third-world pit.

Gareth Skarka 7 years, 11 months ago

New York state has more farms than Kansas does, you ignorant hayseed. Other coastal states have plenty of farmland as well.

Y'see, you actually have to have BEEN places to know what you're talking about, instead of staying in your insignificant backwater, screeching about the rest of the world that ignores you.

Gareth Skarka 7 years, 11 months ago

You do realize that KANSAS draws more in gov't funds than it pays in taxes, right?

New York actually gets less.

Really, you don't know anything, do you?

Gareth Skarka 7 years, 11 months ago

There's a reason the "heartland" cities are small, hayseed:

Nobody wants to live here.

Anyway, I'm done playing "whack the yokel." Enjoy your kool-aid.

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

In reality, a Starbucks and a Payday Loan store would probably best reflect America's values.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 11 months ago

....says a typically unpatriotic spoiled-rotten American with a full fridge, electricity and indoor plumbing who completely takes all their rights and privileges that someone in a third-world country couldn't even possibly dream about. Who even make such a comment without having to worry about government officials knocking at the door.

Shame on you beatrice...how about we pack you up and move you somewhere in the middle east where you might decide the U.S.A. isn't such a bad place after all.

I am deeply sorry and appologize for beatrice to any veterans who may read the vulgar words written out of ignorance and/or malice. I thank you for your service...not spit in your face as this vile 'person' has done.

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

Dang, looks like somebody just burst an O ring! I haven't seen this big of an over reaction in a long while. Well done lad, well done!

My comment, Mr. not-quite-Right-if-you-know-what-I-mean-yet-very-right-Wing, was with regard to the over consumption of things we don't really need (Starbucks -- who needs it? Make your coffee at home!) and debt (personal debt, state debt, and get them up and out of their seats for the Tea Party federal debt). The comment was pretty simple, really, and despite your projection and the spittle you likely had to clean from your computer monitor, it had nothing to do with the military, Christian values, the Middle East (or the Mid-West), and not even Middle Earth.

However, for the future, I will keep in mind that any reference to Starbucks or lending institutions that charge too high an interest rate is an afront to our brave men and women in uniform ... somehow.

jaywalker 7 years, 11 months ago

Now THAT is a fantastic column!!! Either I missed it this oh-dark-thirty or it came in later. Lenny brought the good stuff this time after a couple clunkers.

No doubt, let them build. Like Pitts' said, I can understand the pain and paranoia something like this inspires, but it also should invoke the spirit that America is supposed to represent.

Richard Payton 7 years, 11 months ago

Wouldn't it be ironic if mosque was built and Rick Lazio was right that radicial element existed. Then the government could take over the site through Eminent Domain.

bradh 7 years, 11 months ago

It isn't a mosque, it's a trophy. I'm also not sure how you came to the conclusion that the Muslims who flew the planes into the World Trade Center were a perverse distortion of Islam. A third of Islam believe in a very violent version of Islam and the other two thirds rejoice whenever the extremely violent third blow something up or kill someone. If you read the Koran you will see Mohammad was the original terrorist. Some of the things mentioned in this "holy book" are his sending assassins against men and women who didn't accept his message to beheading all of the Jewish men of Quraiza after promising them safety if they surrendered their city during his conquests. Islam was born in violence and as a quick look at the headlines shows, nothing has changed. I haven't seen anything in the Koran about peace, a lot about murder and violence. I'm not sure why so many journalists keep saying it is a peaceful religion.

jaybark 7 years, 11 months ago

The holy texts of nearly all major religions contain misogyny, bigotry, dead-end logic and violence - yes, including the King James Bible. These texts also all contain beautiful words of peace, love, equality and mutual respect amongst all people. Islam is no better and no worse than it's counterparts throughout the world. It simply is. My suggestion is to try to see it for the goodness in it and possibly initiate a dialogue with a local imam for questions you have. Or, you can live your life angry and scared of that which you do not understand because it does not match your experience. Religions of the world can be beautiful if you can open yourself to the beauty in them and in their followers.

bradh 7 years, 11 months ago

All but the misogyny and dead-end logic (that's kind of an odd statement for someone who says they find beauty in any religion) is in the Old Testament. None of it is in the New Testament, outside of how it is being done to the followers of Christ. There's a big difference in being violently treated for your beliefs vs. violently treating people for not believing what you believe.

jaybark 7 years, 11 months ago

Obviously, you skipped those last couple of chapters right before the maps in the New Testament. The point is, religious texts were written by men. Men tend toward wanting to see their opposition suffer (hence, war). So, there is violent imagery painted in each religious text. But to narrow one's view of an entire religion by seeking out and only internalizing the negative aspects you find in its texts is to mimic the ideology of extremist cells who hate the Western world based on a narrow and small-minded understanding of who we are.

Jeremiah Jefferson 7 years, 11 months ago

Only if we can put a statue of Jesus Holding a crusifix on top of Meca

jaybark 7 years, 11 months ago

You've just compared ice cream to Tuesday.

independant1 7 years, 11 months ago

anybody here been to Mecca? what's the qualification for admission?

Flap Doodle 7 years, 11 months ago

In other Religion of Peace related news:

"Update by Rusty's iPhone: just a friendly reminder that Zach is an old "friend" and who was most recently in the news for threatening Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

Zach played with fire and was just torched..


Zachary Adam Chesser, 20, of Fairfax County, Va., was arrested today on charges that he provided material support to Al-Shabaab, a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Gets better....he used a child to try and flee the country..

According to an affidavit filed in court, Chesser, a/k/a Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee, volunteered to federal agents that he attempted on two occasions to travel to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab as a foreign fighter. After he was prevented from boarding a flight from New York to Uganda on July 10, 2010, Chesser allegedly admitted to agents that he intended to travel from Uganda to Somalia. Chesser had attempted to board the plane with his infant son, and court records allege that he brought his son with him as part of his “cover” to avoid detection of his intention to join Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

The court affidavit indicates that in a series of interviews with federal law enforcement, Chesser allegedly discussed in detail how he has maintained several online profiles dedicated to extremist jihad propaganda. These profiles were allegedly used by Chesser to post pro-jihad messages and videos online. These postings allegedly included an article detailing the prerequisites involved in leaving for jihad, which closely follows the steps Chesser took before his July 10 attempt to leave the United States in order to go fight in Somalia...:


jimmyjms 7 years, 11 months ago

"It's a sad day when a muslim can single handedly get "in the year of our lord" removed from high school dimplomas"

Really? I would have thought that the Constitution, being applied correctly, would be cause for, if not jubilation, at least satisfaction.

The rest of your post is too stupid to respond to.

jaywalker 7 years, 11 months ago

Jubiliation? You need to get out more often :<)

Paul R Getto 7 years, 11 months ago

Pitts is right on this one, but the potato is too hot. We are trapped, for now, in the illusion that the Saudi Hijackers represent an entire religion. Our policies in the Middle East drive much of the rage; we will eventually learn how to reconcile, but it will take a generation of educating girls and women and, perhaps, a refusal to prostitute ourselves to our Saudi 'friends' who fund many of the hateful education programs that drive the radical Islamic movement. Need the oil, eh?

Shane Garrett 7 years, 11 months ago

All one has to ask is a simple question. Will this Imam truely offer preaching of American Values or will he stay true to the teachings of Islam and Sharia Law?

50YearResident 7 years, 11 months ago

I would like to see one of you Muslim posters on this forum make a post that says: I am a Muslim and I think 9/11 was a terrorist act committed by people against Islam values and I think it should never have happened! Now how long do you think I will have to wait for a statement like this?

ivalueamerica 7 years, 11 months ago

At the risk of being compared to Merrill.

However, why are you not equally concerned about patriotic Americans denouncing racist attacs on peaceful Muslims who have denounced terrorism? Why does it only seem to matter you in one direction and not the other? Are both not bad?

U.S. MUSLIMS CONDEMN TERRORIST ATTACKS http://www.islamicity.com/articles/Articles.asp?ref=AM0109-335

American Muslims Denouncing Terrorism http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Islam/2008/09/American-Muslims-Denouncing-Terrorism.aspx

Indian Muslims Denounce Terrorism In All Forms http://muslimmedianetwork.com/mmn/?p=2210

Muslims against Terrorism http://www.islamfortoday.com/terrorism.htm

Muslims Denounce Terrorism http://www.changethestory.net/?q=content/muslims-denounce-terrorism

Islam Denounces Terrorism http://www.islamdenouncesterrorism.com/

UK Muslims condemn 'lunatic fringe' http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1554177.stm

U.S. Muslim Scholars Condemn Attacks http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2001-09/13/article1.shtml

Koran a Book of Peace, Not War, Scholars Say http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/09/0925_TVkoran.html

NEW ZEALAND MUSLIMS CONDEMN TERRORISM http://www.angelfire.com/biz2/FIANZWEB16/PressRelease1.html

Muslim World Condemns Attacks on U.S. http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2001-09/13/article18.shtml

Islamic world deplores US losses http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1544955.stm

Islamic Statements Against Terrorism http://www.unc.edu/~kurzman/terror.htm

CANADIAN MUSLIMS CONDEMN TERRORIST ATTACKS http://muslim-canada.org/news09112001.html

British Muslims condemn the terrorist attacks http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/news/news.php?article=1062

Muslim leaders condemn terrorism http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/west_midlands/5111092.stm

Scholars Call Attacks a Distortion of Islam http://www.themodernreligion.com/terror/wtc-distortion.html

I can post several hundred more statements, but if you still pretend Muslims are not speaking out against terrorism, you choose not to listen no matter what truth is out there.

50YearResident 7 years, 11 months ago

Ivalueamerica, good referances, now can you give me your personal declaration of condemnation?

ivalueamerica 7 years, 11 months ago

Well, I am not Muslim, I am Christian.

Do I condemn the 9-11 attacks.

not only do I condem them, I support Bush declaring war in Afghanistan, attacking those who attacked us, or those who protected the attackers.

I lived in DC on that day and heard the plane hit the pentagon and was evacuated from my office only to go home and be evacuated from my apartment.

I know 2 person who died in the Pentagon, a neighbor.

I do not feel the attack was a Muslim attack, I feel it was the attack of sick perverted extremists who used islam as an excuse. I feel the same way about people who bomb abortion clinics, they are false prophets who use Christianity, but do not live it.

I also saw my fellow Americans chase down in the street a Hindu man from India with a turbin because they felt he was Muslim. The crowd was intent on doing him harm because of the attacks..retribution.

I consider the crowd chasing that man just as vile, dangerous and false as those who try and justify violence in the name of Islam. I condemn both and excuse neither, but neither do I hold all people of the same faith, skin color, nationality or whatever accountable for the extremists.

I do not hold Bob Dole, who I consider a great gentleman and statesmen responsible for Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh.

i do not hold President Clinton responsible for Al Sharpton

I do not hold all Muslims responsible for the terrorists just as I do not hold my fellow Christians responsible for Clinci bombings or shooting doctors.

I also do not require that every single time some extremist blames their lunacy on a certain group, religion, or whatever, is that person obligated to make sure they call me personally and denounce it. They are neither responsible, liable nor obligated to make sure you understand the difference between a loon and a human beeing.

Did you come out every single time an America commited a war autrocity in Iraq and apologize? If you are a Christian, did you come out every single time a doctor was shot or a clinic bombed to speak for all Christianity?.....why not? Your own logic says you are obligated to.

independant1 7 years, 11 months ago

I don't give a damn what is built in Manhatten, KS or Manhatten, NY within 2 blocks of memorial monument.

What Pitts wrote about was a emotional issue for some survivors. Can't say I blame them.

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