Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Tolerance versus sensitivity in Islamic center debate



Plans for an Islamic cultural center and mosque near ground zero has sparked a passionate debate in New York, around the United States and on CNN.com. Hundreds of opponents and supporters of the proposed center held dueling rallies Sunday in Manhattan.


The latest CNN.com report on the subject has had more than 15,000 comments, and the discussion doesn't seem to be dying down.


Some opponents said the center was too close to the site and that organizers should be sensitive to the feelings of those who lost loved ones in the September 11, 2001, attacks. Others said it wasn't fair that Americans are expected to be tolerant but Muslim countries aren't held to that same standard and some were suspicious of Muslims and the center.


Many supporters said that it wasn't right to blame all Muslims for the act of a handful of criminals and that allowing the center would be a testament to American freedom. Some questioned whether the area was "hallowed ground," as opponents of the center called it, citing the lack of development and presence of strip clubs and off-track gambling establishments in the neighborhood.


Here's a sampling of readers’ comments. Some have been edited for length and clarity:



It's difficult to welcome the Muslim culture when they want to force such a center down our throats when they know it's so sensitive. Another example is the woman who wants Disney to change its culture of having employees be "in character" so she can make a statement with her scarf. I for one do not welcome such people into my country.



I understand the need to remember and honor the victims of 9/11. But isn't guaranteeing a climate of religious intolerance as the lasting impact of those attacks an insult to the victims? Blocking a Muslim community center from being built seems to be counterproductive to the national healing process.



I don't see anything wrong with building a mosque, but if people who live there and experienced 9/11 are not ready for this, then I think the Muslims should be respectful of that and find a new place -- just like they want us to be respectful of their religion. It goes both ways.




Personally, I think it's too close -- distance-wise and time-wise -- but frankly, I think it's more important to support this as a testament to the freedoms enjoyed in this country, even though I personally might not agree with the “when” and “where.”




This has nothing to do with freedom of religion. Many people, including myself, don't care that they're practicing; what people are complaining about is the insensitivity on the whereabouts they desire to practice. I bet there would be zero issue if a Muslim center with a mosque and performing arts wing was being built on the opposite side of the island. Though there are some people who don't want them practicing at all, I'd say the majority of the complaints are their insensitivity to an American tragedy. It isn't wrong in legal terms, but it's morally bad-tasting.



Yes, we also know that the killers were Muslims. You don't eat with a devil even with a long spoon they say. It is a matter of wisdom and civility, and as you know, most Muslims are blinded by the Quran on such issues. First, demonstrate your ability to manage freedom if you want risks involved. No one is against your religion, but most of you people use religion to kill and destroy.



Timothy McVeigh was a Christian, American, veteran, who killed 168 people in the largest terrorist act prior to 9/11. Should we disallow any Christian or veteran facilities anywhere near the Oklahoma federal building? How many blocks away should any of them be so that they are not "insensitive" or a "victory" over the victims? Has this helped you see your racism?



Indeed, there are betting parlors and strips joints that are closer to ground zero than this Islamic center. By the way, debris [from] the 9/11 attack was found as far away as two miles. This alleged circle of "hallowed ground" is totally arbitrary.



Had the forefathers dared to imagine the 9/11 episode in the life of America, there may have been a few exceptions inserted in the Constitution. The location of the proposed Muslim center screams volumes. I reject your passive attitude. America is teeming with historical symbols, which will soon be overshadowed and diluted. Our laws are being challenged by the Muslim movement and will be used against us. Correction, our laws are being used against us. Islam is a religious movement, and the Constitution undoubtedly is their weapon of choice.



Let’s build a huge “Christian community center” in Iraq, Afghanistan and best of all in Saudi [Arabia]. Then and only then I am all for this Islamic community center.



If ground zero is such hallowed ground, why is it still just a hole in the ground? We're just short of nine years since 9/11, but there still isn't a new building or a permanent memorial. That shows far more disrespect than an Islamic center a few blocks away.


These readers’ comments provide insight into how emotions may be driving this debate. Now we want to hear what you think should happen next. Is there a solution that will satisfy, or at least be acceptable to everyone? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

August 24, 2010
Click to view Unknown00's profile

Few questions for the initiators of the project:

1) Why does it have to be THERE?

2) If it's a symbol of peace, why do we feel that's its being shoved down our throats?

August 24, 2010
Click to view taurusgirl's profile

I am fed up with the Muslims hiding behind "Freedom of Religion."  It is a known fact in England that the Mosque leaders help to recruit people for their terror training.  Their recruiting meetings are held in Mosques. They openly talk and rant and rave against everyone that is not Muslim.  The Koran that is shoved down their throats from infancy clearly states to "destroy the Infidel."  Well, we are all infidels!!  When will America have enough.  Muslims come to our country and want to change our laws and implement their own.  Well, I say go back to where you came from and you can follow your own laws easily.  It has been said that the Muslim "agenda" is to go into each country, have multiple children and within 10-20-30 years they will have a majority and can get elected to office and change each countries laws to theirs.  France estimates that Muslims will be the majority in 10 or 20 years.  Already in French cities Muslims have forced some of their laws on the French citizens. I am for freedom of religion when that is what it is.  But we have never in the history of America seen a religion that has people attaching bombs on to their bodies and murdering innocent civilians.  I say NO to a mosque by the 9/11 site. I think we should pass a law that NO mosques can be built in the United States and those that are must be destroyed. Mosques are not places of worship, but a place to recruit new fanatics for terror.  If there are "good" Muslims, let them partake of American culture as all of the immigrants did in the past.  Let them dress like us, and worship at home like many Americans do.

August 24, 2010
Click to view TBevins's profile

I think I would like to know who (individuals/corporations)is funding the project, and who is going to be running it once it's built?  I also would like to know if any Muslims think of this as a victory mosque?  If so, that should be enough reason not to build it there.  On the other hand, if we keep Muslims at a distance, we are never going to be able to get along with each other.  We are a country of freedoms, and one of those is to worship as we want, and be able to build houses of worship. 

August 24, 2010
Click to view dbest's profile

you know i agree with the freedom of religion in our constitution but let's face it, Christians are being persecuted in all ways in this country.  you have this group called the ACLU that is doing everything it can to erase our foundational faith from the pages of history in this country, i.e. the 14 cross's that are to be removed from their spot in Utah along a highway that gives respect to fallen state troopers while they gave their lives to safe ours...Not being able to pray anywhere without offending someone...the church bells are not allowed to ring on Sunday mornings to call the faithful to their place of worship, but i bet we will allow the imam to call out for allah 5 times a day to call his followers to pray.  Where are our rights and where is it equal in this debate?  i bet we as infidels will not be allowed to set foot on the property to use the facilities after it is up and running. Remember that the quran is read by "all" muslims and they get the same message out of it no matter what. Read their faith and understand that they make treaties only to be broken and they hate Jews and Christians....they teach this straight out of the quran... let Iran be the first international view of this very fact.  Russia will never get the spent rods as Iran has other intentions.  Until i see Christians get treated the same as Muslims i remain in protest to this mosque. America better wake-up as the only living God is not protecting us anymore.  Thanks America

August 24, 2010
Click to view LindaHusser's profile

As fair as I am concerned, we can't have a constitution that only protects christians! Why hold the flag in one hand, and rip the constitution to shreds with the other? I can understand the feelings of those who oppose the mosque. But do feelings trump the constitution? At the rate we are going, I wonder why we even allow Muslims to live in this country? Why have them here paying taxes and working for this country if they don't have the same rights as every one else?

We have to tread lightly. I think this is how Hitler started. He got people used to discrimination and hate. Then we he started rounding up the Jews, every turned a blind eye. Be careful. Who could be the next to be harassed and threatened?

It makes me sick to see so many angry people who seem to have no problem lumping all Muslims into the radical extremists group. We are all GOD's children. Even the Muslims.

August 25, 2010
Click to view Dlsiluk's profile

The question: why people do what they do in such situations as the bus killings in the Philippines—is it curiosity? Or what? It would seem almost normal for today’s society, it is because of desensitisation, by reading stuff like Stephen King's books, and TV horror, and going to the cinema with its new special effects—of blood and guts, we are all becoming part of the bigger picture of the Macabre world. The writers and movie stars all say it doesn’t affect us—of course they have to say that for sales department, but if it didn’t have an effect on us, they’d never sell a book or ticket to a move, now would they.



August 27, 2010
Click to view JinnJinx's profile

The biggest mistake Islam ever made in the US was attacking it on 9/11. The second biggest mistake Islam ever made in the US was not respecting the sensitivities of Americans...a second attack.

September 1, 2010
Click to view dajackg's profile

1.) It has been claimed that building a community center for Muslims in Manhattan would be disrespectful to the families of 9/11 victims and America in general.  What about the Muslims who were among the first responders on 9/11?  What about the Muslims who died at work in the twin towers?  What about the Muslim civilians who died in those planes?  What about their families?  How about a little respect for them?


2.) The center will not be AT ground zero; the location is two blocks away from ground zero.  How many blocks away would it have to be in order to not be considered "insensitive"?


3.) There are already Muslim worship services taking place at that location.  There have been for quite some time.  It's private property and it's nobody's business if the owners want to rebuild it.  Legally, those who oppose this mosque haven't got a leg to stand on and they know it.


September 8, 2010
Click to view AmericaCnsrv's profile

Part of what is so frustrating is the President's unnecessary endorsement of the project. He stepped in and put his stamp of approval on a project that didn't need his input.

September 8, 2010
Click to view MM3Faraone's profile

From a United States Sailor.

I very rarely put my two cents into things but I don't understand issue is here.  The American public seems to be swept away by newscasters and politicians rhetoric speeches.  Why must the American public be so two faced and preach freedom and then boldly denies it as they seem fit.  Thats not the country I fight for.  How dare these people burn the Koran.  America was solely founded off the fact of religious persecution.  The men and women who died in the twins towers would be absolutely ashamed of what the public is making them out to be. 

September 9, 2010
Click to view YvPrasRN's profile

I don't agree that it's the American public that is two faced here. It's the American public that is asked to back down in the name of Islam. It is in the name of Islam that the towers were wiped out. It is in the name of Islam that if the American public doesn't back down and allow this shrine to Islam being built into the still open wounds of terrorism, then there will be retribution. Before long this country probably will be muslim anyway, given the silent growth where sizes of families outgrow the sizes of families of other faiths. But this mosque is nothing but pouring hot tar onto the wounds of a horrific event. What should it be? An event of celebration of Islam, including terrorism? The wounds are obviously to deep and too raw to even figure out what to do with them...they haven't even begun to heal. And now they are festering!

September 9, 2010
Click to view MathieuGasc's profile

@Taurus girl.

I m french born and raised, what you say about my country is not true. The rest of what you say is stupid

September 10, 2010
Click to view mrtyfrtz's profile

Peolpe made a big deal about a pastor burning the Quran. but  when they burn the american flag and they want to kill americans how about we tell them let us put a church were they live amen

September 10, 2010
Click to view redtruck1's profile

nymag.com has an article today about the fact that there was a mosque in the world trade center. I was interested as to whether there had been a Christian chaple (I still have'nt found out). Then I found an article by Nancy Youseph, a McClatchy reporter at the Pentagon titled "Muslims already pray on sacred ground". Appearently the Pentagon did not have a chaple prior to 9/11. When the part where the airplane hit was re-built, a chaple was included that is used by Muslims. They pray there now! I'm wondering why I have'nt heard this in all the noise about the NYC mosque and the Koran burnings.

September 13, 2010
Click to view anjli's profile

My birthday falls on 9/11. Unfortunately my friends and family now remember the day because of what happened on that day. Sometimes I don't feel like celebrating when I think of the innocent people who died that day. I really don't want to add ill-will, mistrust and animosity further to the day with the Islamic centre controversy. Can that spot not be converted into the most beautiful garden in the world, each blade of grass, each flower of which will reflect peace? Why bring religion into it, which only seems to be dividing people not getting them closer. At least nature is neutral and same for the whole humanity. Let’s give peace a chance.

September 19, 2010
Click to view artor's profile

The fact is; whether we like it or not Islam has the power to shake the world. The truth is; Islam follower needs a reform. Can we expect the reform be initiated in the Middle East countries? The answer is; almost impossible! Now, the Islamic center in NYC might be the ideal place to spearhead the reform. Again the American here might have a chance to contribute to the World’s peace.

For the sake of sensitivity let’s suggest to move the Islamic Center to one, two, three, four or 30 blocks further away from the WTC; will that matter?


September 19, 2010
Click to view guided's profile

Islam is an abrahimic faith brought to the universe by Mohammed peace be upon him as a continuation of the job done by Jesus , Moses and many other prophets. there a great similarity of faith linking the three religions; judaism, christianity and Islam. muslims do believe in jesus and saint mary, they believe in all the prophets sent by God. it is a religion that is genuine and fresh that came to consolidate the truth already brought by different prophets. so, please, stop looking at Islam as a monster that would kill you. it is a religion that has been misunderstood by some ignorants who want to use islam for bad aims...when prophet Mohammed was alive, he faced those extremists the same way our world is doing. they wanted to be more muslim than the prophet of islam himself!!!so, before judjing Islam and the whole nation of islam , I invite Americans to read the holy Koran and try to undesrstand itq content...after all, it does not kill anyone to read a book even if it is Koran...just read it...it will not harm a single inch of your body, this is promise...trust me.

September 19, 2010
Click to view guided's profile

this is only to tell you that building an islamic center in GZ will be the way to mutual understanding and tolerance between different communities.

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