Moral Outrage
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The aversion to proposed Muslim center near Ground Zero

At first, the proposal to build the 12-story facility two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center aroused scant disapproval. It was even welcomed as an opportunity to reaffirm America as a land of tolerance and reclaim Islam as a religion of moderation.

The group behind the project, Cordoba House, pitched the facility (which would include restaurants, bookstores, art exhibits, a pool, auditorium, and prayer space) as a means of bridging divides between faiths. Its board of directors draws from various faiths, and its mission statement promotes intercivilizational understanding.

New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, threw his support behind the project and hailed religious freedom as part of “what is great about America.” The local Community Board gave the plan its blessings in a 29-1 vote. Several Jewish and Christian leaders associated with interfaith groups also voiced their support.

But as the news spread, the mood soured. National conservative leaders railed against the idea.

And perception becomes reality. The more the country comes to believe in paranoid lies about Muslims, the more easily it will slip to its natural conclusion: “If Muslims are too dangerous to be praying at Ground Zero, why should they be allowed to pray in my neighborhood, either?”

The message to Muslims is clear: “No matter what you do, or what you say, you will never be one of us and you will always be one of them.”

[Read full article]


4 Responses to “The aversion to proposed Muslim center near Ground Zero”

  1. Amy Goodman, host of “Democracy Now!” comments:

    On the controversy around the proposed Islamic community center, slated to be built at 51 Park Place in lower Manhattan: The facility is not, for the record, a mosque. And it is not at Ground Zero (it’s two blocks away). The Cordoba Initiative, the nonprofit group spearheading the project, describes it as a “community center, much like the YMCA or the Jewish Community Center … where people from any faith are allowed to use the facilities. Beyond having a gym, the Cordoba House will house a pool, restaurant, 500-person auditorium, 9/11 memorial, multifaith chapel, office and conference space, and prayer space.”

    “Does anyone seriously say that there shouldn’t be a Christian church near the site of the Oklahoma City bombing, just because Timothy McVeigh was a Christian?

    “People who are against hate are not a fringe minority, not even a silent majority, but are a silenced majority. They are silenced by the chattering classes, who are driving this debate throughout the media.

    “When I asked Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, which is a partner in the proposed community center, if she feared for herself, for her children or for Muslims in New York, she replied, “I’m afraid for my country.”

  2. Another interesting footnote on the man behind the plan for this undertaking, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf:

    Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is presently in the Middle East —- on his fourth trip sponsored by the U.S. government! His 15-day tour to Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates is intended to promote religious tolerance.

    P.J. Crowley, a State Department official, recently commented on Imam Rauf , “We value his participation as a religious figure here in the United States who can help people overseas understand the role that religion plays in our society.”

  3. Turns out the coalition leading the charge against the “Ground Zero mosque” appears to be funded by a major neo-conservative advocacy group, with deep-pocketed donors, and extensive connections to the conservative establishment.

    Their website is registered to the Center for Security Policy, a neo-conservative think tank and advocacy group run by Reagan defense official and far-right hawk Frank Gaffney. It is tied to a network of big-time right-wing funders.

    Gaffney himself has a long history of advocating outrageous and bigoted positions about Islam, and has repeatedly questioned President Obama’s birthplace and religion.

  4. […] Simon Wiesenthal Center to be built on Muslim cemetery A coalition of four Jewish groups, backed by a wide array of peace and justice organizations, held a demonstration outside the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in New York, denouncing the organization’s opposition to the Islamic community center in lower Manhattan. […]

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