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UPDATE: On May 25, the New York City Board voted 29-1 to APPROVE the building of the mosque.

Do you think a mosque should be built just two blocks from the site of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001?

Cordoba Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement plan to build a community center/mosque just two blocks from Ground Zero (in the former Burlington Coat Factory building). Earlier this month, the Community Board of Lower Manhattan voted to support the initiative.

Cordoba wants to send a symbolic message that not ALL Muslims support extremist ideologies – that in fact, most support a pluralistic Islam that respects other religions.


-The mother of a 9/11 victim said she doesn’t want to look at a mosque near the 9/11 site.

-Muslim author-filmmaker Kamran Pasha said the terrorists of 9/11 “had no more to do with my faith than the Crusaders did with true Christianity.”

-One rabbi suggested Cordoba build the mosque but use it as a museum about the horrors of terrorism and extremism.

RT’s opinion:

First and foremost, Religion Transcends does not support any speech that tears down the religious beliefs of another human being. Sadly, in this debate, people are slinging mud and throwing out bigoted names for all people of the Islamic religion. One writer has even compared the mud-slinging to McCarthyism. Let’s have a diplomatic discussion, please. Speaking of someone’s religion is like speaking about their family name; you tear down a lot more than just a belief when you tear down someone’s religion.

On to the question at hand: I don’t see how America could disprove of freedom of religious practice. Isn’t it the same as the Swiss banning minarets atop mosques? Or the French telling Muslim women they can’t wear the hijab and burqa?  All religious followers should be permitted (and are permitted constitutionally) to follow the religion of their choice and to practice that religion in whatever (lawful) way they so choose. And anyway, intentions to increase interfaith understanding seem to be well-aiming.

That being said, if building this mosque would incite violence, anger, or further damage to the 9/11 victims’ families, then our system has a responsibility to stop that threat.

The issue isn’t cut and dry. I would agree with the rabbi when he suggests we leave it up to the victims’ families. If the families say go ahead and build, then Cordoba should respect them enough not to hold a celebratory opening day on the same day they grieve the loss of their loved ones. Let the mourners have their space and time to mourn. And let Muslim-Americans be Muslim-Americans.

Created by Religion Transcends, 2010

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