May 31st, 2010
03:19 AM ET

A Muslim voice at ground zero

Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

The United States has from its inception seen itself as something new. But populism—the politics of nostalgia—has a long history here. And the nation’s capital is, among other things, a Necropolis—a site for the memorialization of the dead.

How a nation memorializes the dead matters, not least by revealing what it lives for. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial tells us that the dead are to be remembered by name. So does the Oklahoma City National Memorial, whose 168 chairs represent the individuals taken by terror on April 19, 1995.

The memorials we are now building out of the ashes of 9/11 tell us something about the United States, too, as does the Ground Zero site itself, which is why the recent scuffle over whether there is to be a mosque in the vicinity is a matter not just for the Tea Party spokespeople who oppose it or the New York City community board that voted 29-1 to support it. It is a matter for all Americans, and the questions it calls are two.

The first concerns the so-called war on terror. Is the United States at war with Islam? If so, there should be no mosque near Ground Zero, and perhaps no mosque anywhere in Manhattan or for that matter in the United States.

The second is whether we are at war with the First Amendment. The United States may well be the most Christian country on earth (at least three out of every four Americans call themselves Christians) but until the First Amendment is repealed it is also a country that guarantees religious liberty to Christians and non-Christians alike.

So I disagree with Rod Dreher’s claim that a mosque at Ground Zero is “insane.” And I agree with Joe Klein’s call to build that mosque in the name of American freedom.

But building a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero is not enough. If the Ground Zero site, forever hallowed by those who disappeared into death there, is to reflect American values, the religion of Islam should also have a place at the Ground Zero memorial itself.

Like the Vietnam and Oklahoma City memorials, the 9/11 memorial will include a litany of the names of the dead. It should also include the names of Muslims worldwide who denounce the terrors of 9/11 as a crime against humanity and against Islam itself. These people are out there by the millions.  Let’s gather their signatures online and display them in a database at Ground Zero.

For every right-wing talk show host who says the mosque, if built, should be bombed, there are in my view millions of Muslims who know their tradition well enough to denounce terror in the name of Allah. Am I right? Let's find out.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Culture wars • Islam • Politics • Religious liberty • Violence

soundoff (883 Responses)
  1. june Bug

    Apparently, the individuals who don't understand the true meaning, readings, message of their religion are the guilty ones. So then kamikazee(ing) is not clever. It's stupid, meaningless and, "oh", not original. Individuals are willing to die for what's supposedly not in their religious texts? Who are you kidding?

    June 4, 2010 at 4:28 am |
  2. Jim

    There is certainly nothing wrong with building a mosque near ground zero. However, I can see how many people might feel it insensitive to the thousands who died to place a huge Islamic edifice so close to the site where Islamic terrorists killsed thousands. It's NOT truly an analogous situation, but imagine the response if a Christian church announced plans to build a huge cathederal right next to Auschwitz.

    The author is wrong that, for Ground Zero to reflect American values, the religion of Islam should also have a place at the Ground Zero memorial itself. A TRUE reflection of American values would be to celebrate the fallen, not pay homage to one particular religion so they don't feel belittled or unduly blamed.

    Including a supporting site showing muslims who oppose any use of terrorism isn't a bad idea, but an Islamic wing on the memorial isn't appropros.

    June 4, 2010 at 3:51 am |
  3. damn yank

    it's really sad that people criticizing islam have no idea what a powerful, liberating, religion islam truly is.

    if people really understood the power of islam their problems would vanish because of the spiritual bond that is established between the creator and creation.

    judging islam by the actions of the supposed terrorists and not by the actions of the pios believers is equivalent to judging a teacher and a classroom by the actions of the worst student in the class and not the straight A students.

    i promise you this, study islam for 3 months with the sole intention of becoming closer to God, and your life will change forever. humans need god....the closer you are to god, the happier you become. Islam is the ONLY RELIGION ON THE PLANET that brings you closer to God...

    before i end this post...i leave you with a thought.

    what's the best way to strengthen a nation? through hard work and turmoil. what's the best way to weaken a people? give them anything they want.

    democracy should never be an excuse to be ignorant. you have the power to choose your religion, you have the power to learn, you have the power to ask questions.... but Americans take this freedom for granted, and choose to live their lives as slaves to the propaganda machine that tells them what to think.

    June 4, 2010 at 2:54 am |
    • Jack

      It makes no sense to knock peoples religions because everyone thinks their religion is the right one. I personally think all religions a brainwash. What I don't understand is of all the places in the US to build a mosque why would Muslims choose the site so close to ground zero. It seems insensitive to me that after what happened there that it really isn't the right timing if they really want one. It seems it would only be that important to build it there to muclims if they were wanting it for a trophy. are we really asking that much to ask you to build it somewhere else. It's a big country and a big city.

      June 4, 2010 at 11:18 am |
  4. Joe

    After reading all the comments, I want to say: Shame on you Muslims. Shame on muslims for not condemning the terrorist actions of your religious followers, SHAME on not apologizing to America for the 9/11 massacre, Shame on posting all these polished comments supporting your Muslim religion and SHAME on building mosque at a controversial site. I recently tried to enter a Mosque here and I was stopped and denied entrance. As you jihadist (muslims) know that all chuches are open to all, Again answer me why are you so afraid of the Bible?

    June 3, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
    • NasirA

      Joe: what is a Jihaddist? Do you know the true meaning or you are using it because you just heard on the media? 🙂

      Nobody is scared of Bible as it is no longer a word of God. New testament was written by people like King James ..... who was not even a prophet.

      June 4, 2010 at 12:10 am |
    • Umme Omar

      Joe , the people who destroyed WTC were terrorists. They were NOT practicing the values of Quran. The way you people are coming at the teachings of Quran, it is very apparant, you are accusing Quran of teaching terrorsim. That is so wrong. Quran is all about loving, forgiving, showing kindness to all, irrespective of their faiths, it cannot preach anybody to do terrorism. First you stop making lies about Quran and then we will go forward from there. Muslims have condemned terrorist attacks of 9/11 so many times and they still do. The 9/11 terrorists were truly the worst people on earth, I abhore them, i detest them, condemn them but I am not going to apologize for something that I did not do, something that Quran did not do. OK?

      Secondly why aren't you answering NasiraA? What do you know about Islam and Qur'an? The way you make lies about islam, seems to me as if you have not watched a certain film e but you just read the reviews of the film by someone who is a competitor of this film's producer. It is very obvious to me that you have never read Quran before. BTW most of you people are saying 'Koran'. I am a Quran teacher. I know Arabic. We muslims do not say 'Koran'. We say 'Quran' because there is no 'o' sound in Quran. It is always 'u' sound like in 'full'.
      You should either read Quran YOURSELF in arabic text or read the translation of someone who know arabic. Do not read reviews of people who cannot even spell the name properly. People who change the text and misguide others. people who hate islam and that is why they write wrong translation.

      June 4, 2010 at 5:15 am |
    • Umme Omar

      Shame on you for making lies on islam. We have condemned 9/11 terrorists but they were not following our religion. You have not read Quran obviously because it is all about forgiving, loving and showing kindness to people from all faiths. It cannot preach anybody to do terrorism. If someone does wrong, he does it on his own. How can other people take responsibility for it?

      June 4, 2010 at 5:22 am |
    • bob

      Because Christians wont cut off my head if I make a picture of Jesus.

      June 4, 2010 at 8:26 am |
    • rar

      umme, nasira and all the other mohams. please tell the truth why you are in this country. don't lie and tell me a story of how well islam and usa go together. tell the real truth. you are all here to populate this country and bend it to sharia law. you don't care if it take 50 or 500 yrs to do it.

      June 4, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  5. Joe

    You Muslims, remember you are in the U.S. The Land of the Free, The Home of the Brave. This is the reason you guys are all posting freely and bravely, this might noty have been posssible if you were in Iran or Saudi Arabia. Even if you succeed in building this Mosque, you guys are tarnished forever. Whats stained is STAINED. You religion is false and is misguided. I am impressed by upir bold responses Muslims. Nobody is stopping you becuase we believe ultimately you guys will punished by the laws of responsible religion.
    Muslims doesn't allow Christians to bring Bible to Saudi Arabia. Christians are religiously persecuted in almost all Muslim countries.Why are you Muslims afraid of Christian Bible? Because thats the Real Truth. Seek the truth and the truth shall set you free.

    June 3, 2010 at 11:18 pm |
  6. NasirA

    sanethinker: You have been referring to Islamic terms left and right. I bet you don't have a background on this. Can you explain what is Shariah and Jihad? And remember, if you would beat about the bush while answering, I would know that you are using these terms with ignorance 🙂

    June 3, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
  7. stephen douglas

    Umme Omar, Zaheer Hussain...I want to make sure I understand this: Neither one of you would support a multi-religion house of worship. You would not be able to tolerate sharing the same site with Christians, Jews, Hindis, Buddahists, etc. Correct? Don't beat around the bush, just answer the simple question. Incredibly, not one Muslim so far supports this idea. As for why I am so opposed to it when you think I am a godless person, the fact is I am more open and tolerant than you are. I just don't like organized religion, and again, the building of this mosque anywhere near ground zero is provocative, insensitive, and absolutely wrong. You can build a mosque somewhere else. No one would say a word. Have any other mosques ever evoked such discussion? No. Over 3000 people murdered, so yes, it is an afront to any normal American to put a mosque there. And you have the nerve to counter that argument with a comparison to drawing pictures of Muhammed being offensive to Muslims. Drawing cartoons of Muhammed, flying a jet into a building full of civillians going to work one morning...hmmm, I think the jet thing is more offensive, and you think cartoons are more offensive. Unbelievable. And, no, I don't claim to be smarter, nor do I think I am God, but I do like Carl Sagen.

    June 3, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
    • Zaheer Hussain

      Stephen, there is huge difference between they way Muslims worship and other religions worship. All other religions play music, sing songs, beat drums, chant hymns. So mixing them together is incompatible. Plus, Muslims believe that a mosque connot have idols, pictures, music, etc. So it does not work.

      Now, you need to work on this: Over 3000 people were murdered there for political reasons. It wasn't Islam targetting those 3,000 people. Those 3,000 people included MUSLIMS.

      Islam acknowledges that killing one innocent person is like killing the humanity. Here is a quote from Quran:

      On that account We ordained for the Children of Isra`il that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole humanity: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole humanity. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear (guidance), yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land. (5:32)

      June 3, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      Zaheer Hussain....It does not matter what the reason was for such a slaughter. Yes, there were some Muslims there who were killed. However, Muslims are killing Muslims daily, in mass, throughout the Middle East. So, obviously, there are other passages in the Quaran that can be twisted to justify murdering others, whether right or wrong. So, as far as I and many others are concerned, it was Muslims who committed these atrocities. And, even though you may be a moderate, peaceful person, the fact is there are elements in your religion who have an agenda. And to build a mosque at ground zero is part of a larger agenda being perpetuated by those elements. Too bad, you may be a nice person, but I'm sorry, in my mind your religion is terrible. You can still practice it anywhere in the entire U.S., and as a military person I will defend and protect my country which in turn allows you that right. But I don't have to like Islam. And, again, you are missing the real picture which is that your leaders are using you and all moderates to further their agenda. Building a mosque anywhere near ground zero is wrong. By the way, other religions sing songs, play music, chant hymns, beat drums....sounds like they are having a lot more fun and enjoyment in their faiths.....

      June 3, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
    • NasirA

      Stephen: to your comment about others having more fun, everyone finds enjoyment in different things. If yours is more aligned with others, it does not mean that yours is the best way.

      June 3, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      NasirA...My comment about having fun was a joke. Not serious. Everything prior to that was deadly serious. Read and reply about the important stuff, not the goofy stuff. The building of a mosque anywhere near ground zero is wrong.

      June 3, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
    • NasirA

      stephen: I am not here to debate about the religions as that debate has been going on for centuries. Muslims in US are as American as anyone else in this country. As long as the constitution and law allows the mosque to be built, it does not matter what anyone thinks.

      Secondly, you don't have to like Islam. Islamically, "for you, your religion; for me, mine". What is important here though is how we treat each other. Some of the post written here tells me the real character of the people (not pointed at you). Are we so much divided on religion that we are forgetting: "one nation under God"?? what happened?

      Lastly: if murderers blame religion for their act of killing, are we so naive to believe that????

      June 4, 2010 at 12:19 am |
    • sanethinker

      Is it l e g a l for them to shout AOA and some kind of bandanna with their s y m b o l before they c o m m i t their act??? Is it acceptable under Islam? Also in Mumbai attack the attacker let off Turkish v i s i t o r as they spelled kalima/shahada or some v e r s e to prove their b e l i e f.
      Do you provide only lip service by denouncing it? And c r y h o a r s e when others try to w e e d them out and are b l a m e d as o c c u p i e r s. Why this double standard?

      June 4, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  8. sanethinker

    The answer is simple, if Chenab Nagar the center of Ahmadi followers (who were first to choose formation of Pakistan and made Chenab Nagar as their center) during 1948. Later this was renamed as "Rabwah", Ahmedi were later systematically driven out of faith/nonbelievers, marginalized and now terrorized. Why was all this done, will it repeat elsewhere?
    Is this the political version if Islam, koran in one hand and jihad on every mouth???

    June 3, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
    • NasirA

      sanethinker: You have been referring to Islamic terms left and right. I bet you don't have a background on this. Can you explain what is Shariah and Jihad? And remember, if you would beat about the bush while answering, I would know that you are using these terms with ignorance 🙂

      June 3, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
    • sanethinker

      Nasir, Let me start by saying "my religion is not for sale". I am also not willing to spend my 2 cents on reading koran. From what I understand is introspection of self and struggle of self for the betterment society in general. However not sure which meaning of jihad you are talking about???

      The one propagated by Wahabi, Deobandi, Salafi or Ahmedi, or in some madrasa manual aka textbook in some Islamic countries? If you ask me, Ahmedi one is very mild, humane and acceptable by others.
      The one practiced my many hurts all of us, go to any public place, museum, airport or govt. buildings, you cannot get away with security. Lack of trust I guess.
      The best thing a Muslim country does is lip service ie condemn, what about the violent protest at slightest hint of perceived humiliation against the belief, why this double standard, or is this lack of considering others not worth fighting for???

      June 4, 2010 at 11:49 am |
    • sanethinker

      Nasir, Let me start by saying "my religion is not for sale". I am also not willing to spend my 2 cents on reading koran. From what I understand is introspection of self and struggle of self for the betterment society in general. However not sure which meaning of jihad you are talking about???

      The one propagated by Wahabi, Deobandi, Salafi or Ahmedi, or in some madrasa manual aka textbook in some Islamic countries? If you ask me, Ahmedi one is very mild, humane and acceptable by others.
      The one practiced my many hurts all of us, go to any public place, museum, airport or govt. buildings, you cannot get away with security. Lack of trust I guess.
      The best thing a Muslim country does is lip service ie condemn, what about the violent protest at slightest hint of perceived humiliation against the belief, why this double standard, or is this lack of considering others not worth f i g h t i n g for???

      June 4, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  9. stephen douglas

    My gosh...not one post from any Muslim in support of a multi-religion worship center. Not one. how tolerant is that??? What does that say about the real agenda of Muslims? You would rather have a shrine to the murderers than show true tolerance and solidarity with all religions. I think it is a great idea, first posted by "Neal" I believe.

    June 3, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
    • sanethinker

      I assume it is "my way or no way", this seems to be their hidden political agenda.

      June 3, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
    • Zaheer Hussain

      Hey Stephen, read some replies above. Why don't you erect your religions place of worship (what's your religion anyway? Your name sounds Jweish) right next to it, may be several stories taller? Why didn't you come up with this idea before the mosque was proposed?

      June 3, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      Zaheer Hussain...You seem angry. Regardless, you are ducking the question: Would you support the building of a multi-religion worship center instead of a mosque? It only requires a yes or no. If not, why? Regarding ME building a house of worship for my religion, why should ANY religion be allowed to be the only one within the ground zero area? And what is with the "several stories taller"? Who cares? You guys miss the whole point. And, I guess the reason that no one else came up with this idea before was because no one could have foreseen the incredibly insensitive, provocative plan to build a mosque within the area where MUSLIM terrorists murdered over 3000 people. Does this answer all your questions? Just answer mine, would you be ok worshiping in a center where Jews, Christians, Buddahists, and others also prayed?

      June 3, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
    • sanethinker

      Steve, My best guess is, Build mosque on ground zero, name the city as Yorkabad and declare sharia in US(I)A.

      June 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
    • Zaheer Hussain

      Stephen, you are ducking the question. Why don't you reveal your religion?

      A mosque is for the worship of God. Worshipping others is ignorance, misguidance and a total loss. I don't want anyone to be ignorant, misguided and at loss. So I do not support your idea because it leads everyone to hell. And I want everyone's final destination to be heaven. That's where the success is. You may not get it now but surely you will get it someday.

      June 3, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      Zaheer Hussain..."...Worshipping others is ignorance, misguidance and a total loss..." Well, there is tolerance for you. You and you alone have all the answers. How wonderful you don't want to lead others to destruction. You know, that is so one way it is incredible. So narrow minded it reeks. Ducking the question about my religion? I guess you have to know which religion to blame, so here goes: I was brought up Christian, but after reading the entire bible I was so disgusted by the old testament, I claim no organized religion. I have begun to think Jesus may well have been the greatest magician of all time and that maybe Muslims are correct that it was Judas on that cross. I don't know and more importantly, neither do you. Wow...I have said I might agree with Muslims about something and that Christianity might be a sham. It still does not alter anything else I have posted on this forum. Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddahists, Hindi, whatever – if any of these groups had attempted to start in today's age of information we would not be having this discussion. None of them would have taken off. And the mosque at ground zero or anywhere near is wrong. Period.

      June 3, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
    • Umme Omar

      Stephen douglas, Muslims can pray in any place in the world. A lot of friday congregations take place in Churches all over USA. You are also welcome to come to our Mosques and pray God. Mosques are places of worship and not terrorism. But that is not the question. the question is why you are not allowing Muslims build a mosque.

      June 3, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
    • Zaheer Hussain

      Stephen, Are you too ashamed to reveal your religion? Do you follow something that does not give you confidence to reveal it? Stop ducking it man. Or do you think people will make fun of you? What is it that you want to hide?

      June 3, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
    • Zaheer Hussain

      Stephen, so you do not follow anything. You do not believe in God. So you are God yourself? You are the smartest person born yet? All others are fools? But who made you? You created yourself? Someday something will take your soul that could be more powerful than you. You always depend on somebody all the time for something. Yet you think you think you are the smartest person born yet. Thought about that? That's more important than some moosque in NY.

      June 3, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
    • Umme Omar

      i don't understand, if stephen douglas does not worship anybody, why does he want a multi religion worship centre. What is he going to worship anyway? A statue of Carl sagen? A statue of darwin?

      Anyways, I think people who follow their faith correctly, will always be tolerant of other people's beliefs and practices. They will never insult each other's religious symbols. If people read these posts, they can easily figure out that Muslims are the most tolerant people here. they never insult Christian or Jewish Apostles and symbols of religion. they will never draw their pictures. Muslims are so toerant because Quran teaches them these values of tolerance, acceptance and kindness. Quran is the ultimate truth. You don't want to read it, fine, its your problem. But do not impose your opinions on us. We want this mosque because we want to worship our God. You are also welcome to worship your God, if you have any. Its all about freedom of speech and expression.

      June 3, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
    • Jennifer

      I'm not interested in weeding through all of these comments, but I personally like the idea of a multi-religious center there so all people of all faiths can enjoy it and perhaps learn a little about each religion while there. I do not think it would be wise to build a mosque alone for fear of invoking unnecessary violence. Too many Americans, even people you think are open-minded and logical, still think all Muslims are anti-Western terrorists.

      June 3, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
    • Zaheer Hussain

      Stephen, I tolerate what people build wherever they want to build whatever they worship. It does not bother me. I have said in my previous posts that build a taller building right next to it. I won't oppose it vehemently or go crazy about it or put all my energy on it to block it. But how can I support something which I know is wrong? If people worship other than Allah, I can't support it saying, "Go ahead man, that's a good idea." But I wont beat that man either nor would I hate him. I tolerate it.

      June 3, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      Zaheer Hussain....You just don't get it. This is not about building a taller building. It is not about the right to build a mosque. It is about building a mosque that represents the religion of the highjackers who murdered over 3000 people one morning near the site of their crime. To decent, peaceful, believing Muslims who want nothing but peace, it might be viewed as a memorial of sorts to those who died. However, there is a large element in Islam that will cheer it as a shrine to the cowardly murderers, and that is extremely offensive to most Americans and certainly to the families. It will embolden them. It will keep alive the "success" of the murderers. Go build a mosque across town. Build five of them. But peaceful Muslims need to get it through their heads that if you cannot understand how wrong this is it is because your leaders have brainwashed you into doing their bidding. Again, don't dare bring up Muhammed drawings as offending you. No comparison. NEWSFLASH FOR YOU AND EVERY MUSLIM ON THIS POST: I served in the military, and I would fight to defend your right to live free in America and practice Islam. BUT, I will never agree that it is ok to build a mosqe within five miles of ground zero. Your leaders are deliberately provoking a confrontation.

      June 3, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
    • sanethinker

      Nasir, Let me start by saying "my religion is not for sale". I am also not willing to spend my 2 cents on reading koran. However not sure which meaning of jihad you are talking about???

      The one propagated by Wahabi, Deobandi, Salafi or Ahmedi, or in some madrasa textbook aka textbook in some Islamic countries?
      The one practiced my many hurts all of us, go to any public place, museum, airport or govt. buildings, you cannot get away with security. Lack of trust I guess.
      The best thing a Muslim country does is lip service ie condemn, what about the protest at slightest hint of perceived humiliation against the belief???

      June 4, 2010 at 7:20 am |
  10. sanethinker

    I am proud to be a faithful who believes in universal value in pursue of real happiness, if you will. Or wanted to be called a kafir or nonbeliever, who cares. I never wanted to discuss what koran says, if the fruit of tree is bitter ignore, do not try to taste or even worse suffer from it. I do not wanted to be like few believers and lots of mawalis blindly following them in pursuit of virtual happiness, I mean 72 virgins, river of milk and honey.

    I also do not want to live a life of glorifying something or spending long time forcing others to believe in what I have been told or even worse brainwashed to believe. I do not want to waste my single cent or time protesting for imagined or far off issue which is of no concern to me. I need not worry which direction is Macca or what time i need to attend azzam (place where preached purely political and extreme views about others).

    I know history where people of swat near Afghan were converted kalash people (nooristan former kafiristan, 110 years ago) who are the most violent and vicious among Taliban. The very name Hindukush (kush means kill or slaughter in persian) symbolizes the atrocities committed by them, I think you got it. I respect law of land and not endlessly fight and bring my religion in front of public. There were instance where plague infected bodies were catapulted into Europe by these thugs.

    I am aware religion is strictly private and does not want to mix religion (politics is an art of compromise and religion has no role).

    I am aware of the fact that most of terror inspired by religion has spelled AOA (you know what I mean), the similar shouting during the recent gaza relief supply (no concern for democratic and civil norms, justifying thuggish behavior) and so as the 9/11 ones. I believe they were all (NON)peace loving people until proven guilty (civil society has to work hard in proving these acts), some with box cutters, some with sticks knives and much worse suicide vests.

    Long live humanity, punish those thugs and brain launderers(washers). I am proud I believe in society where people respect civility (trust and faith).

    June 3, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  11. John

    Sickening. All these people screaming about how Islam preaches hate and demeans women. You people ever read the Bible? That book is so full of hate for anyone that isn't a Jew (Old Testament) or Christian (New Testament), and they are constantly preaching about how "unclean" women are or how they must obey their husbands. Then there is the little fact that while the other two spit on anyone who isn't a a full converted follower, Islam goes so far as to call Christians and Jews "brothers of the Book" because all 3 are based on the Law of Moses and worship the same God. From how things look here, if anyone has the right to preach it's the Muslims at the other two for being backwoods barbarians.

    As for extremism? Does the name "Branch Davidian" mean anything? Sten Gang? Sicarii? Every religion has had people use it as a justification for violence. The only difference is that while the "Christian" wackos are too busy preaching and trying to topple governments with a dozen guys and three handguns, the "Muslim" ones are smart enough to get organized and patient enough to actually plan past the first bomb. Hence they tend to actually succeed at attacks instead of either blowing themselves up in a shed out in the woods (which gets written off as an accident) or talking to the wrong people and getting caught. I bet if the "Christian" nutcases in the USA picked up half the amount of patience and organization as the "Muslim" ones have, people would be just as worried about extremist "Christian" groups if not more so.

    June 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
    • Jack

      Hey, you sound pretty hateful, and by the way, I see you're named after an apostle in the bible.

      June 3, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      John....You have named three small groups of extremist nutjobs in recent history, although I am not up on Sicaril. Can you count the number of homicide bombers that have done their thing in the last year, John, around the world? Just one year's worth, John. How many murders? In the name of Islam. Are you up on the teachings at all in the Quaran? It is all 1500 years old, never changed, because a man on a flying horse that had a lion's head told everyone God had given him these words, so they are sacred, and anyone who did not believe him was an unbeliever. What a load of cr@p. Islam had it's start wih a dysfunctional family, and the anger that started it is still there today. It is a dangerous, vengeful, brainwashing ideaology. All that being said, once again, building a mosque at ground zero is wrong, but a multi-religion worship center would be great, a real showing of solidarity and unification not seen anywhere else in the world. What are the odds, John, that any Muslims would push that agenda?

      June 3, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
    • Zaheer Hussain

      Hey Stephen, stop with your lies about "a man on a flying horse with a lion's head." This is another one of your 1500 lies since this blog. You have a serious credibility issue here.

      June 3, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      Zaheer Hussain...No, I am not lying or making it up. Do you really deny the story of Muhammad's famous Night Journey? I could not have created this. It was supposedly a dream, but many Muslims take it literally. Am I not remembering this correctly? Refresh me, but don't call me a liar. Islam is one big lie, and that is no lie.

      June 3, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
    • Zaheer Hussain

      Yes you have lied even when we take the Night Journey into consideration. There is no such thing as lion's head.

      June 3, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
    • Zaheer Hussain

      About the night journey, who told you it was a dream? More show of ignorance and lies from you. More credibilty problem here.

      June 3, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
    • Umme Omar

      Stephen Douglas just hates islam and he posts provocative messages. Anybody who hates other faiths is an extremist. Hate never solves anything.

      June 3, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
    • Jon

      First off, your support for terrorists sickens me. Second, your claim of moral equivalence between contemporary Christianity and Islam is culturally illiterate. If you've read a newspaper in the past 30 years, you'd know that in our secular democracy, violent radicals of ANY stripe are punished by rule of law. This includes violent Christian radicals. Additionally, over the course of many years, a tradition of intellectual inquiry and skepticism has grown WITHIN both Christianity and Judaism. No such tradition exists within Islam. In Islam, ANY questioning of dogma as defined by Muslim spiritual leaders is verbotten.

      I hate to burst your theory, but no great plans to take over America are being hatched by old ladies at Lutheran bake sales. They are, however, being hatched at mosques.

      The central goal of Islam is to spread Islamic hegemony – PERIOD. 'Pluralism' as defined by western liberals does not exist for Muslims. In fact, there is much intstruction within Islam of using western liberalism as a Trojan horse to spread Islamic hegemony (meaning Sharia law) throughout the West. Viewed through this light, your nihilistic 'All religions are bad' outlook is both intellectually and morally lazy. Sooner or later, you're going to have to make a value judgement and stop confusing moral equivocation for complexity.

      Look at it this way: would you rather live in a secular democracy with a lot of Jews and Christians, or in a Mulsim country ruled by Sharia. Unless you're insanse, I think the answer is simple.

      June 3, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
    • Umme Omar

      Jon, who are you talking to? If its me, then I do not support terrorists. Secondly I do not disapprove any religion. Thirdly I read newspapers . Not just american but BBC, Reuters, Google news too. They are all condemning USA for the oil spill, for not signing the coupenhagen green treaty (cut down green house gases by 7 %), for siding with Israel after their attack on peacefull aid frotilla. Which world r u stuck in? Please look around. People, not just muslims, non muslims all over the world are looking at USA with disgust. Lets bring order in our own house and then rebuke others. Muslims are also citizens of USA. lets stop this hatred and work towards making USA a better place.

      June 3, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
  12. Daniel

    A mosque should not be allowed to be built within view of Ground Zero. To do so would incite violence upon it. And the violence upon it would beget hate from not just terrorists but also US Islamic community. Anyone with commons sense and some knowledge of human nature should be able to see this.
    To build a mosque near this site is not only an insult, but a provocation.
    The religion itself is not to blame, nor are the good people who follow it.

    To build a mosque would be an excellent display of our religious freedom here in the U.S. The idea itself is beautiful, that we can share in this diversity.
    But it is not a wise decision to build there, because of the pain and suffering, which is still remembered there.
    9/11 – We will never forget.

    June 3, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
    • Umme Omar

      Daniel for the first time someone is making sense to me. You are right, we should not attempt to do or say things which can provoke violence. If building a mosque provokes violence, then its better to not build it there. Even if the people have good intentions in their hearts, they should still have some wisdom.

      June 3, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
    • rar

      dan do not bend to the mohams this is how they work it. they want to use our own freedoms against us to gain their foothold anywhere they choose beleive me they will all be laughing if this mosque gets built. yea tell them in exchange that we will build a giant christian church in mecca and see how that goes with them right not one foundation stone would be allowed to be set down.we the usa do not have to prove anything to the mohams or the world there are already to many mosques here.there should be no duplication or replication only reciprocity.

      June 4, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  13. Zaheer Hussain

    Stephen, if your jealous about mosque being near the Ground Zero and not your place of worship (what religion are you-your name sounds Jewish), why don't you erect even taller building right next to this one. Case closed.

    June 3, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      Zaheer Hussain, Umme Omar....First I am not Jewish, although it is funny how you think that someone against Islam is Jewish. Nor am I anti religion. I am not even anti Islam. Of the three major faiths, I think Islam is the biggest joke, but that is my right, although in the Middle East I would be killed for saying so. What I am is totally against the building of a mosque anywhere near ground zero. Amazingly, every Muslim posting in this forum has avoided replying to the proposal to put a multi-denominational worship center where you are trying to put a mosque, as a symbol of tolerance for all religions, as a place where those of different faiths can really come together and ejoy fellowship. I am 100% ok with that. How about you?

      June 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  14. Jack

    Umme Omar... With all due respect, Every terrorist attack that's been attempted or done on US soil has been a muslim other than Tomothy McVeigh. His attack wasn't religiously motivated. We aren't just mean people who don't like muslims. I would like to live peacefully with muslims but I don't see how you can live peacefully with them when their doctrine doesn't allow it. When there are few, muslims live along side us as we do but when there are many, the extremist start making demands as to Sharia law, veils, prayer time in schools and work 5 times a day. They seem to want to control. I say you live your life in peace and let me live mine in peace. We only are unhappy with muslims now because they have attacked us and continue to want to. Personally I think Iraq was a mistake but Afghanistan is a result of that government letting AL Qaeda operate against us there. Otherwise we don't attack muslim unless provoked. My point is, we don't have anything agaist muslims if they let us live our lives and respect our way of living. None of us really know who's right about the world and religion.

    June 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
    • Zaheer Hussain

      Jack, Timothy McVeigh attacked just because of religious reasons. Don't deny that. Muslims are peaceful citizens. The terrorists who attacked USA did it for political reasons. Look for political solution for that.

      You need to read about Islamic doctrine (not in the forums dominated by ignorant & irate Stephen Douglas).

      Why does veil bother you? That's somebody's private business.

      June 3, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  15. Zaheer Hussain

    Stephen, you are ivited to the mosque, any mosque, to educate yourself and get rid of your total ignorance about Islam. Tmothy MicViegh was Christian. So we ban all Christians from Oklahoma?

    June 3, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  16. Lamis

    Stephen Douglas,
    You really have no idea what you are talking about and you are truly an ignorant person. You may have read the Qur'an, but you didn't get it. What you say is ABSOLUTELY WRONG and incorrect.

    June 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
  17. stephen douglas

    Umme Omar...I don' t beieve I have used foul vulgar language here. However I believe I have made some points, like why can we not have a multi-religious center built instead of a mosque so people of all faiths could go there and worship. That way , whether you believe in a man on a horse that has a lion's head and hears God giving him revealations; or you follow the teachings of someone who may have been the world's greatest magician but possibly was the son of God; there is a place for all to join together and worship. How about that? See the posts by Neal. Hope to hear from you.

    June 3, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  18. Umme Omar

    Yes Br. Mohammad, these people are not Christians. Nice religious decent Christians would never use the kind of fowl vulgar language they use for their own Prophets. And Jack common you know what I mean when I say 'Islam' did not attack anybody on 9/11. Anybody who attacks civilians, he transgresses and violates basic teachings of Islam and he cannot be called a Muslim. 'Terrorists' attacked our country that illfated day and they do not have anything to do with Islam just as you people do not have anything to do with Christianity.

    June 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  19. Danno

    I always hear about how we need to avoid offending Muslims. Well, OK, how about this? It would offend ME if a mosque is built next to Ground Zero. Do I need to explain why? NO! I, and a lot of others, are offended by the idea, which is why they want to do it. All Muslims are not terrorists, but all 19 of those guys were muslims. So, how about they get some sensitivity to our sensibilities?

    June 3, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  20. Lamis

    It is just amazing how people will just make judgements on a religion due to what the media said. 9/11 was a tragic incident and there were Muslims that died there too. It had the same affect on Christians as it did on Muslims. Islam is a religion of peace and we as Muslims do not agree with what happened on 9/11. It appalls me how Muslims are labled as terrorists due to what happened. You don't see Christians or Jews being called terrorists if they killed people or made a riot.

    June 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      Lamis...No, many of us have made judgements based on reading and studying. Yes, some Muslims were killed on 9/11. Just as they continue to kill each other over in Iraq, Afghanisan, Iran...pretty much everywhere Islam exists. They cannot stop it because of the 4th century mindset many of them have. They cannot live peacefully with each other nor with the rest of the world because they are stuck in the time of Muhammad. You are an apologist and a naive fool. You are absolutely what the leaders of Islam look for, a weak minded individual. Just like Prothero and the idiots who voted to allow this travesty. Go read and study the Quaran and Haddith carefully. The nice, peaceful, moderate Muslims – and they are the majority – are pawns for the leaders of Islam.

      June 3, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.