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August 8th, 2010
10:15 AM ET

Developer behind 'ground zero' Islamic center: 'This is not about the World Trade Center'

[cnn-video url= http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2010/08/08/chernoff.sharif.intv.cnn%5D

Q: Why not have this center a little further away from the World Trade Center instead of just two blocks right there? There probably wouldn’t be much opposition…

A: This is not about the World Trade Center. This is not about a particular location.

This is about a need that exists within the Lower Manhattan community and its need that exists within the Muslim community to have a community and a cultural center. And it’s pretty hard finding real estate in New York

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Houses of worship • Interfaith issues • Islam • Mosque • Muslim

soundoff (433 Responses)
  1. phillip Marlowe

    What's next a nazi learning center outside Aushwitz?

    August 8, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
  2. Joe G

    Let's be real. The world would be a lot better off without us all trying to promote our man-made gods.

    Seriously, grow up.

    August 8, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
    • Jeff

      Go to bed.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • Jeff

      Go to bed Joey your cranky and delusional... night night.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • Joe G

      it's "you're", not "your".

      Thanks for showing how dumb you are though. "go to bed"? It's 12:45 in the afternoon.

      "Think that you might be wrong"- words to live by. Christians NEVER think that they might be wrong.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
    • Tarn

      Religion is schizophrenic and delusional. The severely schizoid will cling to their delusions until heavily medicated or until they have been completely de-programmed.
      The ravings of religious people often show just how deep into it they are.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  3. Larry

    Oh, yes. This center fills a need for Muslims – the need to add insult to the injury caused by radical Muslim terrorists. Muslims campaign for understanding and acceptance of their faith by Christians and they threaten death to anyone who dares make fun of their religion, but then make Christians out to be hate-filled because we don't want a mosque next to the scene of the greatest atrocity of the 21st century that was committed in the name of the "religion of peace."

    August 8, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
    • Joe G

      Christians can not, and should not have any opposition to this. If we want to start telling religions what to do and what not to do, then I'd like to tell all Christians to keep their garbage BS fiction novel out of schools, governments, and hell, even America in general. The Christians religion continues to be responsible to millions of deaths in Africa.

      It's great you're so dumb that you think the death of 2000 Americans is more important than the genocide in Africa caused by religious persecution, but try to remember that not everyone is as stupid and naive as you are.

      You= moron

      August 8, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • Jeff

      Ah, little Joey has finally turned in for his afternoon nappy. Thank goodness he was so cranky.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
  4. Jeff

    I don't mean to be vulgar but what a lick a$$ this reporter is. Instead of asking questions, he should have just politely asked the gentleman to please bend over so he could kiss his bare a$$. Sorry for the disgusting mental picture but this is what CNN has come to. Liberal media that embraces anything that is on the hard left. They consider this journalism but it is, in reality, pandering of the worst kind. The media has a very significant role to play in a democracy; namely to keep politicians and crooked groups in check. In this instance, the journalist is playing politically correct kiss-a$$, obviously pandering to these people. CNN "journalists": here is a good question to ask this guy and don't let him just weasel right out of the question like you allowed him to in the video above: "throughout history, muslims have erected mosques where they have won what they feel are important religious battles; tell me how this is different?". Next: "if you are truly interested in interfaith dialogue, will you allow Jews and Christians to preach in your "cultural center"?" See CNN, those are real questions that you don't have to bend over to get. Try journalism for a change; you kiss-a$$es.

    August 8, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
    • Joe G

      Would you prefer they embrace the Republicans (a party made up of religious zealots, rednecks, racists, and the super wealthy)

      August 8, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
    • Jeff

      No, I would prefer it if they practiced journalism instead of partisan rambling. We have one too many politicians as it is, we don't need them infecting our news coverage.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
  5. Julia Corning

    No one is against American Muslims. We're against the snakes hiding behind our fellow and unsuspecting citizens to achieve their sick aims. They do nothing unless it's for publicity. Al Jazzera propagated the beheading of innocent people because it gave them an audience. I say turn off the communication and don't allow these people the chance to take to the stage.

    August 8, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  6. sanych

    On 9/11 Muslim terrorist used American aircraft to murder Americans and destroy property on American soil. Now Muslims want to use American Constitution to add "an insult to the injury" – to build a Muslim center in a close proximity to the main target of the attack – the World Trade Center. Additionally, the center will be probably financed by the same people that financed 9/11 attack! Muslims justify this center by claiming that it will lead to "reconciliation" and education about Islam. By judging the reaction of American people to the news of the center – the educational part about the true nature of Islam has been accomplished.. I don't think that reconciliation part will be able to start any time soon....

    August 8, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  7. DBO

    The Muslium brotherhood is alive and well. Their plan is to destroy our country and the western way of life from within. Soon the leaders of the muslium brotherhood will try to make sharia law a reality in this country. I would rather not have this country turn into a "european" country. And if the mosque has nothing to do with the world trade center, then there should be no reason it can't be built somewhere else.

    August 8, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
    • Julia Corning

      They did try it in Canada, UK, and France!!! Thankfully they were turned down. It would mean all honor killings would be justified!

      August 8, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
    • Joe G

      It's called freedom of religion. You know, that same law that allows you wild Christians to bring your god all over the place with you and build mega churches to brainwash the masses into believing complete and utter bull sh!te

      August 8, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • DBO

      i don't believe in god, please don't group me with "christians". And yes you are right, freedom of religion... as long as beliefs are not made into laws. Which islam will tell you what should be law and what shouldn't be, and that those rules or laws are all you need.

      August 8, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  8. rudy

    1- Muslims are terrorist.
    2- Muslim community wants to construct a victory mosque near ground zero
    3- Muslims have problem or they are fighting with practically every other religion in the world.
    4- Muslims should be banned to immigrate in to America. They are just like a cancer of the society
    5- All the terrorist in the 9/11 attack were Muslims.
    6- They wants to create more terrorist in the US therefore they are building a mosque near ground Zero.
    7- This is a christian nation and not an Islamic nation we are allowing you to stay here in peace and safety for that you have to be thankful.
    8- no more Mosque should be allowed to be constructed in the US
    9- Muslim should be deported to their own nations.
    10- Muslims are terrorist, They are problem creator of the world, They have problem with all other religion in the world. They are dangerous.

    August 8, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
    • Tarn

      This is NOT a Christian nation. The USA is a nation of FREE PEOPLE.
      If you violate my freedom, I have a right to take you to task for it.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
    • Joe G

      WOW! I'm so sick of this Christian Nation thing. Seriously, read a god damned book sometime that isn't filled with nonsense. How peopel can be so deliberately ignorant is beyond me. GO READ A NON-FICTION BOOK ABOUT AMERICA's FOUNDING.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
    • Steve

      Ok Rudy or should I say Hitler. What you said is possibly one of the dumbest more racest comments ive ever heard. Muslims are not a cancer on society. Its idiotic rednecks like you. You are saying that because of one group that was muslim that attacked us, that makes all muslims terrorists? What about the KKK. They are a christan terrorist organization. So I guess that means that all christans are terrorists. Also what about the Jewish Defence League. The U.S government classifies them as a terroeist organization. So i guess that makes all Jews terrorists too. What Im basiclly saying is that all cultures around the world have radical groups and peaceful groups. Dont judge people because your too stupid and uneducated to learn about people and there cultures and ways.......................,.....BTW This is not a Cristan nation according to our consitution so get a book and learn somthing.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  9. Julia Corning

    We're not going to allow it and have the rest of the Muslim world laugh at us and say, "see, we placed out feet on their necks and built a mosque on the very site of the WTC!". Incidentally, the Muslims did the very same thing in Switzerland, in a small community. They tricked the Mayor into believing they were simply building a small structure. Instead, the Swiss woke up to find a plan for a massive mosque, beyond the proportion of the tiny population. They're notorious for taking advantage of people's goodwill! Let's get pushed around by these deviates who have a history of hiding behind women and now behind Muslim Americans. We know their strategy in Gaza and Turkey, secretly give money to the poor in exchange for their women to wear head covers and a percentage of their boys to fight in terrorist campaigns.

    August 8, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  10. Kay

    If the mosque goes up near Ground Zero, I think protests should never stop. New Yorkers are strong people and should continue the protest with signs daily and boycott businesses that support the mosque. If Muslims wish to be respectful to all people who died at 9/11, they should support the building of a non-denominational center there, not a mosque.

    August 8, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  11. mark from cali

    I say kick islam out of the US. I am sick and tired of it always in the news. America was founded on christian views and ways. Im not being ignorant . Islam is evil enough said.

    August 8, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
    • Joe G

      You're very ignorant if you think that America was founded as a Christian nation.

      It's hilarious that you felt the need to say that you aren't ignorant, right after expressing one of the most ignorant thoughts that anyone could have.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
    • Josh

      Actually Joe your idea that America was not founded on Christian beliefs and values, is astoundingly incorrect and shows your lack of knowledge of this nations history.

      John Adams and John Hancock:
      We Recognize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus! [April 18, 1775]
      John Adams:
      “ The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
      • “[July 4th] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
      –John Adams in a letter written to Abigail on the day the Declaration was approved by Congress

      Benjamin Franklin: | Portrait of Ben Franklin
      “ God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” –Constitutional Convention of 1787 | original manuscript of this speech

      Thomas Jefferson:
      “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” (excerpts are inscribed on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial in the nations capital) [Source: Merrill . D. Peterson, ed., Jefferson Writings, (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 1984), Vol. IV, p. 289. From Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, 1781.]

      James Madison
      “ We’ve staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with all of our heart.”

      “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” [1778 to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia]

      Gosh I guess none of that sounds like our country being based on Christianity and its beliefs and views does it? I must be imagining that huh? C'mon man the truth is right before you, let the facts and the truth set you free.

      August 8, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  12. Jonas Weil

    Just think of building a "highway" across the world called "terrorism". In one location or another, a supporting pillar
    is built. Then slowly a highway is built to connect the pillars (in Saudi, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, etc). Insidious
    (right?). A "progressive" Ottoman Empire (right?). Muslims should be allowed to worship in America anywhere they please.
    All religions are separatist in how they believe. That is fine so long as they respect the rights of others? Diversity is
    good and contributes to the fabric of American life. However, "conquering" minds or territory at the expense of
    "disbelievers" is the worst kind of terrorism and bigotry.

    August 8, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  13. g

    Why do we keep having this discussion. They want to build ONLY to show they have conquered us. They use our laws to try and garner sympathy. The idea that to allow it would show our tolerance does not translate that way to muslims. They are wanting to dominate the same way dogs do when they hump another dog.

    August 8, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • Tarn

      I see a parallel here with our WW2 encounters with Japanese troops. By their lights, to surrender was the most cowardly thing, and the result was some extremely hostile treatment of any POWs. There were other things like that as well.
      If a foreign country looks upon our freedoms as a sign of weakness, it only fools them into making errors on their part. Their views do not make us weak if we are strong.
      If a religious person thinks that "spreading the word" of their particular madness is commanded by "god", won't they try to take advantage of anybody anywhere in any way not specifically prohibited by their teachings?
      This applies to both the Christian religion and the Islamic religion very easily. Both are known to use the most violent means to gain "souls" for their religions.
      Yet people fleeing those religions came to America.
      Our freedom of religion ALSO means freedom FROM religion if that is your personal choice.
      The hard part is making it all work or not work according to what system of indoctrination you received.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
    • Joe G

      put your tinfoil hate back on so we can make sure to avoid you in real life.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  14. Dave

    I wonder if you ignorant sheep understand the building already houses a mosque, and they've been holding prayers there for quite a while? Also, do you know that in the Pentagon, we Muslims have a call to prayer performed daily? There's a congregation of Muslims and prayers held daily there. Why aren't you complaining about that? Or are you just too ignorant to even know that was going on?

    August 8, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • Julia Corning

      I should hope so! American Muslims aren't to blame. They should be permitted to pray in existing building. It's the symbolism of a structure that clearly causes a tension between the collective memory of the people touched by the horrific event of 9/11 and the monied snakes who want to cause a rift between fellow Americans. I say they take this money and use it to further the good name of Islam in the US and launch a proper and respected PR campaign to help heal the wounds.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
    • Dave

      It's not up to you. Most of us Muslims quite frankly don't care at all what anyone else here or anywhere else in the world thinks. We're not here to apologize for 9/11, because we believe the attacks were not in the name of our religion but it was merely a tool for the Arabs to do their dirty work. You know what? Personally, I think instead of wasting billions giving $$$ to corrupt nations like Egypt and Israel, the government here could invest that money locally in this bankrupt country. But you know what? They prefer taking money in the form of loans on which they have to pay back interest to give to other nations. Why don't you complain about the billions being wasted annually before you complain about how we Muslims spend our money? This isn't your tax dollar but our money. Your tax dollar is being blown. Go complain about that first.

      August 8, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
    • William

      "Most of us Muslims quite frankly don't care at all what anyone else here or anywhere else in the world thinks."

      Well, Dave, thanks for confirming my suspicions. That's a completely selfish attitude that deserves condemnation. That's not the basis for mutual trust and respect. Instead, it's the basis for conflict and narrow-mindedness. It will build walls instead of bridges, just as the new building near Ground Zero will do. It takes us all in the wrong direction. But, then again, you don't care about that...

      August 8, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
  15. Brandon

    To call people who speak out against building the mosque racist just shows how ignorant the muslim community is. If you want to bridge 'the gab" why don't you start in your own country, where children are being taught to kill Americans and women are being oppressed right now?! Build a mosque there, teach people that extremism is wrong. Teach them that most Americans don't really hate you. The thinking is really the wrong way here. Its not just ok to demand the right to build something that profound next a very sensitive area. The American people have a right to oppose such without being accused of being racists. In the end, it doesn't matter how you look at it; its really just simply bad taste. If you can't see that then consider yourself the ignorant person.

    August 8, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
    • Mike

      Because for many of the, this is their own country. Being muslim doesn't mean you weren't born in the USA.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • Joe G

      Brandon= redneck, racist moron. He's so dumb he doesn't even understand WHY we think he's dumb.

      Stop going to church. It's just a brainwashing facility. I mean, can't you see that?

      August 8, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
  16. Julia Corning

    The Jews openly condemn repulsive and abhorrent actions, the Christians and Buddhists do likewise in a collective voice. Why don't we hear that from muslims? Where are the condemnations fromTurkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Saudi, etc, even from American Muslims?!

    August 8, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
    • g

      They will never condemn, only rejoice over accts of brutality to the west.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • Joe G

      MORON'S! After 9/11 just about every country condemned the attacks. Just becuase you're stupid doesn't mean that what you are saying is true.

      Seriously. If you know nothing then just shut up.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  17. Kay

    Islamic regions don't allow Christian churches to build or worse, they treat non-Muslims second class. America has always allowed Muslims to worship but building near Ground Zero is blantant disrespect. Muslims should be ashamed of yourself. You should be ashamed of yourself for having no respect for people who died there by terrorists.

    August 8, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
    • Sosie

      I totally agree with your point. I wonder how countries like Saudi Arabia will not allow a church or a synagogue to be built. Other religions are not accepted or respected. These are the same people who come here in the United States and advocate to build a mosque where islamic terrorists kill thousands of innoccent people, children women and men. Moslems who are advocting to build the mosque are trying to repeat what Salah Al din did in Jerusalem. He destroyed the temple and built the great Al Aqsa mosque on the site. This is the same. The mosque will be a reminder to the victory of islam over the "infidels", and the rise of the future caliphate in the western world.

      August 9, 2010 at 1:53 am |
  18. dwight huth

    The Islamic Center does not fill a need for the Muslim community. The only need that the center fills is the need of those who wish to continue the strife here in America between Mislims and non Muslims so that hate will be fostered and the war to be continued in the Middle East so that the developers can build their empire. I think the developer's should be brought up on charges of conspiring with a terrorist element. The only people that are siding with this project are the Islamist's who want to spit in the face of those who died on 9.11.01 and those that have fought and died keeping the terrorists from attacking America again. The developers behind this plot need to have their credentials checked to the very marrow of the people that are part of the development firm. No American in their right mind would allow such a monumnet or building connected to the same enemy that killed fellow American citizens. Since the purpotraitor's of the building have been insensitive to Ground Zero and have not moved their mosque then the situation is quite clear that the Islamist's who are not Muslim's DO in fact and intend to generate contraversy towards Islam so that American's will continue to hate all Muslim's. I wonder if the West Burrow Baptist Church is involved with this move as well seeing how they like spitting on dead American solider's I wouldn't be suprised if they would also want to spit on the dead at Ground Zero. Because that is exactly what is occuring here Islamist's and those that hate America using the greed of capitilism to rub in America's face that they brought down the WTC and are now building a religious center by the same location that their belief's brought down.

    August 8, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
    • Mike

      @dwight huth

      "No American in their right mind would allow such a monumnet or building connected to the same enemy that killed fellow American citizens." – Completely false, you should really educate yourself. The Byodo-In Temple is a replica of a 900 year old temple in Kyoto, Japan. It is located close to the site of the attack in Oahu.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  19. Julia Corning

    Indeed, free does not mean to walk all over us and our values and expect us to remain complacent. Keep that in mind the next time you read that an American doctor was executed in Afghanistan just for being an American! These people hate our very essence and will infiltrate our society like a cancer and try to destroy us from within. Being vigilant is prudent, walking with a stick is better, and not turning the other cheek is even better.

    August 8, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
    • Dan

      I fear that Islam in the US does not fully comprehend the suppressed, frustrated anger that lies below the surface waiting to explode in this county. In my 63 years I've never heard so much discontent and anger with so many people willing to take up arms, it is scary. To build a building that will increase hatred and anger seems insane.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • g

      And that is the truth.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
    • Josh

      Dan. I think your right it is pretty much indicative of dangling the slab of meat in your hand while standing a few feet from the lion comes to mind.

      August 8, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  20. Julia Corning

    It's a matter of good taste, nearly three thousand Americans and other nationals died a horrific and senseless death because of crazed and confused idiots in the name of Allah. Whether the Muslim community likes it or not, that IS their problem and the optics are a PR nightmare for them. They remain silent about terrorism in the name of Islam, they remain silent when people are beheaded, when women are stoned, when the Talibans make medieval-like proclamations. Only when they rise up in a united voice and ACTIVELY condemn these barbaric acts and tactics will they earn the right of not being viewed as intentionally complacent. The timing and location of this centre is suspect, almost an insult to the collective memory of the victims and their families and an outright in-your-face "I dare you to do anything because the very laws that founded your Nation will be used against you and there's nothing you can do about it". Well actually there is, unlike most oppressed nations and religions, we do rise in a united voice and condemn injustice, blatant arrogance, and anyone that appears to be snubbing their noses at us.

    August 8, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
    • Mike

      Bu they have the right to do it. This is still the land of the free.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
    • Dave

      Actually, I'm a tax paying U.S. born Muslim. I have a right to build a Mosque at any location if I own that property. I could care less for what the Iranians do to stone women. It's their nation. They deal with it. When their people are fed up enough with it, they'll have a revolution. You do not have the right to take away my rights based on what some oppressive freaks are doing on the other side of the world. Their views have nothing to do with religion. It's about power to control others. They took 8 century Arab traditions and came up with this concept of Sharia where basically the rulers said, "Hey... if we tell the masses they better follow our rules or burn in hell, maybe we can force them to live under our tyranny." And so they took Islam and said, "Hey, you better follow Sharia or you're a devil worshipper" etc.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
    • Dan

      Dave, very well said.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
    • Otto

      What timing are you talking about? It's been a long time since the 9/11 attacks, so how much time is appropriate? 10 years, 20 years, 100 years? And the location is not at ground zero, but two blocks north of it. Do you know how far a city block stretches in NYC? Pretty far. And NYC is one of the most multicultural places on the planet, so their institution- rather than sticking out like a sore thumb- will just blend into the scene with all the other religious places in NYC. Besides, good taste is not enough of a reason to abdicate the civil rights of Americans and their right to assemble. There is no law against it, so there is not point arguing against it unless you are for banning all religious institutions from being built there- that would actually make more sense, since religion on both sides has gotten us into this entire mess in the first place.

      I am not muslim, nor do I believe in any of their nonsense (or Christian or Jewish nonsense for that matter). But unless you are willing to go all the way and ban religious buildings altogether, you are being hypocritical in your opposition to this site.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • Joe G

      millions have died because of the christian church worldwide. Does that mean that we should ban it from every country?

      If that's your point, then I agree.

      stuffobamalikes.com

      August 8, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
    • Ron

      Unfortunately, the focus is solely on rights and not responsibilities. The responsible thing is to build the mosque elsewhere.

      August 8, 2010 at 7:25 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.