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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. Ron2158530

    Hi Friends,

    Islam is a violence ideology, not a religion. There is no peace teaching in Quran/Koran, all about killing and barbaric acts. Visit http://WWW.FAITHFREEDOM.ORG about the truth about islam. I hope someday islam will be peacefuly vanished by educating our fellow muslims about this satanic teaching. The earth life will be like heaven once islam is gone forever.

    peace to mankind,
    Ron

    August 8, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  2. CNJ

    No better example of 'Worship at the Mosque today, kill tomorrow' is found below:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1225627/Fort-Hood-shootings-Army-major-Nidal-Malik-Hasan-kills-12-injures-31-shootout-troops-army-base.html

    August 8, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  3. FrankLW

    Actually, the “religious leader” of the center, the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, rather than “building bridges”, seems to be a fundamentalist Muslim interested in burning them. After 9/11 he said “United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened” (providing an indefensible rationale for the terror and abetting yet more terror), and he refuses to condemn the mass murdering Hamas terror organization that targets civilians and celebrates their murder (which means he IS condemning their victims).

    Also – regardless of claims of “building bridges” by the center’s founders, fundamentalist Muslims can only read such a center as being yet another victory monument, and this will serve to embolden wannabe terrorists – aside from providing them food and shelter when they make their celebratory pilgrimages to Ground Zero and plot their next atrocities.

    Such a center has no place in America or anywhere else for that matter – and certainly NOT near Ground Zero of all places/

    August 8, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
    • acl812

      i dont believe you, state your sources, don't just make statements. i live in NY where do you live? ? Kansas? Your opinions are closed minded and racist, being the victim of an attack does not give you the right to just disrespect a religion, or make broad statements about that religion that are false, and suppose that fundamentalist muslims will view the center as a victory. Actually, the terrorists want all muslim americans to suffer also for dealing with America, those terrorists use religion as a delivery method to their hate, just as corrupt christians have done throughout time, That doesn't mean the religion itself is the problem or that muslims are the problem. Have you ever read the Qur'an cover to cover? How many muslims do you know? Are they sunni or shia? what is the difference? If you don't know the answer to these questions, don't be lazy do some independent research on your own to learn, not from some website or media outlet. but inform yourself before you speak.

      August 9, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  4. Steve

    This is an atrocity. Plain and simple.

    August 8, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  5. Knight Templar

    Let them build the mosque. Then you know where to find them when you want to round them up.

    August 8, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  6. dino

    9/11 was one of the political conspiracies which usa has been doing for years, to sell its weapons, to loot oil rich middle east countries and to showup as the guardian of the earth , those innocent three thousand souls are the real martyrs and victim of america's foriegn policy.

    August 8, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  7. Mustafa

    It is sad to see the islamicphobic comments on this blog against against Muslims and Islam. Lumping all of us into the extremists camp only plays into the hand of the extremists. This vile and evile generalization is no differernt that what Nazi's did to the Jews. Please finf some reason for hope and peace with your fellow American Muslims. The Mosque in NewYork will be a symbol of American religious tolerance and build bonds of trust and friendship between all communities.

    August 8, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
    • Sparky

      Religious tolerance? So there will also be a Synagogue, Church, Buddha center, Hindu center all under the same roof?

      August 8, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
    • g

      What is sad is the muslim world wanting to destroy everything that is not muslim. We in the west have formed our opinions based on your behaviour–get it? So call it islamaphobia or whatever, but you hate and are intolerant of everything. And if you wnt to continue the same useless rant, go ahead, no one except your fellow muslim haters believes you. And I'm bored and signing off.

      August 8, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
    • William

      Mustafa, thanks for posting. I agree with your plea about hope and peace. However, respectfully, can you see how the decision to build in this location is a hindrance to understanding?

      August 8, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
  8. JustMy2Cent

    I hate all Islam and muslims. I hate them for all they stand for. I'll hate them forever. I don't believe there are such things as peaceful muslims (no capitalizations). I believe there are no innocent muslims. I give every muslim person I see a dirty look and if given the chance I'll tell them what I think of them. Not christian you might say? Exactly! I am not a christian either. Athiest. But at least the christian, hindu, jewish, buddist religion are not blowing up everyone who disagrees with them. Yes perhaps in the past it was as bad as the muslims but they learned the muslims will NEVER learn.

    Allah isn't worth the dog crap off the bottom of my foot and I'll wipe my behind with the pages of the Koran!

    August 8, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
    • PeterM

      You go around giving people you don't know dirty looks? You have got some serious issues that need to be addressed by a licensed psychiatrist, IMO.
      I'm not defending any religious group here, I'm defending everybody who might ever come in contact with you and people like you.
      In terms of social interaction with other human beings, you FAIL. Quit falling for all the BS that's out there.

      August 8, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
    • William

      Just, if you were to meet real muslims and see the faces of real people, my hope is that you would feel otherwise. Not everyone in the muslim community matches the label or caricature that is so common on America. I too have MAJOR concerns about building on such a sensitive site, be we become just as disrespectful as the builders are when we spew this type of foolishness.

      August 8, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  9. big picture

    If Sharif El-Gamal announced instead that the plan for the mosque at that location was cancelled out of respect for the strong feelings generated against it, it would have done so much for the Muslim image in this country. It would have shown a decency and a sensitivity towards all those still grieving from 9/11. Instead, one wonders if there is an underlying plan for creating all this controversy. It's not like there are no mosques in Manhattan – I read that there are nine – three of them already termed 'cultural centers'. So why this particular site at this particular time? If there is enough antagonism towards it, it is possible it, too, will be destroyed and then what? Can you imagine the chaos in the aftermath? One wonders.

    August 8, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  10. J

    Americans are stupid. Just like Psuedusecular Indians who in an 88% Hindu nation allow Muslims to get away with bloody murder in a Hindu country. In Islamic countries, they do not even entertain freedom of religion for anyother religions. you couldn't ever do the same in any of their countries what they demand in ours. Their tendancy is to always cry foul when others do to them what they have been doing to others for centuries. That's why i don't believe that muslims should ever be given any slack. When given an inch they will take a mile. A matter of fact, i think there is some verse to that effect in the quoran of taking a suservient position until numbers get stronger, and then start raising hell.

    August 8, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
  11. Sparky

    Simple solutions
    1) If Muslims want to "build a bridge" "bridge the gap" (how ever you want to say it)...have a Mosque, Synagogue, Church, Buddha center all under the same roof.
    2) If the Muslim religion is so peaceful, understand the pain involved and build JUST a community centre.....no religious overtones what's so ever.

    Finally, if the Muslims think everyone who is against the building of a Mosque at ground zero is a bigot/racist/Islamophobes (Love this one), answer me this.....God forbid, if a plane was flown into the Mosque at the temple mount by a radical Christian group, would you let Christians build a church on the temple mount with a Mosque in the name of "Bridging a gap between religions"?

    August 8, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  12. Shange

    Expecting rational thought from irrational people, fueled by superstitious ideologue that has fostered century upon century of hate, war, genocide, crime, torture, infanticide and information hording/disinformation....and that's just the Christians, throw the powder keg that is Muslims zealotry matching it tome for tome in it's soulless-impenitent-destructive nature into the mix, with some fancy gun powder......well, lmao.

    August 8, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  13. Uncle Beasley

    The Developer? They are interviewing a developer and expecting to get an honest answer?

    Follow the money. Pretty much any developer will do whatever he can to maximize his own profits. No, to him, it's not about the World Trade Center. It's not about religion at all. It's about lining his pockets.

    I would like to believe that this is really an innocent community center. But, I can't. I see it only as an investment in building a future recruiting center for more disturbed, violent young men to further the criminal plans of Islamic extremists.

    August 8, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  14. Laura J

    For a view from a respected paper who does not support the Cordoba Center and some interesting history on the name choice: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/aug/5/radical-islams-conquest-of-america/

    Wake up America

    August 8, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
    • PeteM

      If you like the Washington Times, can "I" suggest that you check up on who started it and owns it?
      I do not respect it. I have read different copies over the years, thanks to a crazy relative who had a subscription.
      It is a rag, IMO.

      August 8, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  15. g

    Thousands of muslims did not die on 9/11, at least not at the WTC. The ones that did die piloted the planes. Do you regularly drink bong water? And they are the cause of the global muslim reputation.

    August 8, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  16. Corey

    May Allah give victory to the Bill of Rights and to the Islamic center over ignorance and prejudice.

    August 8, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  17. Jeff

    Did anyone else detect a little smurk behind the muslim dude's attempt at acting sincere? He knows if this thing happens it will glorify those that terrorized thousands of Americans that day. He knows it will be another slap in the face to this country that he sees as in need of their sick and twisted belief system. And it will be a big win for these people around the world who wish the demise of this nation. Wake up America, next it will be you, stand up, don't be afraid of them. The only power they have is fear. Fear is hollow and without substance. They put on this phony sympathetic face because it is permissable for them to do so according to their vile teachings. What they really, truly, deep down, desire is for you and your family to suffer; and to suffer terribly. They are wolves in sheeps clothing of the foulest kind. Their core is to deceive until they have you were they have a leg up and then its too late. What do you want for your children? What legacy do you want to leave? As for me, my days of sitting on the sidelines are over, here on out I'm kicking some @ss!!!

    August 8, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  18. Jeff

    Did anyone else detect a little smurk behind the muslim dude's attempt at acting sincere? He knows if this thing happens it will glorify those that terrorized thousands of Americans that day. He knows it will be another slap in the face to this country that he sees as in need of their sick and twisted belief system. And it will be a big win for these people around the world who wish the demise of this nation. Wake up America, next it will be you, stand up, don't be afraid of them. The only power they have is fear. Fear is hollow and without substance. They put on this phony sympathetic face because it is permissable for them to do so according to their vile teachings. What they really, truly, deep down, desire is for you and your family to suffer; and to suffer terribly. They are wolves in sheeps clothing of the foulest kind. Their core is to deceive until they have you were they have a leg up and then its too late. What do you want for your children? What legacy do you want to leave? As for me, my days of sitting on the sidelines are over, here on out I'm kicking some @ss!

    August 8, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  19. Laura J

    Dave, so if a group of Israeli terrorists blow up the Al Aqsa Mosque, you have no problem with another group of Jews building the Temple within the Haram El Sharif while you rebuild the Mosque? yeah right.

    August 8, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  20. RJS

    For the record, most reliable sources report that approximately 75% of Americans are of the Christian religion. Further, geographical (total nations worldwide) that statistic is roughly unchanged. So, for this discussion, it appears correct to say that America is a Christian nation.

    August 8, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
    • Tarn

      "It appears correct" is your opinion. The USA is a nation of FREE PEOPLE, including people who are not Christian.
      The USA is based upon the Constitution and the willingness of the people to follow the supreme law of the land.
      You "appear" to be mistaken.

      August 8, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
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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.