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August 20th, 2010
03:29 PM ET

To ban mosque is to subvert Constitution

Editor's note: Roland S. Martin, a CNN political analyst, is a syndicated columnist and author of "Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith," and the new book, "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for TV One Cable Network and host of a Sunday morning news show.

By Roland S. Martin, CNN Contributor

"My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total. And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution."

Those eloquent words were spoken on July 25, 1974, by an outstanding woman and fellow Texan, Rep. Barbara Jordan, when she was a member of the House Judiciary Committee investigating the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.

And as I have listened and watched the stunning debate over the potential location of an Islamic community center and mosque two blocks away from where the World Trade Center towers were destroyed on September 11, 2001, Jordan's precise words keep coming to mind.

Read the full commentary

- CNN Belief Blog

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

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Jason

    How would Islam Radicals feel if we were to build a Church Near were Saddam Hussein was killed by the U.S Gov. they would be upset right??? so why are they building a Mosque Near the World Trade Center Aftermath??? This just does not make sense.

    August 22, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  2. Bodhi2b

    Does anyone recall Timothy McVeigh and Jim Jones? Wouldn't these people be considered "Christian Extremists" or even "Christian Terrorists"? I don't see anyone complaining about churches being built near any of the victims or families of victims of these guys. That is exactly what people are saying about the Mosque. Because the Muslim versions of Christians "Tim" and "Jim" blew up the WTC it doesn't mean we should stop the ordinary Muslims from building their Mosques, just as it would be ridiculous to stop the building of Christian churches near the families of the victims of "Tim" and "Jim". Not to mention the victims of the many Catholic priests who molested children all around the world. No one has complained about Catholic Churches near the families of these victims. What is the difference? And because I am neither Muslim nor Christian my opinion is completely unbiased. When the reply from most that "it is disrespectful" for them to build, it still implies that you are considering the Muslims who are building the Mosque as the same as the extremists who blew up the towers. It's like classifying all Christians as "Tim's", "Jim's", and perverted priests. "DAMNANT QUOD NON INTELLIGUNT" = "THEY CONDEMN WHAT THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND" (this comment is a rewording of the earlier comment above in an attempt to make this clear to everyone, just in case the first version was too difficult for some to understand.)

    August 22, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  3. Bodhi2b

    For one to say that building a Mosque near ground zero is wrong is no different than someone saying they don’t want a Christian church being built somewhere because someone close to them died in a Christian cult bombing or suicide like Jim Jones or Timothy McVeigh, or to say they don’t want a Catholic church to be built because they or someone they care about was molested by a priest. The effects of these things stretch across the country as well as abroad so are we to stop building all Christian churches everywhere? It’s ridiculous that people cannot separate or even recognize the difference between the extremists and genuinely compassionate, religious people when it comes to a religion that Christian American’s don’t understand, but when it comes to your own religion you have no problem separating the crazies from the ordinary members of your sect. “DAMNANT QUOD NON INTELLIGUNT” (Latin for “they condemn what they do not understand”.) And just in case anyone is wondering, this comment of mine is completely non biased since, while I am still religious and even though I was born a Christian, I am now neither Christian nor Muslim…I am Buddhist…we American’s need to learn tolerance and begin to understand that to learn about other people’s views can help us better understand our own. Open your eyes. I am ashamed at the amount of ignorance in my country.

    August 22, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  4. heal the world

    Why build a cultural center???? instead use this money for the suffering brethren that have lost all of their livelihood to the floods in pakistan.Now this shows you are truly after Peace & Harmony!!!

    August 21, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      Why wouldn't they? Christian groups do it all the time. No biggie.

      As for charity–Muslims give to charity just like anybody else. I'm sure a great number of them are very concerned about people in Pakistan. I'm concerned for my HS prom-date's family there.

      Just what do they have to do to show you they are every bit as American as anybody else?

      August 21, 2010 at 11:11 pm |
  5. jamesnyc

    This is why we don't need mosques. Sharia law must be dismantled from Islam before it can be practiced here.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/08/20/saudi.arabia.paralysis/index.html

    August 21, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  6. Guest-1

    ...there will be a great deal of heat and very little light created around this and other issues. We have reached a new low in the quality and civility of our national conversation. But there can be no doubt that we haven't yet hit the bottom. This is looking and feeling more and more like a black hole into which there is no limit to how far we can sink....

    There is no mention made above to the 200+ Muslims killed in the same event on 9/11 – It is their religion that must have a representation on Ground Zero.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:04 am |
  7. for what its worth

    You can't be seriously telling people that what we are saying is unconstitutional when if you haven't already noticed that our government has broken our constitutional rights already, but yet when we tell the muslims that they can't put a mosque near ground zero its not sympathetic to their constitutional rights....ohhhh wait thats right they like the illegals have more rights then the american people.

    Bloomberg was right this shouldn't even be a debate because him and everyone else should be saying NO!...Where is Rudy Guiliani when we need him he'd tell the Imam to get bent. But no Obama supports it and tells the world while he's at his Ramadan dinner hahah what a joke, be realistic people is it fair to the thousands that died on that horrific day, is it fair to the NYPD or FDNY who lost brothers and sisters that day and have to see that mosque near ground zero when they go to remember their fallen?? This should not be in debate whatsoever because if he doesn't want to move the mosque then you can't build it plain and simple its a simple act of good faith and if he steps on it then you don't get your mosque.

    The question that needs to be asked to him and his extremist backers is WHY, WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE BUILT THAT CLOSE TO GROUND ZERO??? And of course we already know the answer it's Islam's victory mosque. They build a mosque where ever they have conquered and NYC is one of those areas if that mosque is built.

    August 21, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  8. Jason

    My Question in very First place is why would Islam want to build a Mosque down at Ground Zero in the first place???

    August 21, 2010 at 10:54 am |
    • Guest-1

      Please read by Larry Gellman and this might help also, by Ahmed Rehab.

      My earlier posted quote is from the same ref – sorry, the blog does not take web address as hot links. You shall have to search for these titles in google or other search engines.

      August 21, 2010 at 11:15 am |
    • Guest-1

      Again – the titles were, The Ground Zero Muslim Center - How Low Can We Go?' by Larr Gellman and 'The Untold Story Behind the "Mosque at Ground Zero"' by Ahmed Rehab

      August 21, 2010 at 11:18 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      for propaganda purposes. best way to preach is where people are walking around cursing islam. tourists hanging around bad mouthing islam and they see this islamic center, inviting them in. EXCELLENT PLACE to show them what Islam actually is. To hear about Islam "from the horse's mouth and not the terr orists mouth"!

      August 21, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
  9. Jorge

    As far as I'm concern, radical Islam is putting armies through out our country; this ground zero mosque is nothing but a garrison and when the order is given, they will attack.
    We are infidels and if we do not convert we do not deserve to live.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:50 am |
  10. Keith

    Perhaps Imam Rauf should come out with a public statement in support of Judge Walkers decision on Prop 8. After all, the "religion of peace" could gain a lot of support if they were to perform those marriages in their mosques. Islam IS tolerant, you know????

    August 21, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  11. Keith

    Go to NYDailynews.com. Construction workers are refusing to build it. Try crossing that picket line.

    August 21, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  12. mike

    to restrict a mosque while not restricting a church or even a strip club may be unconst-itutional (thanks Reality for that tip) because you are putting rules against a religion that is not aplied across the board.

    But to prevent a person to build a mosque
    because they have not condem the 9/11 attacks, isliamic extremist,
    because you name your mosque after an event of conquering a church,
    because your peers even in other countries like canada tell you what you are doing is wrong,
    because you did not answer the questions on a cnn radio show as to whether this represents a victory mosque
    because you calm to extending a "olive branch" when your actions show that you are shoving it down peoples throats by not comming to the negationing table with the state as to a peaceful solution

    is common sense.

    but we need to stop getting worked up about it at this point. One story I read if true is that they only have 100k out of the needed 11 mil.

    August 21, 2010 at 7:54 am |
  13. Jorge

    How would African Americans feel about The body of James Earl Ray being moved and entombed next to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lee Harvey Oswald next to John F. Kennedy, Sirhan Sirhan next to Robert Kennedy or Adolf Hitler in the cemetery of the righteous? This is why there should be no mosque near Ground Zero; because it is offensive in a spiritual sense or in other words it was done in the name of Allah.

    August 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
    • jamesnyc

      Bull's Eye.

      August 21, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  14. David

    Perhaps I can clarify for some of you who are ... well "Lost in Space"
    Simplified Ground-Zero Mosque Concerns & Issues
    1. 3,000 innocent Americans lost their lives to Muslim extremists in the immediate vicinity. The location is undoubtedly provocative.
    2. The "moderate" Imam in charge gives responsibility of the 9/11 mass murder to America ... not the terrorists. Furthermore he refuses to acknowledge that Hamas is a terrorist organization.
    3. The Mosque "The Cordoba House" is named after the Muslim conquer of a city in Spain. Suggesting ground-zero as another Muslim extremist victory.
    4. There are hundreds of other Mosques for Muslims to worship in NY. There is no significant Muslim population in the area to demand the need for this structure.
    5. The Imam suggests the Mosque is being constructed in an attempt to build bridges. Obviously this is ridiculous since nearly all Americans believe it to be significantly insensitive to the family members of the 9/11 massacre. With that said it is already evident that this bridge building attempt is backfiring ... Why not relocate? Why the resolve? I find that very suspicious.
    6. The developers have not disclosed where the funds for construction originate. They have already suggested that they will accept money from Saudi Arabia and Iran. Should we allow monies from terrorists to be used to erect such a structure??? Ah ... Duh!
    7. For you liberal types ... Will they allow homosexual Muslims to frequent the facility? If you think the answer is yes ... Then perhaps you should be schooled in the punishment for homosexuality under Sharia law.
    Time to wake up America. Pull your heads out of the sand and see the absurdity of this project. This is just a few brief points. Hope to reach someone!

    August 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  15. ToleranceUnity

    In *America* they first came for the Native Indians,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't an Indian.

    August 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
    • Reality

      Maybe it was because said Indians just scalped your family?

      August 20, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  16. ToleranceUnity

    In Germany they first came for the Native Indians,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't an Indian.

    Then they came for the African,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a slave.

    Then they came for the communists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist.

    Then they came for the Catholics,
    and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

    Then they came for the Blacks,
    and I didn't speak up because I had my rights

    Then they came for the Gays,
    and I didn't speak up because I am straight,

    Then they came for me —
    and by that time no one was left to speak up.

    It is important to note how much we are the same instead of how much we are different...take any two people's DNA and you will find we are 99.9999% the same

    August 20, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
    • Barney

      @ToleranceUnity

      Unless we're talking paternity suit.

      August 21, 2010 at 12:56 am |
    • dutchblitz1

      Nice paraphrase of Martin Niemoeller.

      August 21, 2010 at 9:35 am |
  17. (B)iraq Hussein Osama

    If you think christianity is nonsense, then i suggest you to an in depth study of islam. you may find it to be a much more robust and practical faith. nothing is perfect, but islam is the least nonsensical faith out there.

    August 20, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
    • Reality

      Give us a break!!! Flying chariots, pretty wingie thingies, demons of the demented, polygamy, wife beatings, honor killings, stonings, suicide bombers, beheadings, heavenly virgins, ramadan, bowing five days to Mecca to honor Allah (oil) and a warmongering, womanizing, illiterate Arab named Mohammed!!!!

      August 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      Polygamy?
      what is wrong with polygamy! most american men are sha gging their neighbors while married to someone else. why not award both women the status of a wife. seems unfair, one is being treated like dirty laundry and the other like a princess.

      Flying chariots, pretty wingie thingies, demons of the demented
      its called the unseen world. if it gives you a rash because you cannot see it, that is not enough reason to discard Islam, which is like a vast ocean with many things for many different people

      bowing five days to Mecca to honor Allah (oil)
      i mean if the average American is willing to bend over for Oil (Allah) what seems to be your problem with Muslims doing the same except with their ar se in the right direction.

      suicide bombers
      like a wise man said, a suicide bomber is simply a poor man's F-16 bomber

      beheadings
      one thousand criminals have had their "heads chopped off" in the USA since 1979

      August 20, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
    • Reality

      From- Ayaan Hirsi Ali's autobiography, "Infidel".

      "Thus begins the extraordinary story of a woman born into a family of desert nomads, circumcised as a child, educated by radical imams in Kenya and Saudi Arabia, taught to believe that if she uncovered her hair, terrible tragedies would ensue. It's a story that, with a few different twists, really could have led to a wretched life and a lonely death, as her grandmother warned. But instead, Hirsi Ali escaped – and transformed herself into an internationally renowned spokeswoman for the rights of Muslim women."
      ref: Washington Post book review.
      four excerpts:

      "Some of the Saudi women in our neighborhood were regularly beaten by their husbands. You could hear them at night. Their screams resounded across the courtyards. "No! Please! By Allah!"

      "The Pakistanis were Muslims but they too had castes. The Untouchable girls, both Indian and Pakistani were darker skin. The others would not play with them because they were untouchable. We thought that was funny because of course they were touchable: we touched them see? but also horrifying to think of yourself as untouchable, despicable to the human race."

      "Between October 2004 and May 2005, eleven Muslim girls were killed by their families in just two regions (there are 20 regions in Holland). After that, people stopped telling me I was exaggerating."

      "The kind on thinking I saw in Saudi Arabia and among the Brotherhood of Kenya and Somalia, is incompatible with human rights and liberal values. It preserves the feudal mind-set based on tribal concepts of honor and shame. It rests on self-deception, hyprocricy, and double standards. It relies on the technologial advances of the West while pretending to ignore their origin in Western thinking. This mind-set makes the transition to modernity very painful for all who practice Islam".

      August 21, 2010 at 12:26 am |
    • Reality

      "Some of the Saudi women in our neighborhood were regularly be-aten by their husbands. You could hear them at night. Their screams resounded across the courtyards. "No! Please! By Allah!"

      "The Pakistanis were Muslims but they too had castes. The Un-touchable girls, both Indian and Pakistani were darker skin. The others would not play with them because they were un-touchable. We thought that was funny because of course they were touchable: we touched them see? but also horrifying to think of yourself as unt-ouchable, des-picable to the human race."

      "Between October 2004 and May 2005, eleven Muslim girls were killed by their families in just two regions (there are 20 regions in Holland). After that, people stopped telling me I was exaggerating."

      "The kind on thinking I saw in Saudi Arabia and among the Brotherhood of Kenya and Somalia, is incompatible with human rights and liberal values. It preserves the feudal mind-set based on tribal concepts of honor and shame. It rests on self-deception, hyprocricy, and double standards. It relies on the technologial advances of the West while pretending to ignore their origin in Western thinking. This mind-set makes the transition to modernity very painful for all who practice Islam".- Hir-si Ali

      August 21, 2010 at 12:29 am |
  18. Guest

    Last time I checked it was still Freedom of Religion written into our Constitution.

    August 20, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  19. Reality

    It is all about what is taught in mosques. Stop the koranic teachings that male Muslims should dominate the world and then we will talk about Const-itutional rights. Until then no Muslim can be trusted and the Declaration of Independence takes precedent over any const-itution amendments.

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

    Mohammed could not have known the size of the world, but several passages in the Koran show that he envisioned Islam dominating all of it, however large it might be: “He it is who sent his messenger . . . that he may cause it [Islam] to prevail over all religions´(Koran 9:33, M.M. Ali; see also 48:28 and 61:9). M.M. Ali designates these three passages as “the prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam in the whole world.”

    Mohammed’s successors, the caliphs, quoted passages like these to inspire Muslim armies as they advanced out of Arabia, imposing Islam by the sword upon a peacefully unsuspecting Middle East and North Africa, as I described in the previous chapter.

    Islamic armies, imbued with what Mohammed claimed was divine authorization, imposed Islam by force over vast areas, all the while extorting wealth from subjugated Jews and Christians to fund their ongoing conquests. As I noted, major defeats at Tours, France, in A.D. 732, and again at Vienna, Austria, in A.D. 1683, halted Islam’s attempt to take all of Europe by force. Gradually Islamic forces were forced to retreat from Europe, except for part of the Balkans. But Islam has again set its sights on a conquest of Europe and of European civilization, wherever the latter has spread to North and South America and other regions. Muslim strategists ask their followers, Why do we find in these modern times that Allah has entrusted most of the world’s oil wealth primarily to Muslim nations?

    Their answer: Allah foresaw Islam’s need for funds to finance a final politico-religious victory over what Islam perceives as its ultimate enemy: Christianized Euro-American civilization. So, Islam follows Nazism, fascism and communism as the world’s latest hostile takeover aspirant.

    Nazis, fascists and communists failed. Does Islam have a better chance at success? I believe it will flounder if we awaken to its threat in time; yet, if there is not adequate planned resistance, Islam does have a better chance of succeeding. Communism’s world takeover attempt was guaranteed to fail because its economic policy was naively contrary to human nature. Advocating the rubric What is mine is thine, and what is thine is mine, communism failed to see that human nature will not keep those two balanced propositions in equilibrium. Like a female black widow spider consuming her mate, the latter part of the formula makes a meal of the former, leading to the collapse of any system based upon that formula.

    In contrast, political systems do well if they can persuade people to adhere to What’s mine is mine and What’s thine is thine maxims.

    Only if a strong religious incentive is added does such an idealistic formula have any long-term chance. Even then success will be spotty. But communism (and Nazism, for that matter) excluded religion. And that mistake was the final nail eventually clamping a lid on communism’s coffin. Communism, on a historical scale, perished while still in its childhood.

    Islam is not repeating communism’s mistake. Mating political cunning and incredible wealth with religious zeal, Islam does have a chance to succeed and will succeed unless major parts of the Western world unite to take appropriate countermeasures. But many Western leaders, unable to believe that a mere religion could possible be a serious political threat, keep proclaiming themselves as Islam-friendly, reasoning that all religions are good-aren’t they?

    A Muslim strategist in Beverly Hills, California, declared several years ago, as quoted by a friend of mine: “Now that the struggle between Western democracies and international communism is winding down, it is time for the real and final struggle to begin, and we are going to win!”

    When will people realize that just as there are good doctors and quacks, good cops and rogue cops, there can also be good religions and bad religions?

    August 20, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
    • Bob

      There is no such thing as a good religion in my opinion. Not because they advocte bad or good actions, but simply because they are deceptive and have been proven to be wrong on more then one occasion.

      Look at Christianity. Complete and utter nonsense. It's only religion's tight hold that keeps people's minds trapped.

      I mean seriously, you have God who has an IQ of 8,000,000 and what does he do? He impregnates a virgin with himself to give birth to himself so that he can sacrifice himself to himself to create a loophole in a rule that he himself created. And the way you get past this rule is to telepathically tell a zombie that you accept him as your personal saviour and eat of his flesh and blood. This is to offset the sin of a woman and man eating an apple because they were tricked by a snake.

      MAKES PERFECT SENSE TO ME.

      August 20, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
    • Grondahl

      I'd like to read more of Reality's post, but I can't see around the chip on your shoulder, Bob.

      August 20, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
    • 1234

      I agree wholeheartedly with Reality's comments. The juxtaposition between our generally unswerving goal of assimilation and Islam's generally unswerving goal of world dominion does not shake out in our favor.

      August 21, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
    • bob

      when people stop thinking that the supreme being is theirs and theirs alone , maybe, just maybe ,we can get on with the idea of peace on earth ,good will toward people. organized religion is a power struggle, they don t care about people, they care about who s in charge . stop using GOD as a weapon and start acting like people, and any religion that hold half its people hostage, women, should take a long hard look at itself.

      August 22, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  20. JohnQuest

    I don't usually agree with Roland but on this we agree, we are a country of law we should act like and not the Taliban.

    August 20, 2010 at 3:31 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.