home
RSS
August 25th, 2010
11:07 AM ET

New York's Bloomberg: We are all Muslims

Editor's Note: 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

In a smart commentary on the shrill Republican silence in the face of the "Obama is a Muslim" nonsense, Slate’s John Dickerson wrote that "with so much traffic on the low road in American politics, you'd imagine a politician or two might take the high road simply to beat the congestion."

Well, New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg continues to take the road less traveled.

We are now in the Islamic holy month of fasting called Ramadan, and Bloomberg hosted last night an annual iftar, or fast-breaking dinner, at Gracie Mansion.

In his his remarks, Bloomberg, who has previously supported the Park51 project in the name of both property rights and religious freedom, once again spoke truth to fear and hatred. He admitted that “there are people of good will on both sides of the debate." He acknowledged that the World Trade Center site is "hallowed ground." And he observed that “there are people of every faith–including, perhaps, some in this room–who are hoping that a compromise will end the debate.”

“But it won’t,” he said.

The community center can and must be built at the Park51 site, he said. Anything less would “compromise our commitment to fighting terror with freedom."

During his remarks, Bloomberg welcomed Talat Hamdani, whose son, Salman Hamdani, a paramedic and Ne York City Police Department cadet, died on 9/11. He also welcomed Sakibeh and Asaad Mustafa, whose children, he said, “have served our country overseas.”

Bloomberg brought home the point that the propaganda war now being waged on Islam in America threatens to undercut our counterinsurgency battle for "hearts and minds" in Iraq and Afghanistan.  “If we do not practice here at home what we preach abroad–if we do not lead by example–we undermine our soldiers,” he said. “We undermine our foreign policy objectives. And we undermine our national security."

Bloomberg ended his talk by quoting some words from the embattled Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf:

At an interfaith memorial service for the martyred journalist Daniel Pearl, Imam Rauf said, ‘If to be a Jew means to say with all one's heart, mind, and soul: Shma` Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ehad; Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one. If to be a Christian is to love the Lord our God with all of my heart, mind and soul, and to love for my fellow human being what I love for myself, then not only am I a Christian, but I have always been one.'

“In that spirit," Bloomberg concluded, in words that echoed John F. Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, "let me declare that we in New York are Jews and Christians and Muslims, and we always have been. And above all of that, we are Americans, each with an equal right to worship and pray where we choose. There is nowhere in the five boroughs that is off limits to any religion."

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Church and state • Culture wars • Islam • Muslim • New York • Ramadan • Religious liberty

soundoff (1,202 Responses)
  1. Greg

    New York's Bloomberg: "We are all Muslims"

    Florida American Infidel: "Screw you Mayor"

    August 25, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  2. Andy

    We most certainly NOT are all Muslims. Speak for yourself, and defend the hatred spewed by that religion. But do not include "all" of us in defense of your hatred.

    August 25, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  3. Donnio

    USMC1 does not give true Marines a bad name. Anyone can USMC as their name for these post even if they are not a Marine or former Marine. To Mr. Bloomberg: I AM NOT A MUSLIM!!! i have no problem with Muslims who have become an American, but do not call me a Muslim. I am an American Christain.

    August 25, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  4. Geez

    Im starting to think that just maybe the Libs are the ones with a Muslim prejudice... If anyone suggests BO is a Muslim they freak out like the plague. If theres nothing wrong with being Muslim why is it such a big deal? Youd think that they would respond in the old Seinfeld way "Im not Muslim.... not that theres anything wrong with that."

    August 25, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  5. LOOK

    My eyes are numb from trying to read this crappy thread.

    Please, everyone, just stop posting. The posts I am seeing are mostly crap we've all seen and heard before.

    Doesn't anyone have an original thought, opinion, or actual solution to post?
    Take a look at this thread.
    Too many crappy posts.
    this will be my only post in this thread.

    August 25, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  6. Canyongal

    what war? We are not 'at war' in any way, shape or form. We have sent some of our best and brightest young people to a part of the world which has something we want–oil–while the rest of us live fine lives, untouched by any 'war'. Sorry to say this, but we do business (and have for decades) with Germans and Japanese people, even though they killed far more Americans than the number that died on 9/11. The 9/11 survivors are manipulated and used by cynical politicians who use them and the event to make political points.

    If you are really upset about 9/11 (and most of you are not, you are simply haters of Islam, or what you think Islam means), then why aren't you marching and writing letters demanding to know why nothing has been done at Ground Zero to memorialize the dead? Don't you realize that every year that passes, it just makes it more likely that something will be built there that doesn't honor anyone, just makes someone a profit. And that's the American way, no?

    Thank you, Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama....you have reminded us what our Founders intended religious freedom and private property to mean.

    August 25, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  7. hey_there

    This took about 1 second of searching:

    Partial List of Muslim 9/11 Victims:

    Note: This list is as yet incomplete and unconfirmed. It has been compiled from the Islamic Circle of North America, the Newsday victims database, and reports from other major news organizations. The victims' ages, employers, or other personal information is included when available, along with links to further information or photos.

    Samad Afridi
    Ashraf Ahmad
    Shabbir Ahmad (45 years old; Windows on the World; leaves wife and 3 children)
    Umar Ahmad
    Azam Ahsan
    Ahmed Ali
    Tariq Amanullah (40 years old; Fiduciary Trust Co.; ICNA website team member; leaves wife and 2 children)
    Touri Bolourchi (69 years old; United Airlines #175; a retired nurse from Tehran)
    Salauddin Ahmad Chaudhury
    Abdul K. Chowdhury (30 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
    Mohammad S. Chowdhury (39 years old; Windows on the World; leaves wife and child born 2 days after the attack)
    Jamal Legesse Desantis
    Ramzi Attallah Douani (35 years old; Marsh & McLennan)
    SaleemUllah Farooqi
    Syed Fatha (54 years old; Pitney Bowes)
    Osman Gani
    Mohammad Hamdani (50 years old)
    Salman Hamdani (NYPD Cadet)
    Aisha Harris (21 years old; General Telecom)
    Shakila Hoque (Marsh & McLennan)
    Nabid Hossain
    Shahzad Hussain
    Talat Hussain
    Mohammad Shah Jahan (Marsh & McLennan)
    Yasmeen Jamal
    Mohammed Jawarta (MAS security)
    Arslan Khan Khakwani
    Asim Khan
    Ataullah Khan
    Ayub Khan
    Qasim Ali Khan
    Sarah Khan (32 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
    Taimour Khan (29 years old; Karr Futures)
    Yasmeen Khan
    Zahida Khan
    Badruddin Lakhani
    Omar Malick
    Nurul Hoque Miah (36 years old)
    Mubarak Mohammad (23 years old)
    Boyie Mohammed (Carr Futures)
    Raza Mujtaba
    Omar Namoos
    Mujeb Qazi
    Tarranum Rahim
    Ehtesham U. Raja (28 years old)
    Ameenia Rasool (33 years old)
    Naveed Rehman
    Yusuf Saad
    Rahma Salie & unborn child (28 years old; American Airlines #11; wife of Michael Theodoridis; 7 months pregnant)
    Shoman Samad
    Asad Samir
    Khalid Shahid (25 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald; engaged to be married in November)
    Mohammed Shajahan (44 years old; Marsh & McLennan)
    Naseema Simjee (Franklin Resources Inc.'s Fiduciary Trust)
    Jamil Swaati
    Sanober Syed
    Robert Elias Talhami (40 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
    Michael Theodoridis (32 years old; American Airlines #11; husband of Rahma Salie)
    W. Wahid

    August 25, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  8. hey_there

    Partial List of Muslim 9/11 Victims:

    Note: This list is as yet incomplete and unconfirmed. It has been compiled from the Islamic Circle of North America, the Newsday victims database, and reports from other major news organizations. The victims' ages, employers, or other personal information is included when available, along with links to further information or photos.

    Samad Afridi
    Ashraf Ahmad
    Shabbir Ahmad (45 years old; Windows on the World; leaves wife and 3 children)
    Umar Ahmad
    Azam Ahsan
    Ahmed Ali
    Tariq Amanullah (40 years old; Fiduciary Trust Co.; ICNA website team member; leaves wife and 2 children)
    Touri Bolourchi (69 years old; United Airlines #175; a retired nurse from Tehran)
    Salauddin Ahmad Chaudhury
    Abdul K. Chowdhury (30 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
    Mohammad S. Chowdhury (39 years old; Windows on the World; leaves wife and child born 2 days after the attack)
    Jamal Legesse Desantis
    Ramzi Attallah Douani (35 years old; Marsh & McLennan)
    SaleemUllah Farooqi
    Syed Fatha (54 years old; Pitney Bowes)
    Osman Gani
    Mohammad Hamdani (50 years old)
    Salman Hamdani (NYPD Cadet)
    Aisha Harris (21 years old; General Telecom)
    Shakila Hoque (Marsh & McLennan)
    Nabid Hossain
    Shahzad Hussain
    Talat Hussain
    Mohammad Shah Jahan (Marsh & McLennan)
    Yasmeen Jamal
    Mohammed Jawarta (MAS security)
    Arslan Khan Khakwani
    Asim Khan
    Ataullah Khan
    Ayub Khan
    Qasim Ali Khan
    Sarah Khan (32 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
    Taimour Khan (29 years old; Karr Futures)
    Yasmeen Khan
    Zahida Khan
    Badruddin Lakhani
    Omar Malick
    Nurul Hoque Miah (36 years old)
    Mubarak Mohammad (23 years old)
    Boyie Mohammed (Carr Futures)
    Raza Mujtaba
    Omar Namoos
    Mujeb Qazi
    Tarranum Rahim
    Ehtesham U. Raja (28 years old)
    Ameenia Rasool (33 years old)
    Naveed Rehman
    Yusuf Saad
    Rahma Salie & unborn child (28 years old; American Airlines #11; wife of Michael Theodoridis; 7 months pregnant)
    Shoman Samad
    Asad Samir
    Khalid Shahid (25 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald; engaged to be married in November)
    Mohammed Shajahan (44 years old; Marsh & McLennan)
    Naseema Simjee (Franklin Resources Inc.'s Fiduciary Trust)
    Jamil Swaati
    Sanober Syed
    Robert Elias Talhami (40 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
    Michael Theodoridis (32 years old; American Airlines #11; husband of Rahma Salie)
    W. Wahid

    August 25, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  9. Armando Ibanez

    Freedom of Religion...... fine, freedom to build....... fine, but New York is big, why do they need to build precisely there?
    Convinience? My ass. Show some respect and build somewhere else.

    August 25, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  10. Tewrobert

    I think I will be paying less and less attention to CNN, This isnt .......

    August 25, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  11. mikeinsiouxfalls

    It is truly disturbing that people who are unaware of tenets of their own religion are experts on others'. I find Islam to be an easily perverted religion hijacked by fanatics who live in the 13th century. Moderates are too scared to challenge them. A funny thing is those converted to Islam while in prison. Are they nuts? In a Muslim theocracy the thieves would be missing hands and arms, adulterers would be killed, etc. Christians aren't much better. Fire-bombing clinics, shooting abortion providers, corporate thievery, wars based on lies and rumor. How many churches have not been built because all Christians were killers and criminals because a few are.
    The religious argument is immaterial next to the constitutional crisis. When we start censoring freedoms because a vocal group of so-called Americans are upset; the crazies on both sides win. Do you think Auswhitz or Dachau were built in a day? Laws and decrees were passed through a long period of steady erosion of civil rights. It is not the immediate issue, it is the precedent it sets that allows more and more restrictions.
    Does this ring a bell...They came for the Jews. But I wasn't a Jew so I did nothing.
    I probably mangled the lines but you understand the message.

    August 25, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  12. Ciemma

    What a HORRIBLE, MISLEADING title for this article. Way to go, editors – inflame everyone a little bit more! Why cant anyone see that Bloomberg's speech is meant to bring people together?

    August 25, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  13. myopinion

    When I heard that only a small fraction of the billion of Muslims are terrorists and the rest of Muslims are moderates, is because the moderates didn't read well the Q'uoran (or Koran). There is a big difference between the Bible (or other religions) and the Koran. If you read the Bible and follow their teachings its message is "come to God without destroying what 's around" (regretfully most of the Christians don't even read the Bible and thats the reason Western culture is not even close of what to expect according to the Bible).

    However if you follow the teachings of the Koran, its message is "Follow God and destroy whatever stands between you and God". The Koran imposes by brute force the teachings, while Bible (or any other religions try to impose their teachings by faith, either you take it or you don't , it is your choice). The muslin "extremist" simply read carefully the Koran and is simply following their teachings (destroy everything that is not Muslim and heaven will be yours), while the "moderate" muslims simply read parts of the Koran and decided to follow ther own thinking

    In that sense, Muslim is not a religion, it is a way of life, that simply is incompatile with the Western Culture or USA (Freedom of religion). In the Muslim World CAN NOT BE other religion (look in the Arabic countries,where other religions are not protected by law like the Muslim religion).

    In USA, our principles of freedom tell us that we should accept the muslim building, but our sense of surviving tell us it is wrong. If we accept the building in NY we are accepting other way of life that it does not respect our way of life (not to mention other important factors: near a sacred place, respecto for the americans that lost their lives, etc. ).

    Which should be more important our surviving as a society or valuable principles of freedom ?. I vote for the surviving of our children. Is ti racist to say this ? it is bigotry ? no. Because is the Muslim World that have to proof that they can live and respect the Western culture. So far they have done viceversa (the extremist Muslin wants to kill us, and the "moderates" Muslim say a lot with their silence).

    To accept a building near ground zero, or even another Muslim building in NY (or for that matter in USA) is to say, we as Americans (wether you are anglo, chinese, latin, black,...) value more freedom of expression than the basic principle of surviving. We know what is the decision of Bloomberg how about the rest of us that we still have little children ? in wich society do you want your children to live Christian (and others to choose), or only Muslim ?

    At this point, Koran, then becomes a way of life (it imposes what to do in a person, the other religions let you choose)

    August 25, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
    • Canyongal

      myopinion–read the Old Testament. It isn't pretty.

      August 25, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  14. Catie

    If the Imam was truly sensitive to 9/11 he would not build on top of a cemetary created in the name of Allah nor would he have the grand opening on 9/11. He has every right graced by the American constitution to build a mosque, however a few blocks down would send a better message. This is not a good image for the peaceful Muslim faith that is shared by so many here in the u.s.

    August 25, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  15. Kathy B in Michigan

    NOT

    August 25, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  16. Largent803

    I find it interesting how the people behind the Mosque are unwilling to admit that maybe this could be seen as
    a offensive to the family members of the 9/11 victims. This IMAN has not publicly come out totally against terrorism. He has never called Hamas a terrorist organization.
    People may say he has done so privately but never publicly.
    He also is not willing to tell us where the money is coming from. Are you going to say it is okay if Seria, Iran and Saudia Arabia gives the necessary money for this project.

    I understand they can do it and I am not against that point. The question is should you do this when it is pretty obvious that 70% of American Citizens do not want this.

    I have also seen that a lot people are calling these Racists. Do people really think that 70% of the population are racists because they believe that this Mosque which could be placed 10 blocks away and you would not have this problem.

    August 25, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  17. TrueAmerican

    What a bunch of Hanoi Jane's. You're all just like Jane Fonda during Vietnam. It isn't the promotion of peace that is an issue, it is the support for our enemies. You don't deserve the freedom that we fight to protect.

    August 25, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
    • Catie

      some people just dont get it. It is not the peaceful muslims that are behind this particular mosque and its very strategic location, its the radical that are behind this mosque and if anyone would really do their homework they would actually be a little nervous about this whole thing

      August 25, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
    • Catie

      I was supporting your comment, trueamerican, as I reread it sounds pretty redundant, sorry

      August 25, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  18. irememberseptII

    What really surprises me is how many women are defending the muslims. Don't you ladies know what sharia law is? Muslims believe that Shariah is not something the intelligence of man can prove wrong, it is only to be accepted by humans, since it is based on the will of Allah. Muslims see their religion and government being ordained by Allah. It is their conviction that Islam is intended to be the religion of all mankind. It is to be the universal religion to replace Judaism, Christianity, and all others. While Muslims may deny it, they are willing to replace other religions first by conversion, then suppression and even armed conflict. In the Philippines, there is a growing Muslim population that is agitating for the institution of Islamic law. They have not hesitated to use violence to try to implement their beliefs.
    Muslims claim that there is freedom of religion under Shariah. When Islam gains a strong representation in the population, they want to impose Shariah on everyone, since they believe that it is the only law that comes directly from Allah.
    under sharia law, women have no rights; they are completely at the mercy of their husbands; who, by the way, are chosen for them by their fathers. Girls as young as 8 years old are married to the man who pays the highest dowry. Love and romance have no place in the muslim womans life. They also perform 'female circumcision' (more commonly known as genital mutilation) on all girls between the ages of 8 to 14; muslim women are not allowed to enjoy sex, leave their home without the permission of their husbands, wear jewelry, stylish clothes or makeup. A million other rules apply only to women. Men may have up to 4 wives, beat them for no reason, divorce them at will and keep their children. Women who claim to be raped must have 4 men to testify that she was raped; if there are not 4 men that will testify to the rape, it is ruled that she had sex outside of marriage and she is stoned to death; for being raped! Don't believe me? Go to Bing and type in sharia law....do some research before you start defending them; they count on Americans not knowing history or current events. We are too busy playing X-box, wii, watching reality (not!) shows to know what is really going on in the world. That is how they take over; by making people that don't know any better defend them.

    August 25, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  19. Carly

    What a misleading headline. Silly me for expecting anything else.

    August 25, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  20. Kitty

    I can't believe New Yorkers voted for him 3 times !

    August 25, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32
Advertisement
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.