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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. John Toradze

    Bloomberg is a fool. I am as liberal as they come, and the portrayal of this imam Rauf as moderate is obscene. He is not by American standards. Muslims don't come forward to denounce terrorism because of men like Rauf. Muslims don't come forward because koran tells them never to betray another muslim. Muslims do what they do because Osama is correct if you accept koran as "the word of god." Mohammed was not a prophet. He was a vicious little man who tortured, assassinated, murdered and raped – while he was "prophet". The bigoted creed called islam is not worthy of protection because it is utterly intolerant and calls for war to subjugate everyone else.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  2. aukala

    P Dirt is right on. They WILL take over, not only NYC, but also the entire country, that is their goal.
    Having said that, I do believe that every person in the U.S. has the right to practice their religion as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. Building a VICTORY mosque in sight of the WTC towers, which, by the way, were brought down by radical Muslims is indeed an infringement on the feelings of those families that lost loved ones in that terrorist act.
    Build it somewhere else. WHY MUST IT BE BUILT AT THAT PARTICULAR SITE – BECAUSE IT IS A SHOW OF THEIR VICTORY OVER AMERICA.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    • My opinion

      You watch too much fox news. You're speaking as if they are building this on ground zero. If ground zero meant so much then WHY THE HELL HAVEN'T THEY BUILT ANYTHING ON IT YET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I think people are more upset that a cultural center/mosque will be built first. Even though it's a few blocks away.

      August 25, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
    • BradW

      Prejudice stems from lumping 'others' into THEM. Its THEM (homogenous group) versus US (the good guys). Your point of view misses the fact that muslims, hindus, jews as well as Christians were killed at the twin towers. Many American's are muslim....so its not really a homogenous group. It would be like saying if Timothy McVay was Christian and he bombed in OK city so no Christian churches should be allowed near the bomb site.

      August 25, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • BradW

      Prejudice stems from lumping 'others' into THEM. Its THEM (homogenous group) versus US (the good guys). Your point of view misses the fact that muslims, hindus, jews as well as Christians were killed at the twin towers. Many American's are muslim....so its not really a homogenous group. It would be like saying if Timothy McVeigh was Christian so no Christian churches should be allowed in a several block radius of the federal building in Ok City.

      August 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
    • Frogist

      Building a mosque is an infringement on "feelings". But it's not an infringement on the law or anyone's rights. Good thing we don't legislate on feelings.

      BTW How does the republican right get to harp on about how their feelings are hurt but still get to call the lib dems weaklings? When did they become the party of the touchy feely?

      August 25, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
  3. Bob B

    I agree with you marcia. We as Christians do not accept other man-made religions, like Islam. To do so, would put us on the wide path to hell. We don't kill in faith like the Muslim and we don't force converts to choose between death and remaining in the faith. Christianity is free will, versus death threats and murder. We were told 2,000 years ago that we would be hated just like Jesus and this is now coming true. I hope New Yorkers throw this incompetent leader out of office as soon as possible.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    • YoMamma14

      Not all Muslims are jihadists! Why can't you people get this through your thick a$$ skulls?! Jeebus! You people showing hatred of Muslims NOT the extremists, should rethink your faith, because your NOT Christian if you hate so much.

      Even the leaders of the TRUE Muslim faith have said the extremists are not showing true Muslim faith, that jihad and killing of "infidels" is not what the Qur'ān is about.

      August 25, 2010 at 1:49 pm |
      • Lucy

        What do you know about Christianity when you cannot even bring yourself to type the name Jesus?! It's not hatred that drives us against the Muslims, it is fighting the enemy. Allah = Satan!

        August 25, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
        • Naveed

          The word "Allah" us used by Arab Christians and Jews. It means God, and according to you God=Stan! Keep up the good work!

          August 25, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
        • Naveed

          The word "Allah" us used by Arab Christians and Jews. It means God, and according to you God=Stan! Keep up the good work!

          August 25, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
      • das0522

        Opposition to the project is not hate and those who oppose it are not necessarily bigots. You're using the same tactic as those who say all Muslims are terrorists

        August 25, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
      • Charles W. Skinner

        Because Christianity doesn't have a militant wing that actively attempts to spread the religion by the sword, like the Islamic faith does. The Wahhabi sect of Islam still follows the "old ways" that it's righteous to kill infidels that are unwilling to convert, and that ANY act of violence in which you kill infidels and you are killed leads straight to heaven. Further, the building is also a symbol. If the Imam wants to gut out the current building and build the mosque within it's shell, I have no problem with that. But building a $100 million glass ediface within spitting distance of the attack that screams ~~~MOSQUE~~~ is only meant to be a symbol that says "Islam is powerful, we have brought down the West. Convert now before we do the same to you." In fact, the name "Cordoba" has a historical meaning as "Islamic RULE in the West." That's why they've changed the name. Historians recognized the significance of the name they chose, and it's not one of "peace" but one of subjugation.

        August 25, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
        • Phil

          "That's why they changed the name.." ..to what? On my maps and on Google/Yahoo maps the area in Spain is still called "Cordoba".

          And really? Chrisitianity "peaceful"? "I have not come to bring peace but a sword", spoken by the God of the Universe, the head of the Church (the Christians). "The violent take it by force", again spoken by the God of the Universe, the head of the Church. That's a bit difficult to defend if you wish to label Christianity as "peaceful". Not to mention, oh, the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the Salem Witch Trials, Western Hemispheric slavery, 20th century lynchings...

          August 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
        • Carlos

          Phil
          What you don't mention is that the large scale violence of Christianity and Judaism was centuries ago while Muslims still condone and encourage violence against other religions. What you don't mention is the eastern slavery of Africans, which was initiated by Muslim Arabs centuries before western slavery. Millions of Africans were taken from East Africa to Arabia, Iran and India. What you don't mention is that from 630 CE to 1095 CE, when the First Crusade occurred, Muslim were committing athrocities in the Middle East, Iran, North Africa, Spain and Sicily for more than 300 years. Even the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials and the lynchings are things of the past. Nowadays you don't see Christianity or Judaism promoting or condoning violence on members of other religions. So in the current times, Judaism, Christianity, Bahai, Buddhist etc. are peaceful compared to Islam.

          August 25, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
        • DanC

          Carlos, I think you're forgetting about WWII. The Nazi's essentially considered themselves Christians. Yeah, I bet that stings.

          August 25, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
        • HITLER ADMIRED ISLAM, CHURCHILL DIDN'T

          DanC. WOW, you are so wrong. And you just thought you're the biggest smart ass out there. The Nazis and Hitler admired islam. Look up Hitler and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin Al Husseini. They met several times. There's many pictures on the net of them together. That mufti collaborated with the nazis to kill all the jews in the middle east. He was considered a hero by the muslims and was never brought to justice after the war. it is believed he was a distant relative of Yasser Arafat, another muslim "hero". Hitler didn't like Christianity. You should do your homework before you make such statements. ouuuch, I bet that stings.

          August 25, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
        • hey_there

          @HITLER ADMIRED ISLAM, CHURCHILL DIDN'T, Churchill said the same thing about Christianity! and he was Agnostic, what's your point!

          August 25, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
        • dutchblitz1

          The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin Al Husseini, was a close friend of Adolf Hitler. In the second half of World War II, there were also Bosnian Muslim units in the SS.

          August 25, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
        • Kate

          @dutchblitz1

          Scraping the barrel there a little? Research "Ustashi" and the Vatican-condoned ratlines at the end of WWII, if you're *that* determined to break Godwin's Law.

          Just Sayin'

          August 25, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
        • Carlos

          DanC

          The Nazis did not committed the genocide expressly in the name of God nor in the name of Christianity. if you want a comparison, then read about the Muslim conquest of India. There the Muslim did the biggest genocide of human history. More than 50 million Hindus were executed in an attempt to wipe them out for being infidels.

          August 25, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
        • Catie

          And the most important commandments of them all is to love God and love one another. Uh ,yeah thats in our Bible too

          August 25, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
      • Rush L.

        Sssh! No no no! Don't tell my followers the truth!

        August 25, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
      • bigstick

        get this through YOUR thick a$$ skull.it IS the radicals we worry about and that is who IS in charge of islam at this point in time.

        August 25, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • Phil

      Bob, as a learned practitioner of the faith as you must be to know such things about the history of Christianity, what do you say to people when they confront you with the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the Salem Witch Trials, Western Hemispheric slavery, early 20th century lynchings, Christian-like cults like Jim Jones' group, etc. in response to your statement about Christiantiy doesn't "kill people like Muslims"?

      August 25, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
    • Amanda

      Right.....because all other religions are man-made and yours isn't............that makes perfect sense. Listen, your Christian and that's your right, I get it. But don't come on here proclaiming that any religion other than yours is "man-made" (in fact ALL relgions are, by the way)......like yours is any more plausible or makes any more sense.

      August 25, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
      • Amanda

        that was supposed to be a reply to Bob B, but for some reason this stupid site didn't post it that way

        August 25, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  4. Panther7

    Who cares what Hamas has to say. They are terrorists. Stop being a scaredy cat!

    August 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  5. CK

    The concept that anyone, citizen or government, could dictate where people worship within this country is ludicrous. If you are not a descendant of American indians, somewhere in your family's lineage a relative decided to migrate to the US. The first groups who chose to migrate and eventually established this great nation did so for pursuit of religious freedom.
    Judging someone's religous beliefs and deciding how that person should live or worship is the exact behavior that led to people leaving their country of origin 400 years ago. Bloomberg is right. If you want to tout america as the land of the free and home of the brave, be brave enough to lead by example and build the mosque. Show the world we do not believe that one religion should be treated any differently than another. Show that we as a people KNOW the violence perpetrated on 9/11 and since is the radical extreme not the norm for a religion.
    The whole "we're better than you" attitude is exactly what the leaders of the radicals use to incite violence. We can use this opportunity to show the moral high ground. I'd sacrifice my life in the name of the freedoms this country was founded on before I'd shed a drop of blood to defend your right to exclude or discriminate against someone for something as fundamental as religious belief. The great leaders of our past are looking down on us and shaking their heads. Martin Luther King took the same approach in attempting to end segregation. How is this different? God Bless America. I hope we come to our senses.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  6. Bob

    Be careful what you say Mike. Some people would rather die than be Muslims. Lots of ignorance in this country from the south and from the middle and from the west. Intolerance seems to be key once you get outside of the liberal northeast and Washington DC.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  7. Del

    Bloomberg the muslim of today looks to me like one of those rich german juish that help entusiasticaly with their money Hittler in his criminal plan to exterminate people base on rase. Muslims that I met here in USA have great admiration for Hitler and his achievements.
    The difference is that he (Bloomberg) is in USA, a true free contry and not in nazy Germany of 1930's.
    How sweet he uses words about freedom of religion when in fact is nothing about freedom, but dignity of a nation hit hard by a barbaric by-product of muslim "theology"!

    August 25, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
    • SC

      "Muslims I have met here in the US"? Ok, I'm calling BS. Tell us when and where you met these muslims and why you were discussing Hitler with them. Otherwise, I think your just one more tool making crap up to make a point.

      August 25, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
    • Say What?????

      I'm gonna second that BS motion!!! It's pretty obvious you have no clue of history, reality, or truth.

      August 25, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  8. Jane Doe

    "You must speak. It's our only hope." – Douglas Fairbanks in the Last Emperor ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rzrjg5T0cMc&feature=fvw

    August 25, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
    • AntiWar

      Very nice explanation.
      Now I wonder whether we are progressing or regressing.

      August 25, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  9. AntiWar

    No matter how much people are distracted towards situation in britain or france.
    ONLY IN AMERICA, RELIGIOUS LAWS cannot be above LAW OF THE LAND. And it has been proven so many years. Why people raise issue unncessarily.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  10. Craig Shearer

    Bloomberg is a traitor and an enemy of the American people. I have hated him since day one that he took office in New York. He is worried about property and religious freedoms, but he has never heard of the Second Amendment. He was all for Term Limits until he took office, then he worked to remove term limits so that he could remain the dictator of New York.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
    • Chaiah

      Ah, you mean this: “ A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed?" You mean the Amendment that allowed the colonies to form an army so that we could defend ourselves against the British and Taxation without Representation? Last I saw, each state has a National Guard and our country has a Navy, Air Force, Army, Marines, and Coast Guard. If I am not mistaken, they are all armed. So, Bloomberg has not denied the 2nd Amendment at all, tyvm.

      August 25, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  11. michael g

    I guess you can't just paint Obama as other. Not all Christians are the same, not all Muslims are the same, and not all people who died on 9/11 agree. Too bad we can't all agree just to disagree- without getting mean and personal. How do we all really expect to live and share this planet? I wish the rapture would come and cart out those who are waiting for it and destroying the world for the rest of us who plan on staying after your rapture.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
  12. ovillaman

    Bllomberg is an idiot, not because he lacks intelligence, but because he refuses to be intellectually honest. There are fundamental differences between Islam and Christianity and Judaism that cannot be eliminatd by "good will". Christians are not Muslims are not Jews , and never will be. Where we can agree, let's agree, but where we disagree we will always disagree. If Islam is so interested in being perceived as a peacful faith then build your mosque in Idaho and make a large contribution to a interfaith 9-11 memorial in Battery Park.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • My opinion

      What does building a Mosque in Idaho have anything to do with being peaceful. Islam had nothing to do with the attack on the towers. Where in the Koran does it say to attack and kill innocent lives including other's who practice Islam. Last I heard, people of all faiths died in the towers.

      August 25, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  13. Dan

    Clearly Bloomberg does not speak for all of new york and while he may be mayor of nyc, he can't presume to speak for the entire city either.

    If and when this mosque is built- and I presume it will since it is truly our freedom that binds and fetters so much as to allow such a travesty to even be considered- I think that fifty years from now people will wonder at the amazing and complete victory of Al Queda as to completely raze our symbols of democracy and capitalism and in its place raise up a mosque.

    The mosque shouldnt be built for the same reason that we shouldnt build monuments to American glory in Hiroshima or Nagasaki.... It shouldnt be built the same reason why descendants of Nazi Germany shouldnt build a monument to Hitler in Israel....

    August 25, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • My opinion

      Last I heard it wasn't a mosque but a cultural center. 2nd of all, the attack on the towers was not an attack by Muslims but it was an attack by a terror group that so happens to be muslim. To think that it was an attack by all Muslims is just as ignorant as the talibans mind state.

      August 25, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
    • Chaiah

      How can you, possibly, think that the actions of a radical few are the views of millions? You know that there are nutjobs everywhere – in every group, right? To allow those whack jobs to cause such hatred is just plain crazy.

      August 25, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
    • Jake

      @ my opinion, You've are sadly misinformed. It is a mosque and a "cultural center". Seems the Muslims conflate religion and culture as they do politics. Islam is a way of life so it is a Muslim religious and political and cultural center – most certainly and accurately described as a mosque. 2nd 9/11 wasn't an attack by terrorists who just happened to be Muslim. It was an attack by Muslim terrorists, their jihad attack was predicated entirely on their interpretation of Islam.... there was no secular content to their philosophy. To build a mosque adjacent to the site where 3,000 people were murdered in the name of Islam is a provocative political act... and will be stopped.

      August 25, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • Chris R

      @Jake, since we are assuming that these are fundamentalist Muslims who live by every dictate of the Koran I don't know how it could be a Mosque. For it to be a mosque the entire building would have to be dedicated to worship. Since it has cafeterias,. swimming pools, and basketball courts I'm not sure how that works. Of course, these are actually Sufis – a mystical off shoot of Islam that preaches a oneness with creation and the equivalency of all religions. Maybe it's all a ruse! that must be it and Bush, when he sent the Imam out as muslim representative of America, was just suckered in by it.

      August 25, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
    • Abudu Mukarram

      If the South after committing treason against the United States can still fly its rebel flag then Muslims have the right to build a mosque on every corner of ground zero.

      August 25, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • Kate

      @Dan/@Jake

      You do realize that the Islamic Center would be one of the first things AQ would set out to destroy if they won to begin with, right?

      Just sayin'

      August 25, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
  14. My opinion

    Most Christians don't put God first (although they say they do) so their lives are not led by religion. Their lives are led by everyday decisions that change due to work/feelings/circumstances/ etc. Most christians only remember their faith at a time of desperation or need. Again, many are faithful when it's beneficial. So if a christian blows up something, lets say in Oklahoma, no one will link that action of terror to the Christian faith. They did it because of some radical ideas and beliefs. I thought religion was a belief, but that's another story. U can kill a whole nation and right before you die if you accept Jesus, you will be forgiven. Think about that for a minute.

    Many Muslims lives are led by the teachings of islam. They are more devoted and base their actions on their religion. Even if one's actions are not agreed upon by the Koran, that person/s will find a way to connect it to their religion. The extremist use their religion for reasoning of all their actions. This way they didn't do it for their selfish reason but Allah told them to do it so it must be done so it is OK.

    Extremist on both sides are wrong. Muslims means "one who submits" so actually anyone who follows a god is a muslim if they submit themselves to that god.

    Lets not forget that America taught Osama how to fight, America gave him weapons and tons of amunition. The same ones they are using against us.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  15. james

    I believe in stoning. I believe there are virgins and rivers of honey awaiting me in paradise for killing infidels. Bloomberg is correct I am a Muslim.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
    • chris

      i belive the yankees will win the world series agian....and we are not in ramadan.... we are in fukin AUGUST!....lol

      August 25, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
    • james

      Chris, you are a heathen infidel, the Yankees will suffer the same fate as all who go against Allah. They too will enjoy rivers of blood as all non-believers will !!! Allah Akbar !!!

      August 25, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • Say What?????

      James... could you please point out where it says anything about virgins and honey in the Quran? Or are you just repeating B.S. that you've heard from other ignorant donkeys instead of reading the Quran yourself? Allah is God and God is Allah. Allah is merciful to all those that believe in him. He is the same God that the Christians pray to and that the Jews pray to. God is great, and he will have his vengeance on the non-believers - which just might be you since you are taking his words out of context.

      August 25, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
    • James Akbar

      The Infidels will flow with rivers of non-believers ! What is written is written. Allah Akbar !!! " My God is Greater then your God !"

      August 25, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
    • Kate

      @Chris

      I'm sure Reality has something they posted years ago to debunk your obviously delusional faith in the Yankees to post in reply.

      Just sayin'

      (Oh, and it is Ramadan – lunar vs solar calendar)

      August 25, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
  16. Jake

    Bloomberg will need to deploy his shock troops to remove patriotic Americans who will blockade the site of Park51. Bloomberg will have to spill blood to build Park51 and he'll need to spend a fortune protecting it if it manages to be built. Bloomberg might win the "hearts and minds" of Muslims but he's lost the hearts and minds of true Americans.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
    • Chaiah

      Wow... Just wow.

      August 25, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
    • SC

      Did you feel the same way about when the little black children were finally allowed to go to desegregated schools, and the local authorities were turning fire hoses and dogs on civil rights protesters in the '60's?

      August 25, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
    • Frogist

      wow Jake... by your words some might say you are spreading fear. Or terror. Much like a terrorist... hmmm...

      August 25, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
  17. really?

    If we are a nation of christians, then we should be compassionate to all cultures and religions. Does Christianity teach you to hate other religions, you cannot preach one thing, but then turn around and go against what your supposed religious beliefs are. Aren't we all God's children? Doesn't Christianity teach forgiveness and doesn't our constitution state freedom of religion. Our founding fathers revolted and created this country so that there would be the freedom to practive whatever relgions you wanted.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  18. cb

    This is not a case of robbing a group of their religious freedom in this country, but maintaining a degree of sensitivity to all those personally affected by the horror on 9/11. It is a difficult situation. Muslims, in the true sense, did not bring about 9/11; terrorists touted themselves as Muslims did. Islam is a beautiful religion. However, I understand the uproar and maintain that this may be too much, too soon. There are a number of mosques in the financial district/Battery Park area. Therefore, this planned Muslim Center is not the end-all be-all for the Islam faith in that area. All I can say is that, as someone personally affected by 9/11, it does seem a bit in-your-face.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  19. alienprophecy@hotmail.com

    Let us return back to the original intent of this mosque, as I understand it: it was a way to show "normalize" main-stream Americans with Muslims, possibly to show Americans that not all Muslims where like those that committed 9/11...it was likely to create a peaceful presence of your average, "good" Muslim to provide a contrast where the worst of them would always be remembered. In short, it was an attempt to heal, an attempt to improve relations, an attempt to improve the image of Muslims in the United States.
    Has it? Has it healed? Is it improving relations? Is it improving relationships?
    While I fully agree that it is their right to build wherever they wish, one has to question whether losing this battle would be better for the attainment of their overall objective. Had they simply said "We're sorry, we did not mean to reopen old wounds, and we, too, mourn the loss of your loved ones," do you not think they would have scored a coup for the image of Muslims in the United States? But noooo....they decide to take the "we're not going to be pushed around" route...which is exactly the attitude that has lead to thousands of years of war in the Middle East.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  20. Eric

    Politcal correctnes is going to be our downfall, ask britain how welcoming muslums into there country is working out.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
    • marciah

      Political Correctness has changed recently – it now requires that we call anyone who doesn't think like we do Un-American. The Conservative Republican media are the ones who blew this issue up into a national hatefest. They benefit from fostering fear and distrust for anyone who isn't a white Christian.
      This entire issue is making me sick.

      August 25, 2010 at 2:56 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.