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August 27th, 2010
10:15 AM ET

Opinion: On Islamic center, what would Pope John Paul do?

By Paul Moses, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Paul Moses is the author of "The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace." He is a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

The late Pope John Paul II has been described as the inspiration for a possible compromise to the dispute over the proposed Islamic center and mosque in the World Trade Center vicinity - that it be withdrawn and built elsewhere, much as the late pontiff had canceled plans for a convent near the Auschwitz concentration camp.

But if anyone would have appreciated the enormous symbolic value of having moderate Muslims create a space close to ground zero - as opposed to any other possible location in New York - with the aim of promoting inter-religious understanding, it was Pope John Paul II.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Catholic Church • Houses of worship • Islam • Mosque • Muslim • New York • Opinion • United States

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Veritas Splendor

    We may ascertain what Pope John Paul II would do about the mosque at GZ. Recall what he did with the Carmelite nuns who lived in a convent near Aushwitz. When the Jews complained about their presence there, he asked them to move their convent elsewhere, as an act of sacrificial love and sensitivity to Jewish feelings. They did just that without complaining. The mosque pushers at GZ can take a lesson from that. Out of respect for the feelings of victims' families and the majority of Americans, act with sacrificial love and sensitivity and build the mosque somewhere else.

    August 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
  2. fwat

    What would poop do?

    August 29, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  3. R Miller

    How come there isn't a "Don't Recommend" button for stuff like this?

    August 28, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
  4. Nancy

    Lets see...what would the Pope do?
    Um, he would make the Imam a saint immediately, no waiting, lol, then he would have all the other popes standing there with plates in thier hands for collections from all the muslim folk.
    He would have them kiss his ring, and erect a statue of himself so they could kiss his feet
    All the little catholic members would call it a blessing of kindness, They wear thier Catholic Glasses, so they are not blinded by the light

    August 28, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  5. doug

    Very, very funny story about Glenn Beck at http://newspile.weebly.com/

    August 28, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  6. doug

    Extremely funny story about Glenn Beck at http://newspile.weebly.com/

    August 28, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  7. JJ

    Pope John Paul would probably ask if he could hide some molesting priest in the mosque.

    August 28, 2010 at 9:01 am |
    • ICEMAN

      They would need a whole lot of closets. lol

      August 28, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  8. Adam Enoch

    Pope John Paul ll would probably forgive the Turkish guy who recently murdered the Catholic Bishop.

    The worst Christians are still a zillion times better than the worst Muslims. Christians globally are the most persecuted people on earth. Why our leaders do so little to stand up for them is a mystery to me – perhaps they feel so browbeaten by the sanctimonious politically correct that they dare not open their mouths. In addition to being moral cowardice of the most elementary order, it is bad psychology – millions of opressed people can glean much succour from words of support for them and condemnation of their opressors.

    The Vatican just said that relief organisations in Pakistan are discriminating against Christians when they distribute flood aid. Aid is being delivered by "government officials sympathetic to Islamic fundamentalism or by Muslim relief organisations. The paradox is: this aid coming mainly from the so-called "Christian" nations. Apparently, the stone-hearted Pakistanis seem to have learned nothing. Very sad, indeed!

    August 27, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Did you hear that news on EWTN? I would be surprised if CNN would report this....

      August 27, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  9. Iqbal Khan

    SHOCKING BUT TRUE HISTORY!
    Read the History Past and present check the following link....It is nothing but violence...violence and Unjust violence...
    http://www.flagrancy.net/timeline.html

    August 27, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
  10. mimsie

    Terrific story that sort of puts the whole "World Trade Center Mosque" contoversy into perspective at http://newspile.weebly.com/

    August 27, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
    • to mimsie

      these are the sites you should be looking

      'the religion of peace dot com'
      'jihad watch dot org'
      'faith freedom dot org'

      August 27, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  11. GSA

    Pope John Paul would say it's a great idea to open this center....as long as he gets one floor for himself to hold his weekly boyscouts meeting, lol.

    August 27, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  12. Bob

    Who cares what Pope John Paul would say? I question the reasoning behind anyone who devotes their lives to something that's been proven to be wrong multiple times.

    August 27, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  13. American Cynic

    Movie quote: Prez = Americans. Alien = Muslims/Islamists:

    President:I know there is much to learn from each other if we can make a truce. We can find a way to Co-exist. can there be a peace between us?
    Alien: Peace? NO PEACE!
    President: What is it you want us to do?
    Alien: Die... Die.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  14. mimsie

    Good story that sort of puts the whole "World Trade Center Mosque" contoversy into perspective at http://newspile.weebly.com/

    August 27, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
    • American Cynic

      If you really think this mosque is a good idea, you have your head in the sand and the muslims will blow your backside off while you're not looking.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
  15. David Johnson

    Let's do another quick survey: How many years do you think Pope John Paul was actually dead before they announced it?

    Every time I saw him on television, it was like "Weekend at Bernies"

    August 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  16. David Johnson

    What would Pope John Paul do?

    Probably fall asleep... LOL!

    August 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  17. from jihad watch dot org

    Let's do a quick survey. How many victory mosques are there in the Islamic world? How many mosques are either built on the cherished sites of conquered peoples, or converted from the houses of worship of the religions of those conquered peoples? Many thousands. The Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque stand on the site of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The Umayyad mosque in Damascus and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul were once great cathedrals. There are thousands of Hindu temples that were destroyed all over India, and mosques built on their sites. Zoroastrian temples in Persia were converted to mosques, as were churches and synagogues in the Middle East and North Africa. And in every one of these thousands of examples, the mosques were intended to be an expression of Islam's victory and superiority over the religion of the conquered people.

    August 27, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • TammyB

      How many victory mosques have been built HERE in America, to date, and where are they? What sites were they built on to show they are victory mosques?

      August 27, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
    • Iqbal Khan

      Please improve your History, Check American Hegemony on google

      August 27, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
    • zigbert

      There are also churches in present day Iran; do you think that those are victory churches? This whole idea is ridiculous...whenever you have a group of people who have the same religion live in one place, they will naturally build houses of worship corresponding to their religion. For example, we have a lot of churches in the United States because of the many Europeans migrating to the Americas.

      Stop the hate...there are crazy people in every religion...don't be one of them. By the way, I think that people should be allowed to build churches anywhere in the world where they either own or lease land. Where this is not the case, it's not because the majority is muslim, it's because of bigots in their government. Let's not be that way in America.

      August 28, 2010 at 10:52 pm |
  18. CatholicMom

    We must never lose hope for peace amongst all people.

    August 27, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
    • Bob

      CatholicMom, I agree. I too wish for the day when the shackles of religion are gone.

      August 27, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
    • ICEMAN

      ditto

      August 28, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  19. Thiru

    In line with John Paul's inter-religious initiative in 2000, why not we make the Islamic Centre transformed into a Multi-Religious Centre?

    August 27, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  20. Reality

    If John P II was living today, he would be getting a pink slip any day now. Why?

    One more time:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity by the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" will quickly converge these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, pope, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired. Ditto for houses and classes of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:04 am |
    • Iqbal Khan

      Reality,can U please check this, The Ugly Truth by Alan Sabrosky
      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25028.htm

      August 27, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
    • Reality

      Khan,

      – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “square one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

      – Bin La-d-en has been cornered under a rock in Western Pakistan since 9/11.

      – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      August 27, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
    • vishy89

      Wow! I like this. There is some hope for this world at last!! Bravo!

      August 29, 2010 at 12:18 am |
    • vishy89

      [q] Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity by the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" will quickly converge these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, pope, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion ..............................[q]

      Wow! I like this. There is some hope for this world at last!! Bravo

      August 29, 2010 at 12:22 am |
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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.