September 8th, 2010
08:23 PM ET

Opinion: Islamic center is historic mark of freedom

Editor's note: Hamid Dabashi is the author of "Iran: A People Interrupted." He is the Hagop Kevorkian professor of Iranian studies and comparative literature at Columbia University in New York. Dabashi's book "Shi'ism: A Religion of Protest" is being published by Harvard University Press in February.

By Hamid Dabashi, Special to CNN

"We are proceeding with the community center, Cordoba House. More important, we are doing so with the support of the downtown community, government at all levels and leaders from across the religious spectrum, who will be our partners. I am convinced that it is the right thing to do for many reasons."

The confident and reassuring words of Feisal Abdul Rauf, the chairman of the Cordoba Initiative and the imam of the Farah mosque in Lower Manhattan in his New York Times op-ed piece Tuesday, just four days shy of the ninth anniversary of the horrors of 9/11, speak of a vision always dreamt of - and occasionally delivered - in this country.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

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

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Iqbal khan

    With all due respect Stop arguing and Lets compare Call for prayer

    September 10, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  2. Watcher

    This is all nonsense. The muslims want a place to perform a pilgrimage to where they can dance on the graves of the infidels they murdered. All else is apologetics. Get real.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  3. Reality

    Quick now to the Professor's rescue:

    Our Five Step Method to Deprogram 14000 Years of Islamic Myths:

    o Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    "1. Belief in Allah"

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

    "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

    "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)

    Mohammed spent thirty days fasting in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

    Accept these five "cleansers" and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

    Analogous methods are available for curing the ills of Christianity and Judaism.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:57 am |
  4. dorarice

    You can't love everybody, because not everybody is worth loving.

    September 8, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
  5. Justin

    I'm sorry i wanna love everybody and im just confused.

    September 8, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
  6. Justin


    September 8, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  7. Justin

    Can i build a giant dond in the mideast.

    September 8, 2010 at 11:11 pm |
  8. Justin

    This guy want's you tax paing money to build this center. He doesn't have any money, forget about ground zero, ypu want or money, to spit in our face. to hell with you. I have so much hate. I have flames coming out my head. I'm uneducated, and stupid but i make scence. tear it down before it's built. You all biggots, for agreeing with this. How about this if IMAM burns a Quaran he can build the center.

    September 8, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  9. Mark from Middle River

    I do not know Kate. Something tells me that there would have been very few "pro" Catholic articles. I do not know why this last one just pushed all the wrong buttons but it seems that if CNN put half the number of pro Christian articles on as they do in an attempt to put out pro Christian articles it would seem more .... Fair and balanced. A lot more than my normal favorite fox.

    Do they not see that all of these one sided articles, and I mean prodominatly Muslim themed articles lend credance to folks such as Reality and ones like the pastor with qurans , when every article is showing only positive Muslim actions. It is if CNN is only talking about one side of Islam.

    I'll say it ..."cue Reality for a cut and paste"

    The other week I suffered through an attack article about how the black church is damaging black women. Imagine that I would see how Islam is doing with their female Muslim issue but not a

    It's time to hear about other faiths and hear a fair balance of articles.

    September 8, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
    • Kate

      @Mark from Middle River

      I have to agree, you put that very well, thank you.

      I do wish they'd post more articles about other faiths, this seems a perfect place for people to learn and ask questions and make good decisions what they think. I know CNN is a news organization, not an educational one, but these blogs have the potential by accident to be just that, and I regret that they aren't used to their full ability yet.

      I'm just not sure if they can't find anything they think would generate as much commenting/page reloads as the topic of Islam obviously does for them.

      (I tried posting on the article about being a Black Catholic when it came out but none of my rewordings managed to make it past the auto filter. Pity :()

      On the bright side, the topics to date have been so vitriol-filled and shown just how crazy people get when certain subjects come up, it's also given me an insight into people I look for comments from whose rationality stands out above the crowd. So maybe not all is lost yet?

      Just sayin'

      September 8, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  10. Mark from Middle River

    Tell us CNN. And this coming from someone who does enjoy posting and reading messages here. Why is it that the belief blog more and more looks like a Islamic board. I mean almost every new blog article is just recycled Muslim Muslim Muslim articles. I mean I do not have that much of an issue with most Muslims but each article is just "pro Muslim " opinions. The rest are just slams on organized Christian groups.

    Do any of those running this blog realize that the more you push and push folks to change the more than likely they will not by posting anti Islamic post.

    This is CNN not aljazeer.

    September 8, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
    • Kate

      @Mark from Middle River

      I don't think these blogs were around when the Catholic Church Child Abuse scandal was at its height, but I get the feeling that they would have been running a horde of Catholic themed posts back then.

      They're just writing what's most popular for the moment. After Dove has finished getting more of our troops killed, and Park51 either remains a shell of a building or an Islamic Center, they'll move on to much more pressing material like the recent highbrow topics of Christians and s3x, or how to minister to pr0n stars.

      Man, my cynicism is showing tonight.

      Just sayin'

      September 8, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
    • Peter F

      That's funny, Mark. I was thinking the exact same thing. Nearly every article is about the ground zero mosque and the controversy that has resulted. I... am.... getting... sick... of... it.

      September 8, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
    • Justin

      i agree, alot of them are pro muslim, and it's like if you diagree, with, you kinda feel like your a trader, or called a biggot. Can't we just all burn Quarans and get along.

      September 8, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
  11. TammyB

    Hamid Dabashi wrote..."The Cordoba House is being opposed by what is worst about this land, and it will be built by the power of what is best." I say, that anyone can sugarcoat it anyway that they want...if those families think of Ground Zero as hallowed ground, which they do, and they oppose a mosque because of bad memories of those that flew the airplanes into the WTC, then the supposed "best" of this land is not even trying to be sensitive to what those families might want. Although legal to build, it does not make it altogether right to do.

    September 8, 2010 at 8:53 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.