September 13th, 2010
10:55 AM ET

Imam calls for moderates to join together, fight extremism

NEW YORK (CNN) -  Saying America has let extremists "hijack the agenda,"the imam behind a controversial proposal to place an Islamic community center and mosque near Manhattan's ground zero said Monday he wants to create a platform where the voice of moderate Muslims can be amplified.

"This is an opportunity that we must capitalize on, so those who teach moderation will have a megahorn," Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf told the Council on Foreign Relations.

"We come together at a time of great crisis and danger," he said. "What began as a dispute over a community center in lower Manhattan has spawned and grown into a much larger controversy about the relationship between my beloved religion and my beloved country, between Islam and America.

"The events of the past few weeks have really saddened me to my very core," he said. "I regret that some have misunderstood our intentions. I'm deeply distressed that in this heated political season, some have exploited
this issue for their own agendas."

Since 1983, Rauf said he has served as imam of a mosque in New York's Tribeca neighborhood, 12 blocks north of the site of the former World Trade Center. The Twin Towers, he said, defined the neighborhood's skyline and were part of its daily life. Some of his congregants died on September 11, 2001, he said, and Muslims grieved alongside their neighbors and helped in efforts to rebuild.

"I belong to this neighborhood, ladies and gentlemen," he said. "I'm a devout Muslim. I pray five times a day - sometimes more, if I can - and I observe the rituals required by my faith. And I'm also a proud American
citizen, let no one forget that. I vote in elections, I pay taxes, I pledge allegiance to the flag, I am a Giants fan."

Muslims play a role in American history, from the African Muslims brought over as slaves to the Muslims of today, he said.

Immigrants to the United States have traditionally faced challenges in fitting in, he said, and been targeted for rejection by other groups - Jews, Catholics, African-Americans and Hispanics, among others, he said. Each time, the group has been able to overcome those challenges. "Now, it is our turn, as Muslims, to drink from this cup."

Every religion has extremists, he noted. "Islam categorically rejects the killing of innocent people. Terrorists violate the sanctity of human life and corrupt the meaning of our faith," he said. "In no way do they represent our religion and we must not let them define

He said there is a battle to be fought - but it's not jihad against nonbelievers, as Muslim extremists say.
"The real battlefront, the real battle we must wage together today, is not between Muslims and non-Muslims, but it is between moderates of all faith
traditions against the extremists of all the faith traditions. We must not let the extremists, whatever their faith, whatever their political persuasion, hijack the discourse and hijack the media. That only fuels greater extremism."

Rauf espoused creating a coalition of moderates from all faiths to combat extremism. "Everybody's looking for a Hail Mary pass," he said. "It won't happen in this situation."

"The story is not over," he said. "What happens right here, right now, in our city matters, and it matters more than ever. The way we confront our problems, the way we speak about them, the way we seek to reconcile our
differences is watched" across the world.

"Is there really a need for an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan?" he said. "Is it worth all this firestorm? The answer, ladies and gentlemen, is a categorical 'Yes.' Why? Because this center will be a place for all faiths to come together as partners, as stakeholders, in mutual respect. It will bring honor to the city of New York."

"Let us therefore reject those who would use this crisis and the sacred memory of 9/11 to achieve their own ends," he said. "Let us especially not exploit the memories of the victims of that tragedy or the suffering of their families and friends. Let us condemn the use of holy texts or religious symbols for political or financial gain, even for fame."

A number of things have combined to bring Muslim extremism to the forefront, he said, including political and socioeconomic issues along with religious perceptions shaped by the media, which have created a "witches' brew."

Right now, "we have a situation, or a status quo, where the extremists can hijack the agenda," he said. And despite all our our intelligence, "we haven't figured out how to quiet them down."

During a question-and-answer session, Rauf would say little about negotiations regarding the community center, only that "we are exploring all options as we speak right now, and we are working through what will be a solution, God willing, that will resolve this crisis, defuse it, and not create any of the unforeseen circumstances that we do not want to see happen."

Asked whether compromise was among the options under consideration, he said, "Everything is on the table."

Asked whether he anticipated such a controversy over the community center, Rauf said no. When the news became public, with a front-page New York Times story in December, "nobody objected," he said.

On what he would have done differently, he said, "we would try to do it differently. We would have had different stakeholders ... maybe not even do it
at all." He said he is not suggesting those against the center are radicals. But "there is a lot of unawareness of Islam in this country, which is why I urge people to understand it," he said.

The idea that Muslims are happy about extremism is incorrect, he said. "They're miserable, and they want something better, and we don't know how to give it to them because radical extremists have hijacked our discourse."

"The important part of what I'm trying to do, and my work, is that ... I want a space where the voice of the moderates can be amplified," he said. "It's not good enough to teach where no students will hear you."

On the idea of strict Islamic or Sharia law, Rauf said Muslims already practice sharia law - in their dietary restrictions, when they pray, fast or when they bequeath their estates to their children under American law, for

Ninety percent of Sharia law is consistent and compatible with the U.S. Constitution, he said, and the areas of difference are "small and minor."

- CNN Belief Blog

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

soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Lee Oates

    I think we should run the Imam as President in 2012. He is one of the few intelligent men I have listened too in America lately. Build the mosque and promote real peace between religions. Don't encourage racism and Islamaphobia by giving in to the nuts.

    September 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
    • Tina

      Hear Hear 🙂 After looking up what he has done here and around the world, after hearing about what other religious leaders say about this guy, I can see he genuinely cares and how hard he works to bring all people together. He probably should not run for office, instead, keep doing what he is doing (for the State Dept, govt liason, raising money, etc.) Leave the crap to the politicians.

      September 21, 2010 at 12:37 am |
  2. Mike

    Have any of you heard of Taqqiya as used in the Quran? Maybe Imam Rauf is using this since he is in a country of infidels. Read the Quran and know the truth.

    September 15, 2010 at 9:03 pm |
  3. ofir

    WHAT RELIGION ISLAM SCHOOLS DO FOR AMERICA, i don't get the idea? they only teach the quran what god is that to american society, workforce or economy?
    i see that the more religios more crazy, there are some muslims that are not so close to their religion so thay are better people
    and intigrate , the people who do not want to intigrate should got to their country,i think it's only fair, DON'T COME HERE TO DESTROY THE VALUES AND RIP SOCIETY , we are proud in america , we speak english and live western life happy , if you don't like it then leave to islamic state, more then that i saw the other day on youtube video how american muslim set american flag on fire on ny street, i can't understand why he is not taken out of the country , shame! we need to protect america rauf and his FRIENDS don't

    September 15, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • bostonjim

      Sooo...we speak english here; but we do not bother to learn proper grammar.

      September 15, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
  4. ofir

    if imam rauf love america then he should never thought of building a MOSQUE on ground zero .it's not about sensitivity alone, it's about dignity and RESPECT ,AND SURE IT GOES BACK to basic clash with what america stands for,values and dignity and the the freedom here should not is not be misused or ABUSED , islam as we know today do not stand for any freedom AT ALL!!! ON A PERSONAL LEVEL, ON A COMMUNITY LEVEL , STREET LEVEL OR GLOBAL .none! it's clear america should watch how many mosque being built here , WHAT IS THE FUTURE HOLDS IF WE DO NOT REEDUCATE THE NEW GENERATION TO BE BETTER PEOPLE WITH MORALS AND LESS RELIGION ATTACHMENTS,

    September 15, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  5. elenore

    The problem is that Muslims tell people especially US Christians learn of Islam,and when you learn of Islam like Mormons,there is pedophilia,violence,slavery,racism,and Polygamy,the same reasons why Christians take the old testament as history.The more I learn the more I am grossed out by both Religions.I wish I hadn't learned of either and was blissfully ignorant defending but now I can't anymore.Islam and Mormon religion lacks what Christians think of as morality.Buddha however was an alright man.

    September 14, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  6. AngryMobVoter

    If this guy's intentions where truly honorable and in line with most religious teaching, he would not be pushing to build this in that area. He would know many Americans are very sensitive to this since thousands of Americans were brutally killed in the area by Muslim terrorists. That fact he would continue to push this plan is clear evidence he has ulterior motives.

    Obama's failure to understand this shows again how out of touch he is with the American people.


    September 14, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  7. nosloJ lA

    !yob ynnos ruoy sti ,imam

    September 14, 2010 at 6:45 am |
  8. Ferdinand of Aragon


    September 14, 2010 at 5:13 am |
    • Tina

      @Ferdinand of Aragon: this Imam does not have the ability to grant you these wishes. HE IS AMERICAN. Not Arabic. Furthermore Arabia is not a moderate Muslim country, nor is it a free country. What the hell does building a church in Arabia have to do with building a community center (or even a mosque) in America? I know I know, I am being purposefully obtuse to your prejudiced words. But you dont want a fair dialog anyway DO YOU!?

      September 21, 2010 at 12:32 am |
  9. Bill

    Totally agree with Imam, however, since the world is getting smaller and more accessible (read: Internet, mass media), I would like to see Imam helping and promoting the construction of Catholic Church, Orthodox Church and Synagogue in Iraq, Iran, Palestine, etc.
    As soon as this will happen I would be in support of Mosque at Ground Zero.

    September 13, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      I agree. Heck I would love to see more Muslim engagment on more local interfaith issues.

      I guess I am waiting for the day when the members of the local mosque go down to the synagoge to support them with a project.

      I find myself more and more on the fence with this. I
      know Muslims but every now and then somethings just makes me feel that so many feel that non Muslims are so so much less than Muslims.

      It seems that people have been fighting for organized Chrisitianity to be more open to other faiths. Almost to a shaming level but with Islam it seems the powers that be seem to have no such issues. Question CNN, what's the NYC mosque imans view on gay marrage. Please go and ask that question and get back with us.

      September 13, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
    • ofir

      i think you don't understand what islam teach , the islam do not accept anything else but the study of quran and it's vicious
      just search fitna movie on youtube by greet wilder you will learn everything you need to know
      in the reading of the quran there is hatred like you never seen before , muslims that read closly the quran and more fanatics

      September 15, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • Tina

      He HAS!! Simple internet search-look up the work of this Imam and you will see how much he has done interfaith.

      September 21, 2010 at 12:27 am |
  10. whiteknight

    I think that that imam and all those in favor of the victory mosque should be executed by firing squad because this is not a peaceful religion nor that that imam a reasonable or pacifist muslim he's a terrorist like all the rest of them who basically threatened the US on television for the purposed quran burning and although not nationally televised hundreds of Americans including myself burn that evil book on September 11th to protest the terrorist sleeper cell mosque that is to be build near ground zero I guess we should let it be built and then some saintly terrorist's could maybe be so kind as to sling an RPG into it and bring it down like they did the twin towers 9 years ago. Islam is in no way peaceful and those who believe they are need to pull the wool out of your eyes and watch closely the hatred of these people not to mention we have a terrorist for a president who sympathizes with everything they do and feeds on the poor and the weak and we need to send all of them including him back to their country of origin even if by force!

    September 13, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
  11. Sam

    It is good to see that a moderate, reasonable muslim (which is a representation of the Islamic majority) is finally getting some attention. Many peaple dont know anything about Islam, have never read the Qu'ran, and have never visited a mosque. Their knowledge of comes from a barrage of ignorant misinformation, thus allowing the ignorance to spread.
    The truth is that the Qu'ran,like the Bible, NEVER states that it is good to mureder infidels, or abuse women (the Prophet's wife was his boss). It is a set of guidelines that tell you how to honour God by leading a good life. It states you must recieve education, pray daily, and be successful. Islam prohibits alcohol because it degrades you and makes you less of a person. The Qu'ran says heaven is open not just to Muslims, but any tolerant and good human being. Just go ask any normal person person who believes in Islam and ask them to tell you what it really means, not what you hear from ignorant people who don't know what there talking about.
    Every religion has extremists. During the Spanish Inquisition, millions upon millions of women and "heretics" were burned and tortured. In Islam, there are many pathetic individuals who commit extreme acts and are stupid enough to believe God is on their side in this. These people get so much publicity as the face of Islam when really they are more of a twisted religion of its own. These people do not represent Islam. They are not Muslims.

    September 13, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  12. Mina79

    Moderate Muslims have come together – it is called AHMADIYYAT and the Muslims for Peace movement. http://www.alislam.org
    We should look into groups such as these, visit their mosques, and realize there are many peace loving muslims in the world.

    September 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  13. Ariely

    Excellent idea!!!
    Yes-Create a platform where the voices of moderate Muslims will be amplified!!!
    Pls consider to build this platform in Saud Arabia or Egypt.
    Do it the Arab language.
    This is the way to amplify the moderate Muslims ideas to the 1.3billion Muslims

    It moderate influence on the 1.3 billion Muslims will not be effective in English in an infidel country.

    .Pls define as well the values that will be promoted.
    Will you deal with the main issues difference deviding all world 21 century cultures and Muslims?
    Leading to the many arm conflicts between Muslims and all the other cultures?
    !!! 21 century cultures narrative is based on:
    All culture can coexist peacefully.
    No one demands world supremacy.
    Human rights and opportunity for all.

    !!!! Muslim narrative:
    Islam worldwide by sward.
    No human rights, freedom of speech/
    No equality to non Islam religions.
    Thank you for reading.
    Could you reply to the above simple questions?

    September 13, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
    • Tina

      @Ariely: S Arabia is (politically) not a moderate Muslim country. And the moderate Muslims of the world do not speak Arabic. Your questions are strange/not clear and there seems to be a problem with your ESL skills.

      September 21, 2010 at 12:24 am |
    • Tina

      @Ariely: You are posting in a blog about a moderate Muslim leader, but your narrative is very extremist.

      September 21, 2010 at 12:25 am |
  14. brggen1

    Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, speaks well, though I’m not sure if he remembers he said to not give into the extremists. Now just when I thought he was speaking about the Muslim extremists he’s now speaking about the American extremists who do not want this Mosque build so close to the 9/11 sites. He speaks of those that are exploiting this issue for their own agendas; does he mean us?
    When the Jews, Catholics, African-Americans and Hispanics were facing challenges “fitting in” they did not shove their wants, desires and beliefs down our throats. Contrary to what the Imam said “ It is NOT the MUSLIM turn to drink from this cup”
    It is no-ones turn to drink from that cup; it never was! That cup is an earned privilege it is Not FREE! You are not just given that cup.
    If you want to fit in anywhere, especially in AMERICA, don’t do it by veiled threats and do not tell us what you deserve.
    We don’t want you anywhere near the 9/11 site, grating us will not help your cause. Take the hint. Move your Mosque or forget about it.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  15. bruceben9

    rauf is not to be trusted. now he threatens us with terrorist acts if the mosque is moved. yes, a thinly veiled threat. he does not belong here. open your eyes america. the goal of islam is to overtake from within. it has been said before by the muslims. why do you think there is such little condemnation of terrorist acts from so-called moderate muslims? i say it's because they don't have a big problem with these acts. where are their voices? the silence is deafening and very telling. when i look into rauf' eyes i do not see a bridge builder. i see the look of evil. he's not fooling me.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
    • Sam

      Thinly veiled terrorist threats? Will overtake from within? You open your eyes bruceben9, crazed conspiracy theory will not make your point seem sensible. Maybe you and some other conspiracy buffs can convene in a little storage room and discuss crazy conspiracy theory.

      September 13, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • bruceben9

      well sam, how many like you sat around accusing folks of being whacko while hitler killed 12million? plenty of folks accuse the US govt. of plenty of covert nefarious activities including myself. i don't trust politicians or govts. for the most part and i don't trust these folks either. i'll give you one guess at who was one of hitler's biggest supporters. take your conspiracy/whacko theories and you know what you can do with them.

      September 14, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
  16. Reality

    The real Islam is shown in the following list of koranic-driven acts of terror and horror. Rauf, the profiteering imam, should insist that the koran be rewritten if he really is serious about doing something constructive. Until then no male Muslim to include Rauf can be trusted.

    for new members only:

    1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

    1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

    2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

    3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,481 and 924 died in non-combat, 97,172 – 106,047 Iraqi civilians killed, iraqbodycount.org/ and

    4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

    5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

    6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

    7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

    8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

    9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

    10) Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,116 killed in action, 902 killed in non-combat situations as of 08/10/2010. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

    11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

    12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

    13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

    14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations

    15) Followed by the daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings every day in the terror world of Islam.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
    • Kate


      Took your sweet time getting here didn't you? I was beginning to think you'd run off 😛

      I have a couple of statistics for you in return: 200,000 Muslims murdered by Christians in the Bosnian Genocide.

      800,000 Christians murdered by Christians in the Rwandan Genocide.

      In the latter case, priests got groups of tutsis into churches believing they would gain sanctuary then participated in the massacres.

      Seems to me that nationalists are a bigger threat to pretty much anyone than anyone else.

      Just observin'

      September 13, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • Stephen Real

      You talk like you just got punk by the James gang.
      America is bigger then being punked by the James gang
      and his cohorts the Yonger brothers.
      Your picture of the world ain't big enought Wyatt.

      September 13, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
    • Mat

      Mr. Reality i think you should also point out how many people and troops died because of stupid morons like you who voted "Yes lets Invade all the countries in the world"...

      September 13, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
    • Reality

      For new members only:

      Some elements of our War on Terror, Horror and Aggression:

      -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,481 and 924 died in non-combat, 97,172 – 106,047 Iraqi civilians killed as of 8/10/2010 mostly due the Shiite and Sunni suicide bombers.

      – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,116 killed in action, 902 killed in non-combat situations as of 08/10/2010. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

      – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

      – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

      – Libya has become almost civil. Recently Libya agreed to pay $1.5 billion to the victims of their terrorist activities. Apparently this new reality from an Islamic country has upset OBL and his “cra-zies” as they have thre-atened Libya. OBL sure is a di-sgrace to the world especially the Moslem world!!! Or is he???

      – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

      – 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 “squ-are 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.

      – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols will follow soon.

      – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

      – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

      – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.

      – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

      – And of course the bloody terror brought about the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

      September 13, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • ofir

      YOU ARE RIGHT ! the quran seemed to written by lunatic , the way he see it, something is wrong, it's wrong to say thing like jews pigs and kill infedel, this is not holy any any way shape or form it's discrimination !!! thats against any good hearted person
      ISLAM SHOULD REDEFINE WHAT IT STAND FOR AS I SEE THAT RELIGION seem fake no offence to any one or any muslim person, just logicly, that is evil!

      September 15, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • Mike

      Have any of you heard of Taqqiya as used in the Quran? Maybe Imam Rauf is using this since he is in a country of infidels. Read the Quran and know the truth.

      September 15, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
    • Tina

      Go ahead and list just 15 acts by Christian fundamentalists as well. Isn't that what you are trying to debate here~? Islamic terrorists against Christ-like peacefulness of our Christian Brotherhood?

      September 21, 2010 at 12:17 am |
  17. Curious

    Just Curious. Americans burning a Quran (And it wasn't even a real Quran since it was a Translation) offends Muslims. Because of this Americans decide not to burn the Quran. A Muslim wants to build a Mosque at a site that offends MANY Americans. Even though it offends many Americans and he has convinced Americans not to burn the Quran, he is still going to build the Mosque at a site that many Americans finds to be now sacred.

    I am not picking any sides just showing facts. This is not logical

    September 13, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • Stephen Real

      Hey dude,
      don't include me in your thesis.
      People don't all walk in to one fascista conga line.
      I think your analysis is sophomroic at best and
      juvenile at the least.

      September 13, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
    • Kate


      Part of the problem is the language. It isn't a "Mosque" the way people have been led to envision it, no minarets, no loudspeakers calling to prayer. In terms of prayer space it won't be much different than what is there now and has been for a while – literally, prayer space.

      So people's perceptions have already been warped by the description. Then there's the idea of it being at Ground Zero – it isn't, but calling it a Ground Zero Mosque brings it up into the mental imagery of minarets, loudspeakers, at Ground Zero itself.

      Then there were people so desperate they were dredging into the depths of history to find objections to the name itself.

      Lastly, before Pam Gellar decided to make a big deal out of it (and we still don't know why, or who was behind that), no-one had any issue with this. It only became an issue when politicians trying to gain base votes blew it up out of all proportion, with imagery designed to inflame people into the mess it became.

      No-one seems to mind that politicians and nationalists hijacked 9/11 to further their own political goals.

      When people realized that the first amendment barred the government from simply banning the project, then it became all about sensitivities, and 9/11 victims, and sacred ground.

      And to be honest, there never was any connection between the community center and the activities of the Westboro Baptist Church-supporting Joneses in Florida. When that was first being promoted, they (the Joneses) said it was to send a message to Muslims, it was never being done to try and leverage anything to do with Park51, it just warped into that as a cause when the pressure became too great.

      People got manipulated and their emotions played with all so nationalists could stir up trouble, and politicians could eke out a handful more votes.

      Religion, in these cases, was really an afterthought.

      Just notin'

      September 13, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
    • Blessed Geek

      No minarets? That's a disappointment.

      In NYC, there is the grand ol St Patrick's (is that called Gothic classical architecture?), St Thomas and St John's. And then the Central Synagogue. I am envisioning a mosque with all the grandeur of Turkish architecture. Why, is it just gonna be a stupid neo-flat-roof utilitarian no-architecture? C'mon Imam, if you're gonna build a mosque, at least make it look nice and classical.

      September 13, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
    • Kate

      @Blessed Geek

      It's NYC, they'll be lucky if it doesn't have billboards every 5 vertical feet advertising Prep H and Coca Cola, more cell towers on the roof than NSA has in Maryland, a deli in the basement, a laundromat on the second floor, and a (no alcohol) sports bar around back!

      The str|p club's already handled around the corner 😛

      Just cynicismin'

      September 13, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
    • myopincounts

      one thing imam and the muslims preach on is how important peace is in america.They know 70% of americans do not want the mosque built near ground zero.Now if the mosque is all about peace move it.No they tell us if we dont put the mosque their we will be under threat by radicals.Our radicals were 50 or so people who wanted to burn the quran and their radical s are in the thousands.what is that saying

      September 15, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • Tina

      What?! A translation IS a REAL Quran~! Ask any Muslim. A translation in the language of the region is more valuable even. Not all Muslims are Arabic, and in fact, the 'original" Arabic Quran that is recited...well, no one speaks that very much anymore (just like the prose in the Bible) so translation and hadith (interpretation) are very important and sacred.

      September 21, 2010 at 12:12 am |
  18. Stephen Real

    Just build it!

    September 13, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  19. Kate

    If nothing else, this whole thing has shown just how easy it is for extremists of all stripes to exploit a situation and get the masses following along behind them blindly.

    I call it keeping up with the Joneses – Too many Jim Jones wannabes, not enough Tom Jones wannabes.

    Just sayin'

    September 13, 2010 at 11:39 am |
    • peace2all


      Kate-Where have you been? You been missin' all of the fun in the article "Churches read from Qur'an in face of proposed Qur'an burning."

      Lot's of wing-nuts a happenin' over there.....come on over to that sand box....it's a hoot...!


      September 13, 2010 at 11:43 am |
    • Kate


      I know, but they've been posting so frenetically there the comments feed can't keep up – CNN hasn't configured its feed to show more than the last 10 comments ... So I'm here waiting to ambush Reality 🙂

      Just lurkin'

      September 13, 2010 at 11:50 am |
    • peace2all


      Yeah..... I think I 'ambushed' Reality on 'trying to define Islam as a religion of peace' article.

      He is a slippery one that Reality......Never can seem to get a full understanding of....Reality....:-)

      Gotta' love him though....


      September 13, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
    • Kate


      I saw that one, a hit, a palpable hit I say!

      You were right about the Qur'an reading thread, I never thought I'd find a way to work bulimia into a comment around here but lo and behold, someone was dumb 😛

      Just crackin' up

      September 13, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
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.