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Interfaith center at embattled NYC mosque?
Daisy Khan, pictured in August 2010, is the wife of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, replaced in January as Park51's spiritual leader.
March 30th, 2011
02:11 PM ET

Interfaith center at embattled NYC mosque?

By Allan Chernoff, CNN Senior Correspondent

New York (CNN) - The wife of the former imam for a controversial Islamic cultural center says she and her husband are considering creating an interfaith cultural center in that facility, a surprising announcement in light of the recent rift between the center's owners and the activist couple.

Daisy Khan discussed the idea at a More Magazine luncheon Tuesday, saying the interfaith center could be housed at the Park51 site - controversial because of its proximity to ground zero, where the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell in the terrorist attacks of 9/11 - or at another location.

Khan is married to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who was replaced in January as Park51's spiritual leader. In the statement announcing that change, the group also wrote that "Imam Feisal and Daisy Khan will not be speaking on behalf of Park51, nor will they be raising funds for the project."

Khan, who never held any formal position with Park51, did not immediately respond to CNN requests for comment, and a Park51 spokesman had no comment on the matter. Khan is executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement.

Park51, which has faced fierce opposition due to its plans and location, intends to offer cultural, social and recreational programs to serve the Lower Manhattan community in a new building two blocks north of ground zero. The location is currently being used for Islamic prayer services.

The Park51 group expects to announce its first major funding pledges in the coming months and will have new leaders join its board of directors, according to a person close to the project. Sharif El-Gamal, president of Park51, has been lining up support during meetings with potential donors, who are waiting for the organization to receive IRS tax-exempt non-profit status, which would allow contributions to be tax deductible.

- CNN Belief Blog

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

soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Henry

    Tell em to go back to IRaq. There having a sale on Mosques and Muslims.

    May 10, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  2. asdf

    It is correct to people should have a right to freedom. But what if that right to freedom takes away freedom from others.

    That is what political islam is supposed to do, create a society in whilch only muslims have religious rights. All religions are not EQUAL.

    So watch out.

    August 1, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  3. Janet

    Can we now build a church in Abbotabad - right where Osama Bin Laden was taken out?

    May 4, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  4. Paul Iorio

    My main comment about the whole controversy is summed in a humorous song I wrote and recorded, "They're Building a Mosque in My Mind": http://www.zshare.net/audio/8150103831cf98f9/

    April 16, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
  5. GSA

    @BG – It took you how many sentences to basically say we both agree that if US needs to have certain clothing removed for checks for their security then so be it. Now how they deem one piece of clothing more dangerous than another when they are essentially the same is the question at hand.
    My original question still stands as well, why not try and change the laws in your country to prevent this Mosque from being built instead of crying here on a blog.
    If you think i've failed good for you, I am not the one scared of everything and anything that is different. I get it, 9/11 scared you and everything wrong in the US is someone elses fault not your own, you're all innocent and the world is evil, blah blah blah! Enjoy your wonderful country, i'll be skiing in the mountains and smoking some of Gods fresh herb living it up in the best Country in the world. By the way, don't make us angry because the last time the US and Canada went to war I believe the White House burned, lol, now i'm just talking smack for fun!

    March 31, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • BG

      " i'll be skiing in the mountains and smoking some of Gods fresh herb"

      Don't beaugard. There may be a mass exodus to your lovely country soon. I've been to BC. I like it. I'd get along nicely. I hear the food at the Gurdwaras is terrific. I can bring scalloped potatoes.

      March 31, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • BG

      ... and cheesecake !

      March 31, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • BG

      And as an aside, the more effective route to the 'mosque problem' would be to have Islam designated as something other than a religion, thereby making it ineligible for protections.

      March 31, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  6. Derek

    http://www.666blacksun.com/Jews_Push_Christianity.htm

    Three key offenives the Jews use to destroy Gentiles are infiltration, confusion, and creating inner division and disunity. For example, the Jews pretend to be against Christianity, but truth be known, they know at the upper levels, Christianity, along with its relative of Islam are both Jewish programs that are used to destroy Gentiles. Christianity has been used in Europe and for the destruction of mainly white peoples....

    http://www.angelfire.com/empire/serpentis666/HOME.html

    March 31, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • Weatherman

      STFU Moron.

      March 31, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • Mr. Sniffles

      Now, now, Weatherman, be polite. The polite way is "STFU Mr. Moron."

      March 31, 2011 at 2:02 am |
    • Frederica

      Derek, people are self-destruct. No need for anything. Judeo-Christianity alone saved mankind and educated us to be civil. Hope Jews remember that.

      March 31, 2011 at 4:30 am |
  7. Reality

    Contributions must be down this year so Daisy is making another "splash" of interfaith when we all know that the koran needs be changed before we can trust her or any other Muslim

    March 30, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  8. Frederica

    This is Islam contaminated. Interfaith means quest for Truth terminated.

    March 30, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  9. Mr. Sniffles

    Wow, just look at all the bigots seethe and rage here. The terrorists sure won with you guys. al Qaeda wanted Americans to react with extremist and repression so that the Muslim world would arise in anger. You are afraid, and hence reacting with anger, and doing what they wanted you to do. Bin Laden is very pleased that you are acting as he wanted you to act.

    And you are doing exactly what your own favorite politicians want you to do. By keeping you fearful and angry, they get your vote and they get your money every time. You stop thinking and do exactly what they want. They terrorize you also, but you are too blinded with fear to see it. There is no "creeping sharia" in America, and only a complete idiot who is high on fear and rage could ever believe such tiny-minded nonsense.

    So you are the rubes, the yokels, the pawns in other people's games. Pat Condell is making lots of money on you rubes. There's no money in being reasonable, but as Limbaugh and Beck and Fox (and Michael Moore too, for that matter) have shown again and again, there are millions upon millions to be made on fear and hate and wild accusations.

    You are the rube, yelling "wake up" at everyone from your deep sleep.

    March 30, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • tiny-minded nonsense

      Oh, ok. I feel better now.

      Wait a minute... what's this?

      https://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/

      March 30, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  10. theoldadam

    Pat Condell is spot on.

    He's knows what Islam is all about. The fact that they want a mosque at ground zero show just how much they care about the sensitivity of Americans on this subject. They DON'T. It's a big F.U. to America.

    Islam. Hate filled, repressive, intolerant, Islam.

    March 30, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • Bethe123

      Agreed, Pat Condell is spot on.

      March 30, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  11. Methusalem

    Miss Daisy and her drivers are switching directions every other week - typical of Muslims. By the way, since when is Islam considered a faith?

    March 30, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  12. MadMo

    We all know how the prayer rooms in colleges are working. Another opportunistic to creeping Sharia.
    Check it out in FaithFreedom.org

    March 30, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  13. GSA

    @BG – Sikhs do have to take their turbans off at airports. Some have protested but if you would do some research you would see the majority don't mind it at all, it's just an inconvenience like having to remove shoes. Take a look at some of my older posts, i'm all for Sikhs having to remove their turbans as long as those with the security companies keep the checks at the airports fair and unbiased and everything is okay with me. What your point was, i'm not sure but thanks for trying better luck next time. Now go run along and spend your time being scared from terrorists, politicians and anything else you've been told is bad!

    March 30, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • A Realist

      What's next the TSA are going to bend over person coming back from Amsterdam.

      March 30, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • BG

      @ GSA

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/11/08/sikh-americans-oppose-turban-screening-at-airports/

      You know, last November you and I had a very detailed conversation about turbans. (I change names periodically. Back then I was 'honestanon.' Over the holidays I was 'Let Us Prey.' During a particularly militant mood I used 'A Solid Well-Placed Punch in the Mouth' and '.308.' So what's in a name? I change neckties, too. Sometimes paisley ties, sometimes power ties. Right now I happen to be in a disco music phase...) Anyway, I feel that I have a bit of time and effort invested in an otherwise superficial blog relationship with you, so here's my point...

      When you forwarded your assertion that "... most of the ppl complaining about this building going up are the same ones who complain about immigrants coming to the US and demanding change in laws and policies to meet their needs instead of conforming to the US policies," you missed a very important concept.

      U.S. policies reflect the needs of the U.S. people. You, sir, are Canadian, and as far as I'm concerned, you are not in a position to assert what you think the U.S. people need. In short, you don't count. Sorry. Never mind, as an aside, the fact that your presumption is incorrect on several levels below the superficial one that you're operating on.

      During our earlier 'Turban Talk' (sorry, I know that sounds like a Sikh morning show) your argument morphed from 'turbans shouldn't be removed,' to 'Sikhs are being profiled', to 'it's ok to remove the terrorists turbans.' The emphasis of the CNN article was that three Sikh organization -were- complaining of profiling. As were you. However even after several folks, myself included, pointed out the necessity of removing turbans, you maintained, as you do now, that "... i'm all for Sikhs having to remove their turbans as long as those with the security companies keep the checks at the airports fair and unbiased and everything is okay with me." So you're continuing to dredge what is an obvious and objective necessity through the murk of your subjectivity (which, as I noted earlier, is immaterial.)

      Again, if removing turbans is what the U.S. people need Sikhs to do for their safety and security, you need to do it. And if you think it's 'unfair or biased', too bad. That's why I added the turban question. Too see if accept or deny the needs of the American flying public. It seems that you are still rationalizing and mitigating, so you, in my view, have failed. Ergo, the 'nitwit' reference. Your commentary is tainted and is best disregarded. You are, essentially, superfluous to the gravity of these debates.

      @ Peace2All

      Please come back. I miss your gentle touch.

      March 30, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  14. Reality

    Contributions must be down this year so Daisy is making another "splash" of interfaith when we all know that the koran needs be changed before can trust her or any other Muslim.

    March 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  15. Bethe123

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjS0Novt3X4&w=480&h=390%5D

    March 30, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • BG

      Long live Pat Condell. All you non-muslim, libby-commie, American-hating apologists need to watch every Pat Condell presentation. He's seen what's happened in Europe.

      And for the muslims?

      I don't give a damn what you watch.

      Let's see if I can get Bethe123's Condell video to post... CNN isn't a big Condell video fan.

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjS0Novt3X4&w=640&h=390]

      March 30, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • derp

      Great, more old white guys blabbering about muslims. BORING!!!!

      March 30, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Bethe123

      Excellent!! Pat Condel!!

      March 30, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Have any of you muslim-hating Americans pet!tioned your elected representatives to change your laws about freedom of/from religion? Wouldn't that be more honest than just stirring up hatred? And before you foolishly brand me a muslim/islam-lover, I'm a proud atheist! I hate all religions equally. But harbor no ill will for believers – as in hate the sin, love the sinner.

      March 30, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Muslim Hating American

      No, but we are peti-tioning our elected representatives to re-define Islam from a "religion" to a theocratic-fascist form of government.

      Surprising how receptive they are. Seems they didn't like Nazis either.
      Until they start thinking about oil. Good thing the Nazis didn't have all the oil.

      March 30, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Mr. Sniffles

      What a complete idiot.

      March 30, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Muslim Hating American

      Believe it or not, I wish you great success at getting islam declared "not a religion.". Not because I agree with you, but because I believe that will lead to a conversation about all religions and help move religion towards being considered to be just like astrology. A classic case of be careful what you ask for.

      March 30, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
  16. GSA

    There is no legal basis that it cannot be built there and they have every right to build it.
    Funny thing is most of the ppl complaining about this building going up are the same ones who complain about immigrants coming to the US and demanding change in laws and policies to meet their needs instead of conforming to the US policies. Seems to me that US policy/laws says that it can be built so let them build it.

    March 30, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • BG

      "Funny thing is..." This self-righteous blather comes from someone claiming to be a Sikh living in Edmonton, Canada.

      Tell me, GSA, should Sikhs have to take off their turbans in airport security?

      Nitwit.

      March 30, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  17. Jesús Malverde

    Is there a legal basis that says they cannot build it there?

    March 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • derp

      Nope!

      March 30, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  18. Mr. Sniffles

    I say it should be a temple to Flying Spaghetti Monster. You know, a good Italian restaurant. That would be far better than any religious use.

    March 30, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • PeterVN

      I second that brilliant suggestion. May his noodliness bless you for it.

      RAmen

      March 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • PeterVN

      And pasta be upon you.

      March 30, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      You Pastafarians need to stop preaching false gospel and find your slack with "Bob" Dobbs.
      The Church of the Subgenius offers eternal salvation or triple your money back! All your noodle god offers is an excuse to dress up like a pirate.

      March 30, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • derp

      Sooner or later all of you heathens are going to have to accept that the all knowing creator is Bigfoot.

      You will bow to bigfoot, as he rides his great unicorn around Atlantis. Obey the sasquatch code, or face eternity in a frozen hell along side the abominable snowman.

      March 30, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • Bigfoot

      Hay guiz! Everybody is invited to a free spaghetti dinner at the Flying Spaghetti Monster's house. Bring a date!
      No shoes required. Hats are optional. Blessed napkins available courtesy of Bob's Blessed Napkin Hut. Don't be late!

      March 30, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Mr. Sniffles @ Doc Vestibule @ derp

      LOL ! 🙂

      Peace...

      March 30, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  19. openskynow

    A post faith center for everyone would like to get rid of interfaith massacres! #atheism

    March 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  20. Bethe123

    What part of "No ground zero mosque" do you not understand?

    March 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Nonimus

      The part where you trash the const.itution to implement that idea.

      March 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Creepy Christian

      Yeah! What part of "Freedom of Religion is only for Protestants" don't you understand!

      March 30, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Nonimus

      And, the part about "ground zero mosque." No one is planning a mosque at ground zero.

      March 30, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • BG

      @ Bethe123

      It's an old end-around play. Trouble is, it still walks and quacks like a duck.

      March 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I support the creation of this mosque for two reasons:

      1. It's perfectly legal.

      2. Any serious attempt to stop it will call into question the role of and tolerance for religion in general, in the 21st century. In my opinion, this can only lead to less tolerance and special consideration of religion, and that, and anything else that hastens the demise of childish superst!tions, can only be a good thing.

      March 30, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • BG

      @ HAA

      I tried to par.se your statement. I'm sorry, it still makes no sense to me.

      March 30, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Luke

      Bethe123

      Aww, someone is clearly influenced by politcal nonsense and bigotry instead of facts and rationale. It's just so cute!

      March 30, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • BG

      @ Luke

      You have it backwards. She is clearly influenced by facts and rationale instead of politcal (sic) nonsense and bigotry.

      March 30, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • derp

      "What part of "No ground zero mosque" do you not understand?'

      What part of "it's their property and they can do whaver the heck they want on it" do you not understand.

      March 30, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @BG

      1. There's nothing illegal about building a mosque where they want to, so they should be allowed to.

      2. If anyone trys to prevent them from building a perfectly legal mosque because it is of a particular religion, the laws protecting *all* religions will be affected. I highly doubt that the law will be changed for a single religion, so any restrictions on this mosque and/or islam will also restrict *all* other religions. I believe that the more religion is discussed in public, the crazier it appears and the fewer adherents there will be. In summary, the more fuss that is made about the so-called ground zero mosque, the worse religion looks and that is a good thing to this atheist.

      March 30, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • BG

      @ HAA

      " If anyone trys to prevent them from building a perfectly legal mosque because it is of a particular religion, the laws protecting *all* religions will be affected."

      A contradictory statement. An attempt at editorial based on upon erroneous presumption.

      "I highly doubt that the law will be changed for a single religion, so any restrictions on this mosque and/or islam will also restrict *all* other religions."

      And this wouldn't be a good thing for atheists, because?

      "I believe that the more religion is discussed in public, the crazier it appears and the fewer adherents there will be."

      Don't preclude the possibility that this could become a double-edged sword.

      "In summary, the more fuss that is made about the so-called ground zero mosque, the worse religion looks..."

      No, the worse Islam looks.

      " ...and that is a good thing to this atheist."

      It doesn't seem as if you know exactly what is or isn't a good thing for you.

      March 30, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @BG

      With apologies for not be clearer previously...

      " If anyone trys to prevent them from building a perfectly legal mosque because it is of a particular religion, AND ARE SUCCESSFUL, the laws protecting *all* religions will be affected."

      Everything else should follow logically now. But to be clear, this atheist wants to see all religion gone, but will take delight in the various believer tribes fighting amongst themselves, helping to demonstrate that all religions are silly, to say the least.

      March 30, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • BG

      @ HAA

      For some strange reason I value discourse with you. I know. It's a mystery. So allow me to run this out to a conclusion... Omitting the editorial from what appears to be a thesis statement:

      ... call(ing) into question the role of and tolerance for religion in general (may) lead to less tolerance and special consideration of religion, and that (should) hastens the demise (of religion.)"

      I Who is doing the questioning?
      A. Those opposed to a 'religion.'
      B. Those opposed to 'religions.'

      II What are they questioning?
      A. The need for or appropriateness of public acts demonstrating belief, i.e. praying, or building places of prayer,
      B. Whether said acts are offensive to the public at large,
      C. Whether a specific belief structure is detrimental to the public good

      III Why are they questioning it?
      A. Is it damaging to the safety of a civilization?
      1. Is it personally offensive?
      2. Is it morally subversive?

      ------–
      Go to it.

      Kidding.... my point is that one groups' perspective is not going to override the interests of the civilization, whether national or global. The pervasive interests of society as a whole, will, on the other hand, ensure the continuation of that society. What you're asking for is an impossibility. Kind of like some things on my wife's 'honeydew' list.

      And I promised myself that I wouldn't get engaged in religious debate... sorry.

      March 30, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • Bethe123

      "Luke
      Bethe123
      Aww, someone is clearly influenced by political nonsense and bigotry instead of facts and rationale. It's just so cute!"

      Luke --(LOL) Talk is cheap. Present your facts, and we will see exactly who is the one who has the rational arguments...unfortunately, I seriously doubt you possess any facts, which is why your original statement was vacuous.

      March 31, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • Oobie

      "no ground zero mosque" doesn't make any sense. It's not a proper sentence at all and aren't those supposed to be proper nouns as well?

      March 31, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • Mark

      "What part of "No ground zero mosque" do you not understand?"

      Um, just most of it, to be precise.

      The "no" I get. You are scared, ignorant and easily riled by demagogues who count on you joining with them in boosting Al Qaida recruitment leverage overseas. You are an unwitting dupe against the security of this country.

      The "ground zero" I don't get, since the proposed cultural center is actually two blocks away.

      The "mosque" part is dubious as well since it's a cultural center in which a prayer facility is actually a small fraction of the floorplan space. But you are easily manipulated, so naturally your adrenaline overwhelms your brain (or what there is of it).

      So, that's the "part" of "No mosque at ground zero" that I don't get. I hope that helps.

      April 2, 2011 at 3:03 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.