Islamic center near ground zero touts first big event as center’s grand opening
The site of the proposed Islamic center near ground zero in Lower Manhattan.
September 19th, 2011
10:28 AM ET

Islamic center near ground zero touts first big event as center’s grand opening

By Heather M. Higgins,CNN

New York (CNN) - Earlier this month, signs of life returned to what was once a gaping pit, frozen in sadness and rife with emotion, as part of the memorial at the World Trade Center opened on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

This week, another grand opening – this one steeped in controversy – is scheduled for just a few blocks away from the site where the Twin Towers once stood.

The first part of Park51, the planned Lower Manhattan Islamic community center that sparked an international controversy last year, is set to open Wednesday with an art exhibit that features photographs of children.

“It is a huge step forward,” said Katerina Lucas, Park51’s chief of staff. “I hope it shows we are about inclusion, not exclusion.”

The photography exhibit, Park51’s first big public event, comprises portraits of children from 169 countries who now live in New York City. The opening coincides with the United Nations’ International Day of Peace.

When plans to construct the high-rise Islamic institution were unveiled last year, a heated debate erupted over whether it was insensitive to build it so close to the site attacked by Islamic extremists.

Though the interfaith center’s leaders said the project was rooted in a spirit of cooperation and coexistence, it provoked vocal opposition from some families of 9/11 victims, politicians and others.

The driving force behind much of this opposition was Pamela Geller, editor and publisher of a blog called Atlas Shrugs.

Geller organized a protest of Park51 on the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11 and says she is appalled at the organization’s decision to highlight the photographs of children.

“It is an obvious and cynical attempt to manipulate public opinion and divert attention away from the Islamic supremacist ties, shady financial dealings, and contradictory statements of the mosque organizers,” Geller said in an e-mail.

But Park 51’s photography exhibit is a reminder that the project is quietly moving forward, despite rumors that it had been put on hold.

With $70,000 raised in under two months via KickStarter.com, a funding platform for creative projects, the remodeled space at 51 Park Place will serve as a temporary community center until groundbreaking for the rest of the building.

The project’s developers, led by Park51 Chairman Sharif El-Gamal, have hired a staff of six and continue to hold Muslim prayers at the space, just north of ground zero. But they are not speculating about a timeline for construction.

In June, El-Gamal parted ways with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric who had been the public face of Park51, over a difference in vision.

At a recent interfaith event honoring 9/11 families, Rauf said his vision to build an American-Muslim identity and enhance multi-faith dialogue hasn’t changed in 20 years.

Even though Rauf isn’t associated with Park51 any longer, he continues to focus his energy on establishing a Muslim center in Chautauqua, New York, with the hope it can be replicated in the United States and around the world.

Park51’s planners say they are committed to their original Lower Manhattan location. They are now seeking to raise $7 to $10 million in financing.

“We have broken some ground, but there are still many hurdles,” Lucas said, pointing to fundraising as the biggest one.

Lucas, who graduated from Harvard Divinity School in 2009, said the upcoming photography exhibition is about showcasing the diversity of New York City, which includes Muslims.

“Islam is not about extremism,” she said. “We can have a meaningful dialogue across religions.”

It’s a message shared by Danny Goldfield, the Brooklyn artist behind the exhibit. He got the idea for his children-focused series while driving from Los Angeles to New York in 2003, right after the war in Iraq started.

“I met Danny Goldfield when Park51 was still a new idea. Danny told me about NYChildren and I said his photographs should be the first event at Park51," El-Gamal said in a statement. "I am proud to say the idea has been realized. Opening this incarnation of the community center is a fantastic accomplishment."

Goldfield photographed children living in New York City’s five boroughs from countries as different as Japan and Zimbabwe and as far apart as Afghanistan and Argentina.

While his pictures have been on display before, this is the first time he has shown them all at once.

The exhibit will be open for approximately three months. Over 700 people have been invited to the opening and Lucas said that others are welcome, too.

“I bring photos together on a wall the same way a space brings people together,” Goldfield said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Art • Islam • New York

soundoff (1,287 Responses)
  1. Richard S Kaiser

    Dan Thompson wrote on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm, stating, "anyone remember Constantinople? So, when we rename New York City to New Mecca, who will be left to complain?"

    Did not the Jews who migrated to the U.S.A. see from their boats, N.Y.C. and they called it "New Jerusalem"?

    September 20, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • JohnQ

      Yup, and look what Muslim's did yo Israel's holiest site. They bulldozed it and built the Al Asqa mosque and the dome of the rock. Now they want to do the same thing here in the US.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • GeoffreyF

      A Mosque is not a siege. Constantinople was overthrown by invaders. The members of this Mosque are all honest US Citizens and they do not deserve your thoughtless, ill educated and mindless comments. Building a place of worship and a center for all people to use is not an invasion. The Interfaith leadership and most of the Political leadership of the city of NY supports this. The people involved are part of the community and still your bigoted, thoughtless and idiotic comment.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • GeoffreyF

      JohnQ – You seriously need to read your history. It was Romans who destroyed the Jewish temple in vengence for a rebellion 400 years before Mohammed was born. When the Mosque was built in Jerusalem, all there was there was a pile of rubble and almost no Jewish population. As you might have heard, we Jews scattered into Europe and Africa after the Romans. During the Spanish Inquisition in which Catholics forced conversions and built victory churches on the sites of Synogogues and Mosques – it was the Muslims of Northern Africa who sheltered and provided a home for the Jewish People.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  2. anerican muslim

    By most you your comments, I can tell you all are either not educated in the bible, or not really Christians, and I would argue both are true. Your ignorance is uncanny and a result of the lack of understanding of your own religion. Jesus did not die for the ignorant to reign supreme, and he spoke of tolerance and self awareness " he who is without sin cast the first stone" I'm Muslim, and American and proud of both. You will never here any Muslim speak ill of Christianity, and no true Christian would speak ill of Islam.

    September 20, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Steve

      Your right the Muslims wont say anything bad about the Christians they just attack them with suicide or terror attacks

      September 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • JohnQ

      Yupper, just look at any Mid-East country right now. Churches AND preachers are being burned, Islam is very tolerant...

      September 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • GeoffreyF

      I completely agree with you Sir. I have never in my life, despite knowing many Muslims, have heard any of them speak with such ignorance and vitriol as the bigots here have done. They are a disgrace to my country not only for their viciousness but for their ludicrous ignorance of a single fact. It is sad but it will pass. These people will be defeated or convinced of their folly as other Racists and Bigots in this country also have been.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ anerican muslim

      anerican,,,,,,,,,, any relationship to Puerto Rican???? Sorry all. I know you mean American but what's in a typo?

      This Land we call the "United States of America" is the Land of many varying "Religious Freedoms" and "Social Liberties". Together, we are a conglomeration and much needs to be considered as a Nation of wholesomeness and moral synchronicities. Where should our Nation draw in the sands, the lines for and against its' ongoing generations' futures?

      September 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  3. tim

    someone needs to travel.. travel is the enemy of all bigotry..
    don't believe the hype.. don't believe the state department..
    travel and see them.. the people of the world.. they are good..
    there are more good people than bad.. many more..

    September 20, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      The ways of the world are not the ways of many of its' people,,,,,,,

      September 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  4. NOo..oON

    No, No, No, we need to be prepared for the worst menace of all: COMMIES!

    Oh wait... that was last century wasn't it?

    September 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • BG

      All the 'commies' have morphed into capitalist oil and arms gangsters.

      Now they just shut off the gas to Georgia, and sell AK's to Mexicans.

      No problem.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  5. Richard S Kaiser

    Doc Vestibule
    "Desperate, tenacious, clinging like a grain of sand
    Watching it's foundations wash away
    Drunk with the assertions they know they can't defend
    Confident that they might live again"
    – Dr. Greg Graffin

    A grain of sand, a universe upon itself
    The waters ever does etch away its’ design
    Alive with GOD is everything placed
    His first Son can be comprehensively traced.
    – Richard S. Kaiser

    September 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  6. art

    I hope everyone boycotts all events held there. I wonder how many of the children pictured lost relatives in 9-11.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"I wonder how many of the children pictured lost relatives in 9-11."

      Wonder how many of those children probably had parent's wearing crosses, yamakas and hijabs. Please remember a lot of Muslims parent's did not make it home that day. 🙁

      September 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • BG

      @ MMR

      26 muslims were killed in the various crash sites, not including the hijackers.

      Not "alot" after all, especially when compared to the thousands of non-muslims killed.

      You've become just another muslim apologist, Mark, emphasizing their loss and thus marginalizing the others.

      Nice job.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • GeoffreyF

      Dream on because I am supporting the Islamic Center with money and with attendance as are most of the interfaith community of NY City. They know where it really is, what it is really doing, the honorable history of Muslims in the city. NY is my city and you have no right to tell us what to do. You are a bigot and your "Hopes" will not be fulfilled. Far from it. You will see that Islamic center become a true ornament to the city along with the buildings of all its many faiths and an honor to its diversity.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • BG

      "... the honorable history of Muslims in the city."

      Um. About that...

      September 20, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  7. Ron

    They are laughing at us. Blow a place up then plant their flag on it. Are you "tolerant" fools unable to see this or care you not?

    September 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Policy

      Their agenda is very simple to build Mosques everywhere in the globe, but they will not let a Synagogue/Temple/Monastery/Church be built in Saudi?

      They claim Islam is not about extremism, if it is not why not practice that in Mecca?
      Islam is not about extremism? really?

      September 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • GeoffreyF

      Don't you dare call me a "Fool". This country has built itself on Tolerance. Not a single negative comment against that Islamic center or the religion of Islam has been based on fact. NOT ONE. Your bigotry disgusts me. As a Jew, I've put up with the likes of you maligning my faith my whole life and now you turn on Muslims with no more cause than you turned on us. This is why the Jewish Congregations of NYC and their Rabbis support the Islamic Center and stand against hate, ignorance and bigotry such as yours. It is not us who are the fools it is you.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • BG

      No self-respecting Jew would have your ignorance, Geoff. We'll see how you feel the next time an Israeli diplomat is threatened or an Israeli border is breached.

      No, Geoffrey, you're not a fool.

      You're a fraud.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  8. USandCDN

    At least we will know where they will meet to discuss jihad.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • GeoffreyF

      Islam is a religion of Peace, no less than Christianity or Judaism. You obviously have never been to a Mosque and have no clue at all what it is they do in there. You obviously don't know the people starting the Islamic center or anything about them. The people of NYC do as do all the interfaith communities. Take your ignorance, hate and bigotry away because it is people like you who scare me 1000 times more than any Muslim and I mean that without exaggeration. Your behavior is what frightens me and not the honest hard working Muslims of my city.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • J.W

      Then you should go there and listen to their plan. You could save the lives of a lot of people.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Really???

      I am sure there will be plenty of intelligence people waiting to pounce. May they have good hunting. I wish Islam would police themselves, but France & England learned the hard way they don't.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  9. Casey

    I think we have all learned in the past ten years what muslim behavior is all about. We know what drives them to build a mosque in a certain place. We all know what cordoba means, along with fatwa and jihad. Yet they will call racism every time their behavior is called into question.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ Casey,,,,,,,,,,

      Pro.mo.ting "fe.ar" should be held in reservation Casey. One should show more concerns regarding mi.lit.ant atheisms. Afterall, we have been thru such in time's passings. Truth be found out, many w.a.rs were the consequences of se.cu.lar religionists who either held faith above par or they found themselves faithless and untrusting the common goodness and cir.cu.mve.nted religious reasoning for selfishness sakedness.

      The veils surrounding socialism's decor tends to lament upon the embitterments of those who are gullible and easily swayed into conformities of hierarched memberships who placate the animosities of others. The questions of the future will ever hold the waters of saltiness and bemoan the spires of wantonness.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • GeoffreyF

      People who study and learn do not know what ignorant bigots such as yourself claim to know. You may have your ill opininons but "We" do not share your hideous thoughts. You are a liar and a fool and an embarrassment to my country. Please do not visit my city because you will not understand it at all.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • GeoffreyF

      I'll tell you what "Cordoba" means and you should read the Catholic Encyclopedia to verify what I say and not the ill and ignorant ravings of the Islamophobic industry. For Centuries there was a Mosque and center of interfaith study in Cordoba where Muslims, Christians and Jews all worked together to understand what their traditions were all about and to better connect with God or Allah, which is the Arabic word. One of the greatest Sages of all time for Judaism learned in that environment. The Mosque of Cordoba was not a "Victory Mosque" and there was no active church there when it was built.

      All that ended with the Catholic Church and the "Spanish Inquisition". Have you heard of it? It set a record for torture, ignorance and hate unequaled until the Nazis and it was a Christian driven thing. It ultimately drove both Jews and Muslims out of Spain or forced them to convert ... something which is against the Muslim faith and writings. When that process was completed a victory cathedral was built on the site of that Mosque though it was so beautiful that its architecture and design exists to this day – as a church.

      So you see you may think you know what Cordoba means, but actually what you think is the opposite of the truth. Don't believe me ... go and reference the Catholic encyclopedia which directly apologizes for the conduct of Catholics against Muslims and Jews in that period. Once you have checked your facts ... you can start wondering about the other lies which have contaminated your bigoted mind.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • AustinIsFull

      You really enjoy calling people bigots and expecting people to believe what you want them too. How about realizing that thousands of other New Yorkers were killed...not being bigots...just living their lives. You sound like an extremist to me and we should be scared of you just as we are of a bunch of people who want to see us destroyed. Before you start, I know Muslims and yes, not all are evil. Some are some of the nicest people I have ever met. But you have to agree that some are evil and want to cause harm to this nation. You maybe need to get your head out of a book and see how it affected this country...not just YOUR town. Stop calling people names and realize that not everyone believes what you do and if I lived there, I would be VERY upset to see this being built any where near that site. As someone said above, they are laughing at us right now and to a REAL American....that is just not right...

      September 20, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  10. Joey

    Why not put a public restroom on top of ground zero? Same result! This is disgraceful this is insult to injury!

    September 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • GalaxyGlued

      There are sewage lines and public bathrooms and subways and all sorts of things of that nature all over the for former World Trade center site. You didn't expect people to stop pooping out of respect, did you? In order for NYC to remain NYC we have to continue to have a functioning city. If we don't guess who wins?

      September 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • BG

      New York. A regular garden paradise. I went there as a tourist about 12 years ago. A suit was píssing in an alley off Madison Ave.

      Wonderful New York. Not exactly the last bastion of civic sanitation.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • GeoffreyF

      It is not at Ground Zero any more than Wall Street is. One cannot see Ground Zero from the Islamic Center nor can the Islamic Center be seen from Ground Zero. It would take 10 minutes to walk from one to the other. You obviously have not been to NYC and have no clue what a city block there is like. One block in NY has more people living or working there than your hick town. A place of worship is not a restroom. Normal people learn and study before they offer opinions. You are an ignorant bigot and a disgrace to our country.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  11. Richard S Kaiser

    I Love GOD because “I am“.
    I am alive because of GOD
    I am learning because of GOD
    I am seen my faults because of GOD
    I am repentant because of GOD.
    GOD’s Love allows me to be what "I am".

    You should Love GOD because “You are”.
    You are alive because of GOD.
    You are learning because of GOD.
    You are seeing many faults because of GOD.
    You are repentant because of GOD.
    GOD’s Love allows you to be what “You are”.

    We Love GOD because “We are”.
    We live because of GOD.
    We learn because of GOD.
    We see our faults because of GOD.
    We are repentant because of GOD.
    GOD’s Love allows us to be as “We are”.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Dan Thompson

      anyone remember Constantinople?

      So, when we rename New York City to New Mecca, who will be left to complain?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      Re-modified due concernment's sakes,,,,,,, 🙂

      I Love GOD because “I am“.
      I am alive because of GOD
      I am learning because of GOD
      I am seen my faults because of GOD
      I am repentant because of GOD.
      GOD’s Love allows me to be what "I am".

      You should Love GOD because “You are”.
      You are alive because of GOD.
      You are learning because of GOD.
      You are seeing many faults because of GOD.
      You are repentant because of GOD.
      GOD’s Love allows you to be what “You are”.

      We Love GOD because “We are”.
      We are living because of GOD.
      We are learning because of GOD.
      We are seeing our faults because of GOD.
      We are repentant because of GOD.
      GOD’s Love allows us to be as “We are”.

      By Richard S Kaiser

      September 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • NOo..oON

      @Richard S Kaiser,
      What the heck is "concernment's sakes"?

      September 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "Desperate, tenacious, clinging like a grain of sand
      Watching it's foundations wash away
      Drunk with the assertions they know they can't defend
      Confident that they might live again"

      – Dr. Greg Graffin

      September 20, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ NOo..oON wrote me asking, "What the heck is "concernment's sakes"?"

      Look up "concernment" and also "sakes" in your comp's dictionary for the answer to your questioning post,,,,,, 🙂

      September 20, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I always suspected that you randomly strung together words you found in the dictionary.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ Nonimus

      I write what comes to mind oh judgly Nonimus. If I am unsure of the words that I do so write, I look them up to make sure they are what I intend for them to be placed. Your demeanor of sarcasm is duly noted Nonimus.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  12. Reality

    From p. 14: (in case you missed it)

    Hopefully, the following note will be posted outside this "cultural center of hate's" door:=====================>

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror? The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

    Until then, no female or male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

    But to be fair:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, cultural centers, temples and synagogues.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Ohio

      You seem to be the one exhibiting hatred of an entire group of 1.5 billion people. This type of generalization shows that you are both ignorant and stupid. Prejudice has no place in America...you would think an educated and modern thinker would not hate an entire group of people

      September 20, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Wayne

      This is for Ohio, you must be compleatly brain dead, are don't want to know about the Muslims. Take time to read the Quaran thats their holy book like the Bible is for christians, it teaches hate to all people that is not of the Muslim fath. they would cut your head off in a second, and idiots like you is why they are coming into this country by the thousands every day. Maybe your family will live under Sheria law than you will regert all this.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • J.W

      Wayne maybe idiots like you are why they hate us.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I guess you hate Jewish people too based on the atrocities in the Old Testament?
      All the orders from God to commit genocide and enslave people show us that all semitic people are inherently evil, because their holy book says so.
      Hey wait.... isn't that also the first part of YOUR holy book?

      September 20, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Muslims is quite easy!!!

      The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:
      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      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.

      The First Five of the 77 Branches:

      "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" (the Ramadan legend) 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.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

      Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

      September 20, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  13. tony

    Clearly, almost all of you sound uneducated with how meaningless your comments are. The opening of this mosque exhibit is happening So whether anyone excepts it or not, it doesn't matter what anyone has to say. And who brought up the bible?! It has nothing to do with anything

    September 20, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • J.W

      It is not a mosque.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  14. Dan from Tx

    For 200 years, Christians enacted TERROR on the native peoples of this land. They labeled the natives "Heathens" -aka "Infidels". How can we allow Christians to construct churches as monuments to THEIR TERROR?

    September 20, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  15. negative feelings

    Just another place to teach terror.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • NOo..oON

      Losing your monopoly?

      September 20, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  16. Mathilda

    Muslims need to read the Bible. USA in all its continent has nothing worth like the Bible. Most of Americans' favorite stuff are pure garbage from moral standpoint.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • hippypoet

      @ Mathilda, check these sites out then get back to me on your thoughts...



      enjoy it... its true!

      September 20, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • GeoffreyF

      Actually Muslims do read the bible and hold the Torah and the Gospels in equal respect to the Quran. That you don't know that demonstrates just how ignorant you really are. Muslims also believe Jesus was a Prophet equal in stature to Mohammed.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  17. Pragmatic Agnostic

    Just when I thought we had escaped it, Religion is sending the world back towards the dark ages.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  18. Facts on Isa al Masih

    "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. He was buried, He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. He appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve (Apostles). After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time. (I Corinthians chapter 15)

    Muslims need to trust in the Divine Savior Jesus alone for remission of their sins in order to be saved. God's Word says God never accepts Muslims' good deeds because their goodness is even filthy.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Fun with circular logic!
      Believe the Bible – it is the infallible word of God.
      We know this because it says so in The Bible.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • hippypoet

      right, so your dumb.... lol.... moving on, "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. He was buried,"

      first off, if the story was true, he wasn't buried put placed in a cave with its entance blocked... and christ didn't die, the name YOU know as jesus died... if christ as YOU know it were to exist then it can't die being its a god. but i'm sure you already knew that as all good christians are full of common sense.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • J.W

      But there is also a passage in James saying that faith without works is dead. There is a passage somewhere that says people will be judged according to what they have done. We should not have the atti.tude that we can do whatever we want because Jesus will save us.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • mikey

      I'm sorry, where exactly does "God's word" state about filthy Muslims? Also, did people forget Egypt had a story pretty similar to Jesus's any many years before Jesus?

      September 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • anerican muslim

      God word said ",never accept Muslims good deeds...." Your ignorance of either the bible or your god is ridiculous, that was never said anywhere...

      September 20, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  19. Jake

    Its pure genius- build it, in a few years blow it up , and blame the evil White Christians. Both the Muslims and the liberals win !

    September 20, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • John Richardson

      And yet it is an non-Muslim, non-liberal who came up with this sick idea! Isn't that interesting?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  20. mm

    Geoferry: If people feel that this is an inappropriate site for a mosque, why do you label them as haters and bigots? This is free country. The fact of the matter is that thousands were murdered in the name of Islam, granted by extremists, but it was still in the name of the faith. It is simply wrong to dismiss this and the fact that many of the victims' families are terribly hurt by this decision. Do these people mean nothing to you? Or are you so deadset on calling anybody who disagres with you a bigot? People like you who piously preach their morals against others and labeling them in the process are the most dangerous of all. Nobody is saying don't build the mosque. They are just objecting to the site. To me, that is a very tolerant position. Additionally, you're very quick to label anyone who disagrees with this mosque at this site as a Christian. This is blatant hatred and discrimination as millions of Christians are in support of this project while millions of nonbelievers object to this project as well. You need to be very careful my friend.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • chilly

      well said. i am an american christian who opposes this mosque but i am in full support of the palestinians in their quest for statehood. i wonder how geoff would label me? Maybe 1/2 or 2/3 bigot?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • John Richardson

      Can't speak for Geoff, but I'd guess you are the sort of person who supports justice only over there, where it won't cost you anything.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • J.W

      It isnt really a mosque, although it is an Islamic organization. And it was voted on and almost unanimously approved. If people feel that strongly about it why dont they do something about it, such as have a peti.tion signed.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • GeoffreyF

      Simple answer. First of all their reasons for disapproving of a mosque are false, not based on fact. When you draw a line from 21 hijackers to an entire faith, that is the definition of bigotry and especially when you neglect Christian Terrorists from the KKK to Brevik who say no more about Christianity than other terrorists say about their faith. So all they have is hate and bigotry as a reason. Second, there has been a Mosque in that neighborhood since BEFORE the towers were built and another for twenty years. There are other places of worship in the area and all have an equal right to exist there. We have the first amendment in the US and quite simply it is wrong and illegal to stop any place of worship because of its religion.

      I have been following this thread for 24 hours and there is not one single statement made against Islam or the Islamic center that is fair, educated or even based on facts. Yep ... these people and you are bigots. I also note the lousy grammar and spelling which shows people like yourself seem to not even have a quality high school education. No doubt that has made you easy to manipulate into your idiotic views.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Shadowflash1522

      For what it's worth, I don't think everyone who has concerns about this is a bigot, just that they are not being clear. If this site is so *obviously* (sarcasm) too close, then how far away is acceptable? The reality is, if it were 20 blocks away and someone raised a fuss, you would be agreeing that it's too close. Why? Because it's an emotional response that lacks perspective. Unless you want to establish a Muslim-free zone around the WTC site, which would be a dishonor to a number of the victims and their families, this controversy is unresolvable.

      I feel deeply for the families of the victims, but what if their preferences are contradictory? What if some families want the community center (that's what it is–the Muslim equivalent of a YMCA) built, and others oppose it? As noble a gesture as it would be, they can't possibly accomodate everyone. That would be silly.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • AustinIsFull

      Thank you, mm!!!!

      September 20, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
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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.