Some Facts about the Ground-Zero Mosque

The latest event everybody has their knickers in a bunch over is a group of Muslims who want to build a giant mosque and cultural center near ground-zero of the 9/11 attacks. If you want to spark up heated and emotional debates over something this is the way to do it. Everybody I know is pissed as Hell about this. Personally I decided to look into the matter a bit before making a comment and there are a couple of things I found. First:

.”This is a place which is 600 feet from where almost 3,000 people were torn to pieces by Islamic extremists,” said Debra Burlingame, whose brother died in the attack on the Pentagon that day.

This is the first thing to note, it’s not being build at ground-zero just near it. Another thing to note is:

The 13-story mosque and cultural center will be built on the site of a four-story building that was a Burlington Coat Factory retail store until 9/11, when part of a plane’s landing gear crashed through the roof. The building, which will be razed, currently houses a mosque.

So the building that is being demolished to make room for this giant mosque housed… a mosque. This isn’t a new establishment, just a much larger version of what was already there. And then we have:

The New York City Mayor’s office says “It’s private property, and the area is zoned for uses that include this one.”

I bring up this point because most of the people I know who are pissed off about this are also huge believers in property rights and the right to do what you want on your own property. If you want the absolute right to do whatever you want on your property you should extend the same courtesy to others (otherwise it’s not a right it’s a privilege that you enjoy). Personally I think this is the biggest and most important point of this entire story.

But let’s ask an unbiased and neutral source about this:

Pamela Gellar, executive director of Stop Islamization of America, blasted the organization behind the plans, Cordoba Initiative, and its leader, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, saying the project is “an insulting flag of conquest of Islamic supremacism.”

Um… never mind.

Let me be fair and ask the man who heads the organization that is going to build this facility:

Though the Cordoba Initiative’s website calls part of the $100 million-plus project a mosque, its founder, Imam Rauf, says the project is not a mosque but a community center for all faiths that will include recreational facilities, a prayer space and a 500-seat theater that can be a part of the neighborhood’s trendy Tribeca Film Festival.

Rauf insists the effort is meant to help heal the wounds of 9/11, “We’ve approached the community because we want this to be an example of how we are cooperating with the members of the community, not only to provide services but also to build a new discourse on how Muslims and non-Muslims can cooperate together to push back against the voices of extremism.”

I’m sorry that seems way too much like political speak. Maybe a better idea would to be use that money to fund programs that could help fightback extremism and thus enhance the overall American perception of the religion. Heck I’m not the only one who thinks that:

But Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, says there are more productive ways to fight Islamic extremism.

“Even when they have the resources, they are using it for a place of worship, a cultural center for organizations,” he said. They are not using it for a counterterrorism research center.

“They are not using it to lead the war like Americans need to see us do and they are wasting our resources, not to mention that being close to the hallowed ground that is so sensitive in the souls of the families of 9/11. I think it is extremely poor judgment.”

I agree with that. It seems this is really a waste of resources as far as trying to increase the public perception of Islam in America. Likewise it won’t do anything to help fight extremism either (it’s akin to holding hands around a fire and singing in my opinion). And you can say it’s insensitive due to the fact anybody with a brain could see it would piss off a lot of people, but frankly I don’t give two shits about that.

The fact of the matter is there was already a mosque on the property in question which was shutdown after the 9/11 attacks. Further the property is privately held and hence the owner has the right to do whatever the Hell they want. If they want to build a giant monument of a middle finger with a sign that says “Fuck you New York!” that’s their right in my not so humble opinion.

This does seem like a poor move politically. It sure isn’t going to gain anybody points in popular opinion field. But they have a right to build it and what I think is irrelevant.

EDIT 2010-08-16 21:25: I forgot to add in a link to where I got my information. Sorry about that, it’s corrected now.