WTC Muslim Community Center

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Daisy Khan, executive director and co-founder of the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), talks about the controversy surrounding the proposed Muslim Community Center at the WTC site.


Daisy Khan

Comments [46]

gaetano catelli from Greenpernt, Crooklyn

for the reasons stated by Mike Bloomberg and Andrew Cuomo, i support this project.

Jul. 18 2010 02:58 PM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

@ jgarbuz - All visitors, residents, and citizens within the US territory are subject to its sovereign laws based on the US constitution. The laws of other nation-state, jurisdiction, religious persuasion etc., hold no sway in the USA.

Therefore, your assertion that to be part of "American society" means that Muslim adherents must:

"publicly renounce forever the application of Sharia law to the United States of America, as I have publicly renounced the application of Halacha to US law..."

does not follow the logic of the sovereign US law. US law applies to everyone within its territory, based on its recognized authority and backed by its monopoly of power.

The point is that that that no one needs to "publicly renounce" other laws or beliefs, because they are subject to the rule of US law whether they like it or not.

It might be your preference thatmust your neighbors to stand up and renounce all other laws, Sharia or otherwise, but it is unnecessary because as their mere presence within the US makes them subject only to US law.

The US does not follow Sharia or UK law and never will. Some people are making it seem like demographic pressures are such that the US need fear a Muslim "majority" (someone on the page acyually mentioned that). you think we live in Europe or something?

I wonder what the thoughts are from those fearful of Muslims about the actual demographic changes occurring in the US with regards to Latinos? Tea Party-Militiamen in the nation of immigrants I wonder...???

Jul. 16 2010 05:16 PM

islamist had declared a war against the world , non-violent , non-bigots muslims included. Is it necessary to remind anyone that fundamentalist had killed more muslims than anyone else. to refuse the right ot non -violent muslim to have a worship place anywhere is handing a victory to the islamo-fascist without a fight.
Fundamentalist christians are no better, remember general Boykin

Jul. 16 2010 10:33 AM
Eric from NJ

Why does it seem that while religion seems to preach unity it always causes division?

Jul. 15 2010 03:48 PM
Steve Quester from Brooklyn, NY

As Yogi Berra once said, it's deja vu all over again. The attacks on Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf are remarkably similar to the orchestrated smear campaign against veteran educator and peacemaker Debbie Almontaser (by the Stop the Madrassa Coalition, New York Post, and others). The islamophobes are especially threatened by Muslim leaders who exemplify values of peacemaking, reconciliation, and interfaith understanding, because they threaten the contention that Muslims, per se, are enemies of American freedom. In this, the islamophobes and Bin Laden are on the same side.

Jul. 15 2010 02:37 PM
Eric from NJ


Jul. 15 2010 02:04 PM

To Eric,

Why not just talk to any Imam to explain how the Jews and Christians were mistaken, and how Islam corrects all of that ? :)

Jul. 15 2010 01:58 PM
eric from NJ

Ahhh well... is there some reference that i can review to corroborate the " Koran was brought down to Muhammad to correct the "corruptions" that Jews and Christians had introduced into God's laws" Part?

Thank you again.

Jul. 15 2010 01:52 PM

Muslim law is fundamentally based on the Koran, the word of God, as literally transmitted word for word to the last Prophet, Muhammad. It is expanded in the Hadiths, or compiled sayings of the Prophet, and expositions thereof. But in fact, much of Sharia in reality was adapted from Jewish law, Talmud and the like which developed centuries before Islam. Islam means "submission" to the will of God (Allah). For the most part, it teaches humility, charity, hospitality and all the good things we expect from moral law. Where it deviates is the claim that the Jews and Christians had distorted God's teachings, and the Koran was brought down to Muhammad to correct the "corruptions" that Jews and Christians had introduced into God's laws. And that is where the problems start.

Jul. 15 2010 01:44 PM
Eric from NJ

I wish I knew more about Islam to try and understand. I can see a lot of substance in these opinions. I do not like the bases of taqqiya though. Can someone please recommend some materials to educate this ignorant American about Islam and the Muslim religion please?

And more so can a Muslim please aswer this too? I do not want to just learn about the negatives.

Thank you.

Jul. 15 2010 01:34 PM

To Amalgam,

So, you publicly renounce forever the application of Sharia law to the United States of America, as I have publicly renounced the application of Halacha to US law, correct? So you accept the primacy of the US Constitution over any religion-based legal system in American law, correct? If you do, no problem. Welcome to America. If not, well, then you know where you belong.

Jul. 15 2010 01:09 PM
Danielle Day from Greenwich

Shiek Rafiq Kathwari may be the incarnation of Mahatma Gandhi, but Americans have good reasons-- about four thousand of them-- to mistrust Muslims and, particularly, their leaders. There are very few Christian, Jewish, Hindu, etc. terrorists, but, almost without exception, all terrorists have been Muslim. Jihad has a very specific meaning in Islam, and, Daisy Khan's disingenuous comments to one side, so does the imposition of Sharia Law.

But, even given all that, and loathe as i am to side with the overheated, bigoted rhetoric of teabaggin' Republicans, putting a mosque on the sacred ground where innocent Americans were murdered in the name of Islam has to be the worst civic decision in the last 100 years.

Jul. 15 2010 12:50 PM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

@ jgarbuz - Muslim-American citizens, by definition, accept American law, "based on a constitution laid down by its founding fathers, and accepted by the people as the legal foundation of the Republic."

Show me mainstream American Muslims that DO NOT "love and embrace America's values, and not for those who seek to use it's basic decency to ultimately subvert and undermine those values."

Please provide examples of these radical Islamic subversives that seek to undermine the US constitution that are part of mainstream, not fringe groups, America today. What you suggest is that ALL Islamic believers wish to subvert the constitution. Again...prove it.

Jul. 15 2010 12:24 PM
S Block from NYC

@amalgam, you can't ignore half of what I say because it's convenient to make your point, it just eviscerates your point. I am not against proselytizing. I am against proselytizing negatives. So, if Christians were proselytizing to reinstitute the Inquisition, yes I would oppose it. And Christians don't even practice taqqiya, the practice of being deceitful to non-believers to get your way.

No, in answer to your question, this mosque is not at all "clearly" an effort at reformation. A more clear reformation effort would need to take place in Islamic societies, not here. I would support the good people behind this mosque, if they are good, to do exactly that.

BTW, Puritanism was one outcome of the Reformation, so reformation alone is not enough to please me; Islam sure doesn't need more Puritanism in order to be more neighborly; modern Islamic fundamentalism may very well be seen as a reform movement.

I am not aware that Islam is part of our society's fabric at all. In what aspects? What teaching of Islam have we adopted? What teachings should we consider? I have heard a number of them and they don't seem attractive.

We have a tradition of accepting people of many faiths and backgrounds and melding, assimilating, opening opportunities, etc. I don't have a problem with our recent new immigrants from Moslem countries, if I lived where they come from I would want to leave too. I am sure our values will seduce their children (especially their girls) away from their backward beliefs.

Jul. 15 2010 12:22 PM

No man has ever communicated with any god, whatsover. Why is everyone arguing?

Jul. 15 2010 12:21 PM

America is the "beacon on the hill" for those who love and embrace America's values, and not for those who seek to use it's basic decency to ultimately subvert and undermine those values.
Democracy is not a suicide pact. We must never forget that many totalitarian regimes came into power through manipulation of democratic processes. I, for one, would publicly disavow that America ever live under Jewish law. Would Muslims publicly disavow Sharia law for America forever as well? American law is based on a constitution laid down by its founding fathers, and accepted by the people as the legal foundation of the Republic. Anyone who does not accept that in principle is not part of American society, nor should be.

Jul. 15 2010 12:02 PM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

@ S Block from NYC - What seems to be missing from people's analysis of Islam and their "spreading of [Islam's] brand of medievalism" is this:

> Religions like Christianity (especially evangelicals) and Mormonism intend to spread the religion as "part and parcel of the religion."

Should we stop building churches and tabernacles in the USA because of their intent to spread their religion?

> Christians went through a Reformation that reevaluated some forms of overt religious and political violence. After 9/11 there was a call for the Islamic community to undergo a reformation in order to mesh with modernity.

Is this mosque/community center not clearly part of a reformed movement to grapple with modernity which comes from the religion itself?

> The symbolic goal of the mosque is to demonstrate, through the power of example, that Muslims in the US have come to be part of the social fabric and respect and conform to its laws and mores.

Should this goal be denied?

A lot of Christians, other religious people, and American exceptionalists talk about the US as a "beacon on the hill" (not my cup of tea). I guess that that sentiment only applies in certain instances and for certain religions...

Jul. 15 2010 11:35 AM
Susan from NYC

I am so weary of listening to Daisy Khan's double speak. She is a master of PR and New Yorkers need to be vigilant. I heard her say at the Community Board Meeting, "There are already 200 mosques in NYC, what's the problem with one more..." This was after Rauf said there would not be a mosque but a "prayer space". Come on! Later on, he relented, realizing his own absurdity and admitted it would be a prayer space.
Are New Yorkers so hungry for a swimming pool that they're willing to accept this Mosque without further inquiry? My questions:

1. Who is funding the mosque.
2. What is the relationship between Rauf and the Moslem Brotherhood
3. How involved was Rauf in the flotilla from Turkey to Gaza
4. Why CAN"T we talk about the Moslem penal code. This is the code which is so terrifying and should be examined.
5. Why the name Cordoba? Am I incorrect in thinking that this was one of the first cities CONQUERED by Moslems in Spain?

Full disclosure, I am a Jewish woman and neither the JCC, not the 92nd. St Y should be used as representative my feelings.

Jul. 15 2010 11:16 AM

To Voter from Brooklyn

Judaism pushes away potential converts. Halacha is Jewish law applicable to Jews only. According to Jewish theology, the 7 simple Laws of Noah are more than sufficient for all other human beings. No Jew would ever advocate extending Halacha to non-Jews, or God-forbid, forcing or enticing our system of life on anyone else.

It's secular, liberal Jews who are backing the idea of this "muslim community center" near ground zero. A century ago, they would have been backing Bolshevism in the name of freedom of conscience.

Jul. 15 2010 11:08 AM
Nilgun from NJ

Dear Brian,

Love wnyc, love your show.

My (and I'm sure the great majority of non-fundemental Muslims all over the world would agree on this) response to Ms. Khan's comments about her perceived "reality" of Shariah Law:

If she believes what she stated on air, that Shariah is a set of civil codes, and that its penal codes have been distorted and adapted by the individual countries practicing it etc., then she really has no idea about what every single man, woman and child who lives in these countries know in their heart: That it is a medieval code with medieval applications.

Her comments reminded me of a NY times article written and published by (I'm sure a very well meaning American professor) likening Fethullah Gulen to Dalai Lama. This is no different that likening George Washington to Hitler, but NY Times did publish it, and most Americans who are unfamiliar with the matter probably saw it the way the American professor presented it. A PhD carries a certain weight in this and every country.

PLEASE be more aware of the realities on the ground. Freedom of Speech is fine as long as the listener has an idea about the matter. In these cases, the readers and listeners (the American public) are mostly ignorant, and the speakers are speaking to uninformed audience. It is a joke. And it is sad.


Jul. 15 2010 11:07 AM
S Block from NYC

it is disingenuous of a network to say that the ad is ambiguous as to whether it means "the terrorists" or "this specific group".

Obviously, the ad is talking about "moslems" or "Islam" in general, and making its point by conflating one group of those believers with another.

It's a valid point to make whether you agree with it or not. Certainly, the broadcasters are not so picky when it comes allowing a fog of disinformation to sell us unhealthy food and drugs.

It's not racism, it's recognizing reality. In the Middle Ages, we had Christians who used violence to spread the religion, and Christians who did not, and in a sense they worked together even if they did not agree with each other as to the approach.

It is valid to question whether we, as a society having mostly freed ourselves from the control of established Christian hierarchies, want to be welcoming to Islamic hierarchies from various branches of Islam especially staking their flag in a highly symbolic area to further their goal of spreading their brand of medievalism. That is what they intend to do, spreading the religion is part and parcel of the religion.

Jul. 15 2010 11:04 AM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

Ms. Khan is right that "misinformation, ignorance" has prevailed in this current American politico-cultural climate of anti-immigrant-xenophobic-racist sentiment and rhetoric.

I guess people like Lazio and some others on this board don't get a few things:

> they have a constitutional right to be there (remember the 1st Amend.?);
> the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his community have been worshiping as a friendly Tribeca neighbor for over 20 years;
> this is a Sufi-oriented mosque (figure out the theological difference):
> people seem to forget that ALL religions have unseemly (to say the least) pasts - what about the Christian Inquisition or the Christian witch trials in the the good ol' USA?

Haters need to get with it. The USA has both the proclivity for extreme intolerance and acceptance. What these people hate with regards to "difference" is exactly what makes the USA special, particularly in NYC. Hopefully this is the sentiment that eventually prevails.

Jul. 15 2010 11:03 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Covering one’s hair, shaving it off and wearing a wig… six of one, half dozen of the other.

Jul. 15 2010 10:57 AM
Lady Jane from New York City

Re: WTC Muslim Community Center

I need to express my thoughts albeit being politically incorrect. I do not want a Muslim Community Center near the WTC or frankly anywhere in the city. I want to refrain from overly explaining myself. I feel I still have the freedom to my beliefs. I want to feel as safe and comfortable as possible. I frankly stay away from those situations that have a high probability of generating danger. Those with strong beliefs must never remain silent. We witnessed the horrors when good people did remain silent.

Jul. 15 2010 10:56 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Jennifer from Flushing,
Two thirds of the Supreme Court is Catholic, the other third is Jewish, and if you don’t think their personal religious beliefs trump the Constitution in every decision they make, you are quite mistaken.

Jul. 15 2010 10:56 AM
Roy from Queens

It's easy for the "patriots" to say "never forget" and waves the American flag when it comes down to the tragedy, but it looks pretty hard for them to actually learn from it and be tolerant and better than the terrorists themselves.

At least the people who wants the Muslim center there have learned and want to reach out.

Jul. 15 2010 10:47 AM

A load of taqqiya. They are on a "charm offensive" now, which really does work extremely well in America. Americans are easily charmed. Sharia was lifted from Jewish Halacha centuries ago, but is far more primitive. But that is a whole discussion unto itself.
But let's make no mistake about it. Islam, by its inherent nature, must and shall predominate over all other faiths. Yes, other religions would be "protected" in the same way the mafia "protects" those who pay. Those who buy into this Kool AId of the "religion of peace" had better fit their granddaughters for their burqas.

Jul. 15 2010 10:47 AM
eric from NJ

Good point Janey... I think solidarity of peace seekers would help a LOT!

Jul. 15 2010 10:46 AM
Amy from Manhattan

What the opponents of this center are trying to imply when they talk about "bringing sharia law to America" is that Muslims want to *impose* sharia law on the U.S. I think Ms. Khan, Imam Faisal, & other Muslims who share their *actual* goals need to address that false perception specifically.

Jul. 15 2010 10:45 AM

pete from Staten Island:

Answer: because they hate freedom and Staten Island.

Jul. 15 2010 10:44 AM

I thought that if you are conquered by Muslims, that if you do not convert you are killed. The exceptions are the "children of the book" such as Jews and Christians.

I think the Muslims have wiped out most of the indigenous religions of the places they have conquered.

I never want muslims to be a majority in this country.

Jul. 15 2010 10:41 AM
pete from Staten Island

Brian, please ask her why they plan on opening this mosque on the 10th anniverasary of 9/11????

Jul. 15 2010 10:41 AM
Jennifer from FLushing

Ok, they are Sufis! I'm sorry if any of these people so outraged and opposed to this mosque took the time to look into the differences between the sects, they would know that this particular sect of Islam is the least dogmatic and in fact has been the trarget of persecution by the extremists that hide behing their religion to justify the killing of innocents. Remember, not too long ago, the nativists in this city were vociferous opponents of the Catholic immigrants streaming into this country for fear of their "papist" beliefs infultrating the laws of this country. I don't see the Pope in the Cabinet or any bishops on the supreme court. This is fear based hate in its worst form. This country is based on freedom of religion, no matter what that religion may be.

Jul. 15 2010 10:37 AM

C'mon Staten Island -- waiting to hear from you re this!!

Jul. 15 2010 10:37 AM
H. Judith from Woodside

And what of it if people involved in the cultural center support human rights for Palestinians and supported the flotilla? The show BL did on the flotilla a few weeks back was probably the most offensive piece I've ever heard on wnyc. People of conscience - whether muslim, catholic, buddhist, agnostic, have a duty to speak out against human rights abuses (like the gaza lock down).

Jul. 15 2010 10:35 AM
David from Great Neck

Perdana, if you know Malay, means Prime. This is a Malaysian foundation established by my old adversary, former Malaysia PM Mahathir bin Mohamad, who has retired. But Mahathir is a vicious anti-Semite and the foundation's web site points out it is in opposition to Israel's Gaza blockade.

I am no huge fan of Israel policy but when I worked in Malaysia, Mahathir attacked me as a "Zionist." Seems Rauf ought to return the money. I believe he is sincere but why let Mahathir's cash corrupt this mosque project?

Jul. 15 2010 10:34 AM

Please mention the Internet pastor Bill Keller and his proposed "9/11 Christian Center at Ground Zero", to be built, well, you know. A birther and convicted felon, this is one building NYC does not need.

Jul. 15 2010 10:34 AM

I certainly love, peace and tolerance amongst all peoples. I feel that at present the world is facing a crisis of Islamic extremism that can only be solved by Muslims speaking up LOUDLY and constantly, such as mass demonstrations, every time extremists set off a bomb somewhere in the world killing innocents. They must stand with other religous groups and be the loudest voices in defiance of their own extremists to show solidarity with people wanting peace. These actions would foster confidence and inspire other religous to support all their efforts against prejudice groups.

Jul. 15 2010 10:34 AM
Jeff Pappas from Ct

To paraphrase a quote from Frank Zappa
" Our God Says...and drop a nice French Bomb ,poofing them out of existence while leaving their real estate untouched so we can build a temple in which to praise Our God... Dumb all over and a little ugly on the side...

Jul. 15 2010 10:31 AM

Rick Laziowho? Good for Bloomberg, standing up for common sense.

And what's with the blanket support for Israel's blockade?

Jul. 15 2010 10:29 AM
Bobby G from East Village

The people trying to build the Muslim Cultural Center on Park Place are Sufis who have been in Tribeca for many years. I visited them in the 1980's. Earlier this month terrorists bombed a Sufi Shrine in Pakaistan killing 74 people. We need to develop understanding in the Muslim community. The politicians who are exploiting division are wrong and in my opinion bigots.

Jul. 15 2010 10:28 AM
RLewis from Bowery

9/11 families are grieving and angry. we should all understand that, and not be mad at them. But it is not a good enough reason to stop the building of a mosque.

We don't have to all get along, but we don't have hate and hurt each other either.

Jul. 15 2010 10:28 AM

for those who believe that all muslims are conspiring against them -- wouldn't standing near a mosque be kind of an INOCULATION from attack? anyway if i were doing pr for this muslim center i would certainly get that idea out there as a talking point.

Jul. 15 2010 10:28 AM

The voice of the ad sounds like Optimus Prime from the Transformers.

Jul. 15 2010 10:26 AM

From what I understand from an NYT article, the owner's of building had been struggling to sell it. The building had declined so much in value. So they finally sold it to these Muslims.

My question is that for everyone who is upset about it, is why didn't they step up to the plate and buy the building? I mean they can probably do it right now. Just pay them a premium over what they paid. Put up or shut up is what I say.

Jul. 15 2010 10:24 AM
Hugh Sansom

Anybody who has heard any of the rhetoric from those opposed to the Muslim center -- anybody who is rational -- knows that the opposition is motivated by blind, vicious racism. The leader of the pack is Pamela Geller, an unalloyed racist in the worst American tradition.

Jul. 15 2010 10:16 AM

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