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Daisy Khan: Reaction to Park51 'Un-American,' Muslim Community At Risk

Friday, September 10, 2010

 Pedestrians stand outside of the proposed site for the Cordoba Initiative Mosque and Cultural Center which would be blocks from Ground Zero on August 18, 2010 in New York City. Pedestrians stand outside of the proposed site for the Cordoba Initiative Mosque and Cultural Center which would be blocks from Ground Zero on August 18, 2010 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty)

Daisy Khan, wife of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and co-founder of the proposed Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero, says that the controversy around the proposed Park51 development indicates a "widespread ignorance of Islam." Speaking to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, she added that

I think it's un-American for people to lump an entire religious group with the actions of a few extremists.

Khan explains that stakes are high in the conversation around the proposed development:

This is the fate of the Muslim community, you know. Our entire future is at risk here. So many mosques have been under attack since this project was announced.  And the Muslim community is taking this very seriously and taking a real pause.  For instance, the Koran burning ceremony has so many negative implications if that goes forward.  And I know the Muslim community in Gainesville, Florida is actually interacting directly with the pastor to speak to him, to plead to his better self.  And, so everybody is stepping up to the plate.  You know this is Ramadan.  And our Ramadan has not been the same.

"Here we are with the confluence of Eid (the end of Ramadan) on 9/10, the day before 9/11," Lehrer asked. "If your center was open now, what would your programming look like?"

Our memorial would be open to every family member, we would be having prayers in all different religions and cultures for 9/11 family victims. We do plan to have a 9/11 memorial in the center. We would be talking about extremism and how we can combat it. There would be an open door where people would be invited to break the feast and enjoy the company of fellow Muslims. It would be a place where we would replace fear with a celebration of our commonalities of our diversity.

Ultimately, Khan blames the controversy on a widespread misunderstanding of Islam in America.

It just shows there is widespread ignorance of Islam.  And we have to-- the whole Muslim community now has to work very hard to reach out to ordinary Americans who really have no interaction with Muslims and they're views are largely shaped by what they see on television.

"How have you been over the last few weeks?" Lehrer asked.

I think that the word would be completely overwhelmed.  And I keep asking myself every morning that I come to work, how did we get involved in this.  It is unprecedented.  We're not public people.  We're not public figures and we find ourselves in the midst of the largest controversy of my life.

The full interview with Daisy Khan will air at 11am on Friday, September 10th, on The Brian Lehrer Show.

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Comments [57]

one voice in nyc from 1 voice in NYC

Muslim islam muslam islam!!! blah blah! what people fail to realize that all that has occured with the muslim community has to do with their own religous community. they themselve have brought this among themselves but yet we are here argueing with eachother about rights and the constitution. what kind of country are we that we must fight with eachother? we are required to be sensitive to muslim rights and so forth, what about equality? you dont hear about muslims being sensitive to other faiths nor do i believe the mosque should be built near the wtc site thats disresectful of all who was lost. yes i understand that there were muslims that died but there own people did that to them why do we as americans be disrespected because of what they are doing to themselves???

Oct. 31 2010 02:40 PM
Ray from sydney

why does Daisy Khan call Americans ignorant about Islam- by her logic- shouldn't she be calling those who commit acts of terror int he name of Islam- Ignorant too? and therefor shouldn't she priorities educating these radicals first before evangelizing to non-Muslims?

Sep. 17 2010 07:54 AM
Bobby J from Brooklyn, NY

Is anyone really paying attention ??? Our current problem is not relative to the right of worship, as one chooses. Rather, it is a matter of security & safety; a matter of trust. Yes, plain ol' trust, which must be earned. The Cordoba Initiative, cannot go forward here, until such time as the world Islamic community, matures, evolves far passed it's present status. So, Ms. Daisy, go home now, to the place that you hold most dear. Teach the ignorant, council the intolerant, stop the stonings, all the killings, in the name of Allah. After all, it is where you are needed most. Perhaps someone, in about a thousand years, can return to complete your dream. Oh, by the way, please take Mr. Rauf with you. Best wishes.

Sep. 12 2010 04:35 PM

David from Middletown

Putting a mosque alongside Christian, Jewish and Buddhist prayer facilities offends extremists who oppose peaceful coexistence of the religions, but that does not mean that such sensibilities should be catered to. The stronger such protests become, the more resolved to make such a facility come to fruition as planned its planners should be.

Freedom of speech is messy. If someone were to produce toilet paper with the likeness of the intolerant preacher on it to distribute for free to the Islamic people, such a gesture might help clean up the mess he is rousing in their hearts and minds.

I am not a Muslim myself. I am of Jewish heritage. I know how ugly intolerance can be and do not want to see it directed at anyone unless their personal, not collective, actions so warrant.

Sep. 11 2010 02:19 AM
Ellen from Hoboken, NJ

I am a longtime fan of the Brian Lehrer show and was surprised to hear the show with Daisy Khan today. I was actually shocked at the number of times she applied a double standard; one for AMericans "ignorant" perception of Islam and another for Islamists right to establish itself wherever it would like to regardless of the feelings of the citizenry. Americans are not ignorant of Islam, we dont believe all we see on the TV, as she said. We all took Islam 101 on 9/11. It is actually she who is "ignorant" of the fundamental respect that American hold for each other's beliefs and general American-type consideration people show one another. In the spirit of AMerican sensitivity, the Islamic center should have offered to move itself and show its neighbors that they care about how their neighbors feel. It is she and her husband and the promoters of the Center who have something to demonstrate. Not the 2/3 of the New Yorkers who are uncomfortable about a Trojan Horse in their midst. I am most surprised and disappointed that BL allowed her to insult his listening audience, who he knows WELL is not ignorant, nor uninformed; but I listened for rebuttal and refutation from him. All I heard was capitulation and apologetic tones. I will not renew my membership to WNYC; and am not inclined to listen to BL's show again. I count on hearing a balanced voice of reason and today I heard someone who sounded like he wanted to apologize to Daisy Khan instead of getting deeper into these very radioactive issues. Is even he scared to tell them that their insensivity and self-righteous sense of entitlement is what people don't want near Ground Zero? Did he not hear that they think we are people too stupid to understand what their religion is about? Isn't it possible that people read their actions as arrogant and overbearing and insensitive? And we think that is NOT ok? BL, where did u go?

Sep. 11 2010 12:19 AM
g..e.Taylor from Bklyn., NY

Perhaps the deceptive Miss Daisy could explain how the following description of "Dhimmitude" is in error.

"Ye'or describes dhimmitude as the "specific social condition that resulted from jihad," and as the "state of fear and insecurity" of "infidels" who are required to "accept a condition of humiliation." . . . .
Dhimmitude is the direct consequence of jihad. It embodie[s] all the Islamic laws and customs applied over a millennium on the vanquished population, Jews and Christians, living in the countries conquered by jihad and therefore Islamized. [We can observe a] return of the jihad ideology since the 1960s, and of some dhimmitude practices in Muslim countries applying the sharia [Islamic] law, or inspired by it. I stress ... the incompatibility between the concept of tolerance as expressed by the jihad-dhimmitude ideology, and the concept of human rights based on the equality of all human beings and the inalienability of their rights."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bat_Ye%27or

And then she can try to repeat her fantasies about the "rights" enjoyed by non-muslims in Cordova.

Mr. Leher you appear to have failed to do your research on this one. (Or is a policy of feigning ignorance in the face of deceit the proper attitude of a "journo-lista" at NPR? Let's be a little more skeptical about this possibly "Potemkin village" view of the islamic treatment of subjugated non-muslim populations.)

Sep. 10 2010 08:26 PM
g..e.Taylor from Bklyn., NY


It appears that this pompous international club of parasites has wearied of its rape supervision duties.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/01/world/africa/01congoweb.html

Sep. 10 2010 07:32 PM
g..e.Taylor from Bklyn., NY

Citing Quran-Burning Threat, Islamic Body Wants U.N. to Outlaw ‘Offenses Against Religion’

"Following the uproar over the threatened burning of the Quran by a small Florida church, a leading international Islamic body said Thursday that the United Nations should outlaw “all forms of offense against religions.” ISESCO, an arm of the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, called on the U.N. “to issue an international law criminalizing all forms of offense against religions under any circumstances.”
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/75141

It appears that this pompous international club of parasites has wearied of its rape supervision duties.

Sep. 10 2010 07:22 PM

I completely agree:

I think it's un-American to lump an entire group of people who would like to see this religious-center's site moved further away from the epicenter of 9/11's Radical Islamic violence, along with fringe Floridians who want to burn sacred texts and other religiously-insensitive manifestos.

It really would be "bigotry", if people opposed building a mosque ANYWHERE in the NYC/Manhattan/USA/World - but you don't see that, do you? 2/3 of NYC are asking for the building plan to be moved, not to be scratched-there is a difference you are failing to pick up on. But for some reason there's a lot of "lumping" and condescending tones voiced.

Apparently, by voicing unease with the proximity of a single religious center, I am expressing hatred towards all Muslims on the face of the planet.

Love the depth of analysis on the BL Show. Can't wait to fund this haughty level of journalism in the Fall fund drive.

Sep. 10 2010 04:38 PM
jh

jgarbuz:

You clearly didn't read my whole reply, and you're also obviously ignorant of the fact that conservative Christianity is just as patriarchal. This is irrelevant to the fact that if you tolerate one religion in some form (ideally enforcing any discrimination laws from issues that may spawn from conservative sects), you have to tolerate all of them. Sadly it seems we have to deal with this religious inequality before moving on to the last phases of women's equality.

"I can only presume you don't have much truck for the rights of fathers."

Go right ahead and presume away, since those in the wrong are often guilty of making such assumptions. You can support the rights of the father, but ultimately the physical and psychological weight of the pregnancy falls on the mother. That's the trade-off, and no one will ever benefit from having the "right" to force one segment of the population to be unwilling hosts to a fetus.

I think you also confuse the words, "propagation" and "toleration." One does not equal the other. I loathe people who think they own my body, but tolerate them. I sure as hell don't support propagating them!

Sep. 10 2010 02:15 PM
Adam from Manhattan

To: ruth from NYC

Re: "You continue to misreport on the numbers of Americans and New Yorkers who are opposed to this mosque." (sic)

It doesn't matter how many Americans and New Yorkers are opposed to this cultural center. If 99.8% of New Yorkers are opposed to it, that still does not make it right. There was general agreement that Japanese-Americans should be interred in concentration camps during WWII, but that did not make it right; nor was it rational.

Sep. 10 2010 01:46 PM
Adam from Manhattan

To: ruth from NYC,

If your "facts" are from the New York Post and you believe without reservations, then what's the point in discussing this matter? the Post is polemic, it has an interest in stoking this issue as it sells paper. Get it?

Sep. 10 2010 01:33 PM
Adam from Manhattan

"what's pornography? I know when I see it."

What's bigotry? I know when I see it.
What's ignorance? I know when I see it.
What's irrational? I know when I see it.
What's non sequitur? I know when I see it.

Do you hear me now?

Sep. 10 2010 01:22 PM
ruth from NYC

Wow. Brian Lehrer has offficially jumped the shark. This is the message I wrote last night in anticipation of today's "interview."
This is as much about today's Ground Zero segment as it is on tomorrow's segment with Daisy Khan. I remain stupefied by your need to continue stoking this fire. The other day you mentioned you are on the Khan's personal mailing list for ASMA. You have failed to cover any of the shady business dealings reported by the New York Post in the past 10 days. You continue to misreport on the numbers of Americans and New Yorkers who are opposed to this mosque. You have failed to mention Mayor Bloomberg's recently reported business in Dubai.
An an ex-Democrat, what offends me the most is how you condescend. You asked for Tea Party rally attenders in NYC to call after implying that was an "oxymoron." You devoted 10 minutes to troops last week (how about an hour with them) and implied how strange you found it that one of them read philosphy. You have included a Tea Party blogger in your new politcal endeavor and I thank you for that. But you continue to ignore the history of Wahabism and leave us all questioning why it is that you won't book a Walid Shoehat or a Bridgitte Gabriel or the blogger Son of Hamas. Why do we, as taxpayers, not get both sides? Most of all, why the permanent sneer?

Here is my reaction after listening to the show today: You owe 7 out of 10 Americans an apology. NPR is now officially "National Propoganda Radio."

Sep. 10 2010 01:03 PM
jgarbuz

to jh from Brooklyn

You abhor "patriarchy" in every form, but support the most patriarchal of all faiths, Islam, the right to build their proselytization and propaganda centers even on the site of the worst single massacre in American history, which was carried out in the name of Allah.
I can only presume you don't have much truck for the rights of fathers, but then those are not as constitutionally protected as well as those who advocate abortion on demand, or promote the propagation of the most patriarchal religion on earth. Ironic.

Sep. 10 2010 01:00 PM
jh from Brooklyn

jgarbuz:

"And can those who oppose abortion in general build shrines to the nearly 50 million souls who were snuffed out in the name of women's right to choose?"

That's the beauty of religious freedom - I support your right to build whatever you please in memory of a person's right not to be forced into pregnancy in the name of supposed "souls," and I support my own religious freedom to knock them down (who is anyone to say such a religion doesn't exist?) ;)

As you can see, I abhor patriarchy in all forms, but most importantly believe in equality. Sadly, many religions are based in patriarchy (they had to keep the wimminfolk preggers in the old days to fulfill their population quotas). I don't patronize B&H, have renounced the Catholicism of my youth, and I admit headscarves make me uncomfortable at times (if it makes a woman more comfortable that's understandable, but I also have great respect for men and expect that, with an enlightened education, both men and women [we are also guilty] can respect each other and not reduce the other to separate body parts. We're all animals, but the human species is capable of more).

I also know that many people follow progressive versions of traditional schools of religious thought, and even those who are more conservative don't necessarily adhere to patriarchal roots. Religion is always in transition, and many do require this kind of peace. I respect their way to achieve this (as long as it doesn't interfere with my life). Even though I fiercely disagree with some religious practices, I respect their right to partake in them.

Although I don't care for organized religion in general, I support this project. I would THINK that those of you who have great passion for a religion would also do the same. Sadly, so many believe it's "their way or the highway."

Sep. 10 2010 12:41 PM
g.e.Taylor from Bklyn., NY

How interesting that Ms. Khan is claiming her husband's statements are being taken out of context - except when she wants to "analyze" the statements. In fact, the only thing that the "Quran-Burning-Nuts" in Florida share with these provocative mosque builders are the threats against human life generated in support or opposition to their activities.
How interesting that immam Rauf reportedly alleges that foreign muslim populations or groups are threatening harm if the mosque is not built to his specification.
How interesting that it appears that these threats against american lives are being made to protest the destruction of any copy of some ancient text that has acquired the superstitious fetish of a the same violent and uncivilized minority that committed the heinous acts of September 11th, 2001.
What will the reaction be to the equally urgent objections of some similarly competent gaggle of murderers to any support of citizens of israel?
[BTW: I understand that the "Florida Fakir" has a rather small congregation (approx. 80 persons); is it out-of-bounds to inquire how large the immam's congregation is?)

Feels like it's time to sip a cup of tea.

Sep. 10 2010 12:20 PM
Edward from NJ

So when does all this end? Assuming it's not relocated, the center won't be built for *years*. Are the media and politicians going to keep talking about it the entire time? I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that people will be a whole lot less outraged on November 3rd.

Sep. 10 2010 12:14 PM
Natalie Burrows from Brooklyn, NY

All of us Americans probably come from religious backgrounds that were persecuted at some time by a majority religion. As Americans we are held together by a Constitution which guarantees freedom of religion. As an American of Protestant background, I fully support the establishment of a Muslim Cultural Center at the proposed location. If my Protestant ancestors were able to forgive their Catholic persecutors and my Quaker ancestors their disenfranchisement by fellow Puritans, we should recognize the rights of all religious practitioners in this democratic nation of ever broadening perspectives.

Sep. 10 2010 12:05 PM
jgarbuz

Regarding Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma bombing, was he shouting "Jesus is Great" when he bombed it? Was he doing it in the name of the Pope?

And can those who oppose abortion in general build shrines to the nearly 50 million souls who were snuffed out in the name of women's right to choose?

Sep. 10 2010 12:04 PM

No one, anywhere, has been contacted by any God, ever.

Please, everyone, stop warring over whose liars were the most attractive. Reminds me of children arguing over which Disney "rock star" has the coolest outfit.

Sep. 10 2010 12:03 PM

livvyjk:
I know - it sounds unrealistic to say 2 blocks away is not ok, but 2.5 blocks IS ok.
The fact is that this is a high profile religious center, and I would be offended if a Christian or Jewish or Buddhist or Satanist or Atheist religious center were built so close to that site. How close is too close? what's pornography? I know when I see it.
This center is high profile, single(mono) religious and it's too close. Oddly, livvyjk, I'm not the only one who thinks so. Oh right, I forgot, I and 2/3 of NYC "HATE" Muslims - Thanks wnyc! can't wait for you to ask your listeners for $ after you insult them this way.

Sep. 10 2010 12:01 PM

Ju JuStar: Who should determine what gets built within any area? How far away would make you more comfortable?

Sep. 10 2010 11:54 AM
Iva Nova

jh

But we disscussing it all the time.
Bigest news - church transagressions.
But nobody saying it offends Cristianity.

Sep. 10 2010 11:53 AM
Joe Fisher from Manhattan NY near Ground Zero

A lot of good has come out of this controversy which was difficult for me as well to come to grips with while trying to understand both sides. I have never heard of this Imam before, nor have I been aware of a public "moderate Islamic" spokesperson and wasn't even sure one existed. Now this moderate voice is publicly known and this is very good for all of us.

From a religious perspective it's an open and shut case that there should be no restriction. The problem for me is that this is not an effort by an Islamic community supporters living in the area pitching in to create a place of worship but rather a grand idea by someone who has gone peddling for financing throughout the middle east and received it. The idea is genuine and decent but is not truly all about a place of worship so it's not really an open and shut religious worship case so the location does become an issue of sensitivity so I understand the opposing side.

Rightly or wrong we cannot simply dismiss the heated emotionality of those still wounded by the tragic experience. Sensitivity should have been considered so I am puzzled by motives of this Imam. An intelligent Imam knowingly choosing a spot with full awareness that this will provoke people, it doesn't add up for me.

Sep. 10 2010 11:51 AM
Adam from Manhattan

For those who feel that a cultural center should not be built because of the sensitivity of 911 families, one must ask "why would a cultural center cause such pain?" It is wholly illogical. Timothy McVeigh destroyed Murrah Building in Oklahoma. Tim was a Catholic. Does that mean that no catholic churches should be built near the Murrah site? Would that be tolerated?

Sep. 10 2010 11:49 AM
jgarbuz

to DarkSymbolist from NYC

Well, if one wants to cast this argument in terms of allegations of bigotry versus legal rights, one can question both versus in the Quran and actions of Muslims versus other religions. The fact that other holy religious sites have for centuries been replaced by mosques. The fact that the Quran preaches that Muslim not take Jews or Christians as friends. The fact that the Code of Umar that placed Jews and Christians under inferior status to Muslims, and heavily taxed many into submission, until they finally converted to Islam. The fact that the holy cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina are closed to even visitation by Jews and Christians, not to mention no right to have their own religious shrines there. The fact that Jews were ethnically cleansed out of Arabia in the 7th century. Shall I go on?

Sep. 10 2010 11:49 AM
Adam from Manhattan

For those who feel that a cultural center should not be built because of the sensitivity of 911 families, one must ask "why would a cultural center cause such pain?" It is wholly illogical. Timothy McVeigh destroyed Murrah Building in Oklahoma. Tim was a Catholic. Does that mean that no catholic churches should be built near the Murrah site? Would that be tolerated?

Sep. 10 2010 11:47 AM

Frank: The Imam has been in the area since the 80's. They have already had a strong presence there. This proposal was not started as a statement in relationship to Ground Zero.

This was the most ideal piece of property for their initiative and if they move, they will be saying that they agree with the ignorant assertion that they are the same as Al Queda.

Sep. 10 2010 11:45 AM
jh from Brooklyn

Iva:

That would be similar to a Buddist asking why some Christians advocate burning holy books, bombing abortion clinics, restricting the rights of certain people, banning the priesthood of women, hiding criminals in the Vatican, practicing polygamy with underage girls, supporting the war effort....

shall I go on?

Sep. 10 2010 11:42 AM
Marissa

Who determines what is or is not a moral equivalent? Statistics are statistics; however the lens through which they are viewed is always subjective. If statistically we have caused the death of more Muslims than Al Qaeda has caused of Americans; why should we not take in the emotional, empathetic impact of that statistic? Why should we disregard it as just a "moral equivalent"? Why is the egregious retaliation involving Muslim civilians for a reprehensible act against American civilians not considered a moral equivalent? Just because it happened to "us" not to "them"? I love this country; but we have a long way to go in our self-awareness.

Sep. 10 2010 11:42 AM

Thank you for having the courage to stand up to Muslim radicals. Christians need to follow your example and stand up to the their own radicals as well. We are an ocean of people caught between two small islands of extremists. If we could all stir the placid water, and send waves of communication up their shores, the islands would see that peace is the only asnwer for us all.

Sep. 10 2010 11:40 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

jgarbuz,

The pastor has the right to be a complete bigoted idiot and burn the Quran if he likes. We allow free speech to all kinds of racists and bigots in this country.

And quite frankly, it's idiotic to frame the argument as if there is a moral equivalent between a peaceful group wanting to build an inclusive center in an area where they have been for many years with a stupid, ignorant, obviously bigoted nut job pastor. The motivations are quite different, one is of tolerance the other is of intolerance. They are not equivalent, sorry.

Sep. 10 2010 11:39 AM
Iva Nova

Why we constantly talking about how we offend islam. Why we never discuss burned churches in muslim contries, killed priests, cristian comunities prosecuted. How come islam is peacfull religion? They kill each other all the time.

Sep. 10 2010 11:38 AM
gaetano catelli from greenpoint, brooklyn

excellent interview, Brian!

another example of your nonpareil ability to do an interview that is neither leading, nor misleading. (i hope you can do the same for, uh, say, gun rights advocates ;-)

Sep. 10 2010 11:38 AM
jh from Brooklyn

Frank:

"Moving it to another location would be an example of restraint and sensitivity on the part of Muslims."

I couldn't help but to focus on the "restraint and sensitivity" part of this sentence, especially in reference to the history of Christianity in the US (and abroad). I think the whole "pot calling kettle black" applies here.

Sep. 10 2010 11:36 AM
Adam from Manhattan

Civility absent!

Had those who have irrational issues with the cultural center approached those who want to build it and ask for what they want, they might have been able to persuade minds. But they opted to demand and harass and vilify. This is a non-starter. This is a problem with people today. Total lack of civility. People of all ilk do not want to be told what they can't do especially when they have every right to do it. Next time ask discreetly rather than demand loudly.

That said, I just cannot understand the mindsets of those who are against the cultural center. It's like someone walking up to me and telling me I cannot sit on my front porch because it offends them.

Sep. 10 2010 11:34 AM
Dominic

"Marginalize the muslim community?" We're asking you to be sensitive to the pain of 9/11 families. Build the damn thing if you wish, but why are we struggling to be sensitive to everyone except those who have been hurt the most? 9/11 happened at the hands of Muslims, and somehow it turns out that we are still exerting more effort to be sensitive to Muslims that to anything else. How about Muslims - in the face of the history of the place - being sensitive toward everyone else???

Why you would air two segments with her on the eve of this tragedy is beyond me... But it's a symptom of the apologist sensitivity that I describe above.

Sep. 10 2010 11:33 AM
Frank Torchio

I think the argument that those who oppose the Mosque near the WTC are bigots is incorrect. Not all are. One must also question why those who want the Mosque there, given what happened nine years ago feel that it must be in that location. Moving it to another location would be an example of restraint and sensitivity on the part of Muslims. Non-Muslims must also be careful not to paint Muslims with a collective guilt which how Anti-semitism began.
Wounds from 9/11 have been slow to heal and the Mosque at that location has not helped. Muslims have said that other Muslims died on 9/11, not all Muslims are terrorists and that Islam is tolerant of all; but this has become boilerplate rhetoric with nothing new added to the discourse.
As far as the question of whether one can be Muslim and American at the same time; well this question was supposed to have been answered in 1960 with the election of President Kennedy.

Sep. 10 2010 11:31 AM
lisa cunningham from Manhattan

Sam Harris, in 'The End of Faith', said that everything progresses: medicine, science, education, etc.. Religion, however, is stuck in a period 2,000 years ago.

He also articulates the solution to this controversy:
rather than whine about persecution, or insist that Islam is about peace, Muslim spokespersons must publicly denounce SPECIFIC parts of the Koran (which Americans are now informed of and afraid of) that urge the killing of infidels, world domination, violence against women, etc..

Christians must do the same, as must any sane group or person.

Sep. 10 2010 11:30 AM

just so I understand - anyone who dislikes the idea of building a bombastic, flashy, high profile mono-religious center 2 blocks away from the site of devastation "HATES" Muslims? Really, anyone who feels they should strongly consider moving it further out "HATES"...that's great wnyc - I can't wait for you to ask your listeners for donations in a few weeks...very deep journalism.
BTW. some "self-hating" Muslims think that site should move further out - and i would be opposed to ANY single religious center built just blocks away from there. Keep god out of it, not out of "HATE", b/c god doesn't belong there. I will not be giving you money this year b/c of this sensationalist generalization.

Sep. 10 2010 11:30 AM
jh from Brooklyn

Bravo!! My own father once received a death threat rooted in religious intolerance. In his case, he was a liberal Catholic working in a conservative parish (big surprise I know).

Do not back down! I'm no longer religious, but everyone is entitled to find peace in their own way. In the long term, this facility will be a catalyst in allowing all Americans to do just this.

Sep. 10 2010 11:29 AM
jgarbuz

How dare people in New York or Washington tell a southern pastor that he should not burn a Quran if he feels the Quran insults Christians?

Sep. 10 2010 11:29 AM
Frank Torchio

I think the argument that those who oppose the Mosque near the WTC are bigots is incorrect. Not all are. One must also question why those who want the Mosque there, given what happened nine years ago feel that it must be in that location. Moving it to another location would be an example of restraint and sensitivity on the part of Muslims. Non-Muslims must also be careful not to paint Muslims with a collective guilt which how Anti-semitism began.
Wounds from 9/11 have been slow to heal and the Mosque at that location has not helped. Muslims have said that other Muslims died on 9/11, not all Muslims are terrorists and that Islam is tolerant of all; but this has become boilerplate rhetoric with nothing new added to the discourse.
As far as the question of whether one can be Muslim and American at the same time; well this question was supposed to have been answered in 1960 with the election of President Kennedy.

Sep. 10 2010 11:28 AM
stephen from stony brook

I take issue with Mrs. Khan's comment, that the general public is...'ignorant of Islam's teachings'. Shariah 4:34 says (I quote, verbatim, from the Qur'an), "if you find disfavor with your wife, beat her and kick her from your bed. Allah is wise and powerful."

There are many statements with this abusive, repressive, absolutist tone in the Qur'an.

If she could simply answer the question of how we can discriminate between Muslim moderates and Muslim radicals, that'd be great. Of course, this is a rhetorical question, because we all know she cannot, until it's too late...

As much as I think religions of all types are absurd, I still respect their right to do practice their absurdity. Yet First Amendment rights are not absolute when the very lives of others are put at risk, if merely (like in the case of the Muslim Center plan) by happenstance of logistics.

Sep. 10 2010 11:27 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Tonky,

I also completely agree...it really really angers me to see these morons from other parts of the country who have probably never even been to NYC and who probably looks at us as a "liberal" cesspool anyway when it comes to any other issue, sticking their noses into OUR business.

It's our city, the pastor shut shut the hell up and stay the hell out of our business.

Sep. 10 2010 11:27 AM

Tonky, I am right there with you! How dare some Pastor down South tell us how to live our lives. This center should not consider going anywhere else.

Sep. 10 2010 11:24 AM
jgarbuz

If the backers of the Mosque stand on their constitutional rights to build on the site of 9/11, then I don't see why the pastor should back down from his constitutional right to burn the Quran. It is a free country, after all.

Sep. 10 2010 11:22 AM
Roberta F from Inwood, Manhattan

Thinking about memorials -- the sacred sites in Manhattan -- how about the markers for the Battle of Harlem Heights, and the Battle of Fort Washington. Because they happened hundreds of years ago, and no one alive today has a personal connection to those events -- should we care less about them? people died in those battles for freedom of religion -- a cause fundamental to the American Revolution. Their sacrifice should not be overshadowed by the emotions that tear at us in the wake of Sept 11, 2001.

Sep. 10 2010 11:21 AM
Tonky from Red Hook

No one outside NYC has any business weighing in on this issue.

NYC is a self-contained city state where we live in relative peace. Leave us alone.

Sep. 10 2010 11:19 AM
Bobby G from East Village

I don't think the organizers of the Islamic Cultural Center on Park Place should back down. It would legitimize people like the Pastor in Florida who threatens to burn the Koran. The 911 families have their space in the city. It's the Memorial. They have no more claim on the rest of the city than anyone else does.

Sep. 10 2010 11:10 AM
jgarbuz

Everyone today talks about reaching out to "understand" Islam, but how many Muslims talk about reaching out to understand Christianity or Judaism?

As for putting the mosque on the site of the 9/11 massacre, and the burning of the Quran, both are legally permissible under our American laws. But are they sensitive to the feelings and wishes of others? There is no law about being having to be sensitive to the feelings of others, but is it wise not to be?

Sep. 10 2010 10:33 AM
jgarbuz

Everyone today talks about reaching out to "understand" Islam, but how many Muslims talk about reaching out to understand Christianity or Judaism?

As for putting the mosque on the site of the 9/11 massacre, and the burning of the Quran, both are legally permissible under our American laws. But are they sensitive to the feelings and wishes of others? There is no law about being having to be sensitive to the feelings of others, but is it wise not to be?

Sep. 10 2010 10:32 AM
unreligious internet kook

noted.

Sep. 10 2010 10:16 AM

all you religious people are crazy!!

Sep. 10 2010 10:02 AM
not moving office downtown

How did this conversation get started, anyway?

oooh yeh...that...

Sep. 10 2010 09:34 AM
Frank from NYC

I am Catholic. I work in a public school in NYC. The other day I was chatting with our head custodian, who is Muslim, about Ramadan, about God. As in all past conversations of this nature, without exception, I left feeling closer to God, my faith stronger and clearer, because of this man's words, his references to the Koran and its simple, profound teachings, on gratitude for the wonders that God has bestowed on us. Newt Gingrich and those currently perpetrating the misguided anti-Islamic sentiment in the U.S. are doing so from a place of either ignorance or cynical political calculation. I fear the latter is true, and this bodes ill for the outcome of this debate. Gingrich and his lot are nearly identical in their fanaticism and moral misguidedness to the extremists perpetrating their "holy war" (an oxymoron, if you ask me) on the west. And as they fan these flames, they are potentiating an armageddon of their OWN making, not one predicted by any holy book.

Sep. 10 2010 09:19 AM

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