Mosque at Ground Zero?

By now, most of you have heard of the proposal to build a super-sized mosque near Ground Zero (the location in New York City where the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place).  There has been quite a debate about this in the U.S.

Later this week, I will be traveling to NYC and will visit Ground Zero to pay my respects.  I will also chat with some New Yorkers to get their perspective on the matter.  I’ll write about it next week, when I get back.  In the meantime, I thought I’d share with you the opinion of Newt Gingrich, who wrote an interesting piece on the topic.

Newt Gingrich Statement on Proposed Mosque/Islamic Community Center near Ground Zero

There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.

The proposed “Cordoba House” overlooking the World Trade Center site – where a group of jihadists killed over 3000 Americans and destroyed one of our most famous landmarks – is a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites.  For example, most of them don’t understand that “Cordoba House” is a deliberately insulting term.  It refers to Cordoba, Spain – the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex.

Today, some of the Mosque’s backers insist this term is being used to “symbolize interfaith cooperation” when, in fact, every Islamist in the world recognizes Cordoba as a symbol of Islamic conquest.  It is a sign of their contempt for Americans and their confidence in our historic ignorance that they would deliberately insult us this way.

Those Islamists and their apologists who argue for “religious toleration” are arrogantly dishonest. They ignore the fact that more than 100 mosques already exist in New York City. Meanwhile, there are no churches or synagogues in all of Saudi Arabia. In fact no Christian or Jew can even enter Mecca.

And they lecture us about tolerance.

Read the rest of the article here.

13 thoughts on “Mosque at Ground Zero?

  1. In The Holy Quran, Muslims are told in Sura 9:5,” Fight and slay infidels wherever you find them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war.” There ought to be no surprise when some do just that. Many over the globe are invited to become Muslims. There are many Westerners who have taken the invitation.

  2. Gerry look up the word “exegesis” when you have a moment.

    Beyond that I have a few comments about the quality of debate that surrounds the Ground Zero Mosque.

    Someone kindly remind me what group of people Mr. Gingrich represents. Surely it’s not the sort of people who have as their goal to be like Saudi Arabia, nor could the goal of such people be for America to model perceived Arabian values.

    Beyond that, let’s cut to the chase. For many people the Ground Zero Mosque is offensive because a mosque, to such people, is a symbol of terror. Try telling that to someone like Pope Benedict.

    To interpret a mosque in such a way, says more about the interpreter than that being interpretted. Naturally a variety of factors could reduce one’s responsibility for such ignorance, but let me say that a mosque as a symbol of terror is as absurd as Gingrich ‘s Saudi connection.

    Is the building of such a Mosque prudent? Who’s to say. Both sides
    could make a good case. But I am not such how the disputed question of prudence has any relevance to whether a group has the right to build on this ground. It seems apparent that they have this right.

    Do we want the Federal Government to interfere. It seems many people do. But isn’t that the exact opposite sort of politics that Gingrich and friends want to be associated with.

    My advice: Get over it.


  3. Kelly,

    Nobody is questioning whether Muslims have the legal right to build a mosque in that spot. Unless zoning laws say otherwise, they have the right. But is the considerate thing to do? Judging by the reaction of New Yorkers, I would have to say no. New Yorkers have been the victims of various terrorist attacks and plots over the past 15 years. I sympathize with their anxieties. Of course, one cannot identify Islam with terrorism, but one cannot either ignore the not-insignificant element within Islam that wants to see infidels destroyed, not to mention the silence of the “moderates” in that debate.

    Most of the Muslims in NY are not US born. Being myself part of a family of immigrants, I it strikes me as a minimum act of decency to adapt to the welcoming country and to be as respectful as possible to the locals. In this spirit, as a courtesy to the country that welcomed them and gave them access to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the world’s richest country, perhaps New York’s Muslim should stop being so focussed on their “rights” (which they only acquired once they hit American soil and could only dream of when they were in their native country) and show a bit more respect and sensitivity for the trauma and scars of their new fellow American citizens.

  4. That’s the key question: One of consideration. And I raised that exact point when I spoke of prudence.

    There is nothing you say in your comment that I necessarily disagree with. But the article you reference, Newt’s, does not enjoy the rationality of your most recent comment. Hence, I stand by my identification that the comments Newt is making are ridiculous (especially the comments about Saudi Arabia), but coupled coupled with your rational response, please understand my confusion in why you make use of his comments…

  5. I don’t agree with 100% of Newt’s positions either, but he makes a valid point regarding the double-standard between the intolerance of Muslims regarding other religions when they are living in their home country vs. how they suddenly become paragons of free speech once they set foot in the US (while not exporting their new-found plurality to their home country). Doesn’t that strike you as odd?

    Even more striking is that they would be so outspoken at the alleged “intolerance” being shown by traumatized New Yorkers while they are silent about Christians getting sentenced to death in their home country just for evangelizing. Double-standard indeed.

    Which do you think is the greater injustice between the two options below?

    a) Muslims in NY have to take their plans for a new mosque a few miles further to accommodate the sensivities of a banged and bruised local population.

    b) The fact that Christians and Jews in the Middle East are violently persecuted to the point of death.

    If they are truly sincere about respecting life and freedom, which of these two injustices should the New York Muslims be more outraged about? Which should they be protesting about?

  6. The double standard argument is meaningless since Americans do not, nor should they, view Saudi and American values as identical. Read his comments again, and view the placards held by some which say “Ground Zero Mosque when there’s a synagogue in Saudi Arabia.” Theirs is a stupid argument.

    Intelligent conversations require thoughtful people. Your initial response to me meets the criteria, and would have made a very good and compelling opening post. Newt’s comments about equivelancy do not meet the criteria, and should be marginalized rather than referenced in a neutral-to-postive manner…

  7. The double standard argument is meaningless since Americans do not, nor should they, view Saudi and American values as identical

    Why then are Muslims in New York invoking American values of freedom and plurality for their mosque while not applying those values to Christians getting stoned in Saudi Arabia? I don’t see another explanation than a double-standard. Besides, as Christians we are not relativistic. We believe that freedom is endowed to all human beings and is intrinsic to human nature. It must be applied everywhere, within certain limitations related to the common good. No country should be exempt. Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries need to open up. That was a key point of Pope Benedict’s Regensburg address.

    Under Sharia Law, you and I couldn’t even be having this discussion.

  8. Steve of coarse its a double standard. But I don’t devalue the things I hold dear because someone else chooses not to. Hence the ridiculous nature of the signs that say “a mosque on ground zero when there’s a synagogue in Saudia Arabia.” The sign is effective to the extent that it point out the double standard of some supporting the building oft he Mosque (because they might be rather disinterested in Saudia Arabian prohibitions about Jewish or Christian houses of worship. But far more damaging is the sort of equivelancy the statement draws. What Saudi Arabia does isn’t going to influence American or Canadian domestic policy. When I say “isn’t” I mean “shouldn’t.”

    A little side note: I have noticed that this blog has taken on an interest in Islam over the next month. My impression is that those commenting are rather ignorant about Islam, and are unfortunately imposing their own ignorance onto Pope Benedict and making him look like an idiot too. I think the following would be a healthy exercise: Have someone like Steve, since he actually came up with a thoughtful comment on September 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm, write a post on this pastor in the United States whose going to be burning copies of the Quran on September 11, and we’ll see what sort of response Steve gets.

    Herny, how exactly building a mosque “on or even anywhere near Ground Zero” spitting on the graves of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack? First of all define “anywhere near?” Anywhere in New York City? It was an attack on America. How about anywhere in the US? Do you really think the victis of 9’11 are so stupid as to view those who would gather in such a mosque near ground zero as brothers to those who flew into the towers?

  9. I agree that making a mosque at Ground Zero conditional on religious freedom in Saudi Arabia is not the proper moral approach. We agree on that. That’s why I don’t agree with everything Newt said. The decision should be based on consideration for New Yorkers, as we discussed.
    Even though it was his opening statement, there were other valid points in his article.
    Being a former politician, he was probably thinking in strategic terms as he was accustomed to doing when negotiating with a poltical opponent, ie show me some concessions on your end and then we’ll talk about concessions on our end. That’s probably where he’s coming from. But I’m only speculating.

  10. If I could just add one more thing. I was trying to think of the right way to say it, and I’m sure some commentator has already done a better job at it, but in my view a Ground Zero Mosque demonstrates the superiority our tolerance in this respect, because it shows that while there are all sorts of associations individual people may make about Islam and terror, in the United States, those views aren’t sanctioned and Islam won’t be scapegoated.

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