Blaise www

There is no “Ground Zero Mosque”. In Manhattan, two and a half blocks is like three neighborhoods away. There are already Islamic centers closer to ground zero than this new one, and they aren’t even close enough to call them “Ground Zero Mosques”.

Posted: August 18th 2010

See all questions answered by Blaise


I think they have every right to build a community center (including a mosque) a few blocks away from ground zero, and the people who are railing against it clearly want freedom of religion only for their religion. Actually, I’m a bit more cynical than that – the people who are railing against it just want attention.

Having said that, I think it’s a really stupid PR move.

Posted: August 18th 2010

See all questions answered by Eric_PK

flagellant www

From my position opposing all religious activity, I naturally deprecate the building of any new church/temple/mosque or what-have-you. However, I believe that religious organisations should not be proscribed or banned provided they do not breach the law. I have no doubt that any new mosque in Manhattan would only be built lawfully.

(I am much more concerned though, about the way in which religious organisations are given charitable and/or tax-exempt status and I do think that they should be taxed like any other theatre/entertainment centre/huckster/mythologiser.)

I used to work in New York, and I witnessed the 1989 demonstrations against Salman Rushdie for his book The Satanic Verses. I thought the Muslim demonstrators a nasty lot then and they seem to have got worse since. While I often visited the World Trade Centre, I only object to the proposed construction of a mosque two blocks from the WTC site as part of my principled objection to all new religious buildings; the mosque’s proximity to the WTC site has no bearing on my position.

It is just possible that something good may come of its construction. For example, it may bring about conciliation from the more peaceable Sufi sect of 'The Religion of Peace.’ Perhaps it will lead greater numbers of Muslims to condemn the dastardly 11th September attacks more vociferously and unequivocally. Somehow I doubt it, though…

Posted: August 16th 2010

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Dave Hitt www

I differ from most of my fellow atheists on this one. While the Muslims have a legal right to do it, I think it is a tasteless, cruel joke and will be seen as a victory monument by Muslims world-wide – a celebration of slaughter.

The “moderate*” Imam who will be heading this mosque has written a book celebrating Sharia law and proclaiming it’s compatible with the US Constitution. This is the law that says a woman’s testimony is only worth half of a man’s, that the penalty for rape is for the victim to be stoned to death (usually with the rapist going free), that minor crimes should be punished by chopping of people’s hands, that women escaping abusive homes should be murdered or mutilated and similar moderate and enlightened Islamic judgments.

Bureaucrats can stall any project, and there are (I hope) enough bureaucrats opposed to this who will enforce every law, rule and regulation, especially the contradictory ones, to stall this project, then stall it again, then stall it some more. The beauty of this approach is they’ll simply be doing their job. If we’re fortunate, it will not be built in our lifetime, if ever.

*A moderate Muslim is one who only stays angry for four hundred years.

Posted: August 16th 2010

See all questions answered by Dave Hitt


Undoubtedly, a Sufi Community center/place of worship in downtown Manhattan has every legal and constitutional right to be constructed.

While researching this question, it appears that the inter-faith connection is being pressed, and not once—and I have also read Muslim sources—were non-believers included as part of reaching out to the community. If I am wrong, then I would be very glad to find that out.

Though some very bizarre people like Palin are clearly demonstrating their poor grasp of constitutional law—which is not at all surprising and can be and is being challenged by journalists—what is more worrying to me is that faith is naively considered so respected, so cherished, so important, so potent, and so trusted as to be regarded a bridge builder. Apparently god belief, no matter the flavor, is this wonderful glue that causes societal cohesion. Color me unimpressed and not convinced. If this is the psychological and emotional basis for this community center, it will do no real good for society.

Moderate religion still uses non-evidential beliefs for its raison d'être. The law will take care of extremists; moderation is not needed, and certainly not the deliberate courting of moderation. In other words, I consider the emphasis of this center to be foolish and a joke. It will further increase deferential respect for non-evidential beliefs as long as they are religious. Their 'solution’ is not mine.

Posted: August 15th 2010

See all questions answered by logicel

brian thomson www

As an atheist, I don’t see much merit in any mosque, regardless of location. I think there are some striking similarities between the situation in New York and that in Jerusalem, where a mosque was built on the site known as “Temple Mount” to Jews and “Noble Sanctuary” to Muslims. This hill was the site of Solomon’s temples and Jewish revolts, many people died there over the centuries, and it is possibly the most politically-sensitive piece of real-estate on this planet.

This leads me to ask whether the World Trade Center site is being treated as a piece of “holy ground”, something to be defended with one’s life. If so, to which religion(s) is it holy? People of all faiths, and none, died there on September 11 2001, so my view is that it is not “holy” at all in any religious sense.

I find it less significant than most people do that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Muslims, since other religions have shown themselves capable of atrocities over the centuries. The fundamentalist mindsets behind them, the dogmatic ideologies that atheists oppose, are not exclusive to Islam. So, while I think the establishment of this mosque is insensitive and short-sighted, it doesn’t matter that much to me when I look at the big picture. If it is within the secular law – and it is – emotional considerations must take a back seat.

Posted: August 15th 2010

See all questions answered by brian thomson

Steve Zara www

I have no objections at all, and there should be none in a secular society. There is no guilt by association linking the builders of the mosque with the terrorists who flew the planes. I think it is great that the USA is standing up for equality and resisting emotional pressure, understandable though that pressure is.

Also, the mosque is hardly at “ground zero”.

Posted: August 15th 2010

See all questions answered by Steve Zara


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