A mosque near Ground Zero is unacceptable

The New York City community board endorsed the Cordoba House, a community center and mosque planned for construction near Ground … Continued

The New York City community board endorsed the Cordoba House, a community center and mosque planned for construction near Ground Zero. Significant opposition has emerged against the project. Sarah Palin even weighed in this weekend, tweeting, “Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing.” Should there be a mosque near Ground Zero?

As a Baptist who believes in religious freedom and separation of church and state, I strongly support religious communities’ right to have places of worship within reasonable distance of where they live. However, no religious community has an absolute right to have a place of worship wherever they choose, regardless of the community’s objections.

I believe that putting a mosque at Ground Zero, or very close to Ground Zero, is unacceptable. The persons who committed that atrocity did so in the name of their understanding of Islam. Even though the vast majority of Muslims reject that ideology and condemned their actions on Sept. 11, 2001, it still remains a fact that the people who perpetrated the 9/11 attack were Muslims and proclaimed they were doing what they were doing in the name of Islam. Given that fact, I believe that it is inappropriate for a mosque to be at Ground Zero, and for Muslims to insist that they have the right to have a mosque there is counterproductive to the spirit of reconciliation and healing that we all seek.

Having a mosque at Ground Zero would be the equivalent of having a Japanese Shinto shrine built next to the USS Arizona. Do the followers of Shinto have a right to have a shrine in Honolulu? Yes. In close proximity to the USS Arizona? No. I am well aware that many Japanese did not support the attack on Pearl Harbor and in fact, Japanese-Americans in a Nisei battalion composed the most decorated combat unit in the American armed forces in WWII, as they demonstrated their patriotism, even while many of their family members were shamefully placed in internment camps in the United States. That still does not negate the fact that it would be inappropriate to have a Japanese shrine in close proximity to the USS Arizona. It is similarly inappropriate to put a mosque in close proximity to Ground Zero.

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  • conrad031

    Islam is a terrorist cult masquerading as a religion. Everything with Islam must be torn down and closed. All operations closed and banned.Islam is the enemy of America and the world.

  • ahfurlong

    I’m not surprised to find a commentary of this low quality accepted by the Washington Post. Half lies and deceptions seem to be ‘de rigueur’ for them and the ailing American Press corps. To associate that religion with that crime is to attenuate what religions are in the first place.

  • Apt604

    I don’t know what’s more offensive: the naked bigotry, or the apparent willingness to trample on the First Amendment in the name of naked bigotry.It was inappropriate for neo-Nazis to march in the largely-Jewish city of Skokie, IL. But they had the right to do it.

  • cadam72

    When would it be appropriate for you? Obviously 9 years isn’t enough time? How far should it be from the site? Obviously blocksa re not enought. Your bigotry is offensive to the rest of Americans who see that 20 terrorists did this, not the 600,000 muslims who live in NYC, the 7 million who live in the US or the rest of the 1.5 billion across 50 countries. Either you have religious freedom or we don’t and these Americans building the mosque are not the enemy.

  • hi123

    This op-ed begins “The New York City community board endorsed the Cordoba House, a community center and mosque planned for construction near Ground Zero.” I’d add that the vote wasn’t even close: 29-1 (with 10 abstentions).But then Richard Land says “no religious community has an absolute right to have a place of worship wherever they choose, regardless of the community’s objections.”I’m pretty sure Richard Land doesn’t live in NYC and neither does Sarah Palin. So how is it their business if the COMMUNITY voted to allow a mosque/community center near Ground Zero?

  • Leizerel

    I’m appalled that commenters who disagree with the Mr. Land accuse him of bigotry, of which there is absolutely no trace in what he has written.

  • svengerald

    Mr Land is spot on. The analogy to the Arizona is perfect. The people disagreeing are either uneducated on islam or apologists.

  • Omar1

    This is a brave column, Mr. Land. Thanks for speaking up:)

  • bford1

    “If they turn back from Islam, becoming renegades, seize them and kill them wherever you find them.” Quran, 4:90That’s enough of an explanation of Islam for me. If Muslims truly follow the Quran they will kill any of their friends who decide they no longer want to be Muslim. How’s that for a “religion of peace”?

  • watchmaker

    Perhaps, before spouting jingoistic nonsense you should make sure your “facts” are correct.The Shinto shrine Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha – Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu‎ is just off the major freeway leading from Honolulu to Pearl Harbor. Just five miles away is the spot where Japanese planes dropped their bombs on the American fleet.Honolulu is much like L.A. in that freeways and automobiles reign supreme. So, Mr. Land, there is already a Shinto shrine near the USS Arizona. It’s near the highway between Pearl Harbor and Waikiki. Where all the tourists zooming back and forth can see it.And it’s been there ever since it was built in 1920. In order to be consistent, do you now propose tearing it down in the name of Jingoistic Über-Patriotism?

  • volkmare

    i agree with Mr LandMark

  • bford1

    @watchmakerYou seem to forget that time moves forward.The Japanese built a Hawaiian Shinto shrine in ~1920 – good for them. It was long before the Japanese attacked in WWII. I’m curious – were the shrine builders American citizens or not (you seem to be an expert on this so I’m asking)? In any case the Japanese have been our allies since 1952, but I doubt they would ever have desired to build a memorial near the USS Arizona AFTER the Pearl Harbor attack. Does Shintoism by definition instruct the murder of non-believers of Shintoism? Does Shintoism have an overbearing system of law similar to Sharia? The answer is no to both.Before condemning Mr. Land maybe you should look into the Quran and the Hadith. Those Islamic source texts clearly explain the terrible fate of those who don’t believe in Islam. However, I expect you don’t have the attention span or desire to really learn about this – it might take away from the effort you put into slamming those trying to protect our freedom.

  • Alert2

    Lest Kuffars are accused of ‘ignorance of Islam’, here is someone who lived with Islam: For the barbarians who accuse Americans of ‘intolerance’, they should start by thanking America for the freedom-of-speach because their Saudi Arabia allows Christians to enter the country as foreign workers for temporary work, but does not allow them to practice their faith openly, because of that Christians generally only worship in secret within private homes[5]. Items and articles belonging to religions other than Islam are prohibited[6]. These include Bibles, crucifixes, statues, carvings, items with religious symbols, and others[7].: To the worthless arguement that “Muslims were killed on 9/11″, well, Umma can thank their fellow brother-muslims and Allah (remember, Allah knows best).And if Imam who wants to heal ‘Sharia compliant America’ (

  • KaddafiDelendaEst

    @watchmaker: Your analysis is absurd. There are at least seven (7!) New York Mosques in Manhattan including Islamic Society-Mid Manhattan, Assata Islamic Center, Ar-Rehman Foundation Inc, Masjid Ar-Rehman, Muhammad’s Mosque Number Seven, MOSQUE of Islamic Brotherhood, and Masjid Manhattan.Nobody suggested tearing them down. Folks are objecting to a new mosque at the sacred burial ground of Ground Zero.I’ve been to the US Arizona memorial. There is no Shinto shrine near those sacred remains. You will, however, find plenty of proud Japanese-supremacists laughing and grinning for pictures of themselves.Is that what New Yorkers want for Ground Zero? Islamo-supremacist coming here to gloat while doing their ritual ablutions (literally) on the ashes of our sacred dead?What a revolting thought.

  • KaddafiDelendaEst

    @Apt604: supporters had “nothing to do with 9/11″? WRONG! In a 60 Minutes interview that aired on September 30, 2001, Imam Rauf explained and justified the 9/11 attacks as part of a larger Islamic “reaction against the U.S. government politically, where we [the U.S.] espouse principles of democracy and human rights, and [yet] where we ally ourselves with oppressive regimes in many of these countries.” “I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened,” Rauf elaborated, “but United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.” Rauf further stated that “because we [Americans] have been accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world,” it could be said that “[i]n fact, in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.”The Cordoba House are 5th column Qaedists. They should be deported.

  • KaddafiDelendaEst

    Imam Rauf’s book suggests that the “American Constitution and system of governance uphold the core principles of Islamic law” (i.e., sharia). He concludes, therefore, that the “American political structure is sharia-compliant.” In December 2007 Rauf promoted “What’s Right with Islam” at a Malaysia gathering of Hizb ut Tahrir, which seeks to impose sharia on the United States and other countries worldwide.If Cordoba House isn’t Islamo-supremacism, I don’t know what is.New York City has gone mad.

  • Nabihah

    Islam is not about extremism and hate

  • eemid2

    This is an absolute crime that we need to stop. Stop any attempt to impose sharia on the United States, and do not give these radical Muslims a place to meet so close to the twin towers. No mosque and no encouragement to push Sharia on America. It would violate our belief in freedom!

  • americanlady1

    I believe there should be zoning laws that forbid the building or establishment of a mosque near the Twin Towers in order to protect the memories of those that lost their lives.I know the reason we oppose this so much is because we do not trust

  • Apt604

    Leizerel, when someone tries to penalize an entire religion, such as calling a mosque “inappropriate” even though its supporters had nothing to do with 9/11, it’s a pretty clear sign of bigotry. I’m sorry that you’re having trouble recognizing it.

  • birder356

    This blatant rubbing our noses in doo-doo has to come to a screeching halt and send them back to their own countiries! They need to be stopped immediately! The Politiical Correctness needs to stop, and these peoples agenda needs to go in the toilet! Wake up America-they are just trying to take over the world!I am not being racist or prejudice-they are telling us they want to take over the world! They want us dead! “They want to kill all infidels” so why should we allow them anything in our Country?

  • birder356

    Islam IS ALL ABOUT HATE, KILLING, AND TAKING OVER THE WORLD, YOU BELEIVE THE WAY THY BELEIVE OR YOU ARE AN INFIDEL AND ARE LESS THAN DIRT-THAT IS WHAT THEIR BOOK TELLS THEM! THAT IS WHAT THEY BELEIVE! THEY WANT TO IMPOSE THEIR BELEIFS ON EVERYONE-YOU CONVERT OR YOU DIE! LOOK WHAT THEY DID TO 3000+ PEOPLE WHO DID NOTHING TO THEM! THEY JUST TRIED IN NY AGAIN IN DECEMBER WITH A CAR BOMB! THEY WILL CONTINUE! AND IF YOU DON’T BELEIVE IT-READ ALL ABOUT THEM IN BOOKS! LOOK AT THEIR HISTORY! THEY LIE TO GET THEIR AGENDA THROUGH! NOT PREJUDICED-HAVE BEEN STUDYING WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT! THAT IS YOUR ACE IN THE HOLE-STUDY IT!

  • attaee

    You evangelists will ruin the humanity. The way your portray religion is full of hate and extremism. May you come to an understanding of common sense and the need for all of us to exist in peace and harmony in our communities with the people of all religions and sects.

  • MarkinTX

    Conrad031 I agree, let’s take a religion and just condemn it as a whole for the actions of few.By your reasoning, all Christians should be treated as members of the Westboro Baptist Church

  • sharon15

    Islam is a backward barbaric religious ideology that has no place in a modern Western country. Until Islam treats women as equals, allows girls to be educated,, stops slavery,jihad, killing apostates, chopping of hands for theft,stoning adulterers, honor killings etc it should be banned outright. It has NO place in enlightened countries, especially countries with a Judeo-Christian ethic. We should all fight against the Islamicization of our society.

  • arkns

    Agree. Completely unacceptable. Mosque building should be confined to Pakistan only (to replace one recently blown up).

  • TCharles1

    “I believe it is inappropriate for a mosque to be at Ground Zero,and for Muslims to insist that they have the right to have a mosque there is counterproductive to reconciliation and healing that we all seek”

  • TCharles1

    I sure that Mr Land and other opponents of religious liberty on this blog will find my statement offensive.

  • pubdub

    Ground Zero is not an appropriate place for a mosque. If Muslims are sincere in their desire for reconciliation and understanding, then choose another site. It’s incumbent on them, I think, to consider the feelings of the victims of such an horrific action first and recognize that to wish to construct a mosque on this site would be tantamount to putting to death an innocent victim, then offering to buy a memorial headstone for that victim.

  • J1107

    The Crusades and the Inquisitions will never die. Terrorist created Ground Zero. Anyone can claim the represent a country or a religion just as those who post intolerance and ignorance on this page say the represent Americans and Judeo/Christians who by the way have more in common with Islam than they want to admit both that they are are nieghbors and fellow citizens and shared beliefs rooted in the Old Testament.

  • street1776

    Build an Islamic mosque by ground zero in spirit of reconciliation and healing does not show respect. The symbolism of having a mosque close to ground zero is like planting a victory flag on top of the ruins after a battle!

  • tjmlrc

    If the Muslims can’t build near Ground Zero, then let no faith build near Ground Zero. Keep it free, since the Christians and Jews who object to a Mosque obviously do not believe in religious freedom.Posted by: amelia45

  • tjmlrc

    Leizerel, when someone tries to penalize an entire religion, such as calling a mosque “inappropriate” even though its supporters had nothing to do with 9/11, it’s a pretty clear sign of bigotry. I’m sorry that you’re having trouble recognizing it.