Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

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SaulChanukah

Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by SaulChanukah » Sun May 23, 2010 10:14 pm

By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Tempers are heating up in the New York City area over the plans by the American Society for Muslim Advancement and another Islamic group known as the Cordoba Initiative to build a $100 million, 13-story, Islamic cultural center and mosque just two blocks from Ground Zero. And if that were not inflammatory enough, the plan is to inaugurate the new center on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Another provocative aspect is the fact that the majority of the money will allegedly come from the Saudis. Furthermore, the Imam who helped found the Cordoba initiative after 9/11, Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf, is on record as telling CNN, right after the 9/11 attacks, “U.S. policies were an accessory to the crime that happened. We (the U.S.) have been an accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. Osama bin Laden was made in the USA.“

New Yorkers seem overwhelmingly opposed to the plan, comparing its insensitivity to the German government opening, say, a Bach appreciation museum right outside the Auschwitz death camp, or Toyota opening a car factory by the Arizona Memorial on the island of Oahu. On my radio show many families of 9/11 victims called in to condemn the plans as ‘a slap in the face,‘ ‘highly insensitive,‘ and ‘a despicable attempt to claim victory at the site where so many innocent Americans died.‘

The issues at stake affect the very heart of American democracy. On the one hand it would be the height of insensitivity, not to say an outright provocation, for the Islamic community to build a giant Islamic shrine at the resting place of 3000 innocent Americans who were murdered by Islamic terrorists. On the other hand, America is a tolerant country that allows for the free worship of all its citizens and one bridles against the idea of preventing any mosque from being built.

I have a simple, elegant, and deeply moral solution. Let the Islamic Cultural Center be built. Let the mosque be included. But, the Muslim organizations building it should commit right now to making the principal focus of the building a museum depicting the rise of Islamic extremism, its hate-based agenda, and how it is an abomination to Islam. The museum would feature exhibits showing the major fomenters of Islamic hatred worldwide and the cultural and religious factors that have gained them so wide a following. It would have exhibitions on some of the terrible atrocities committed by these Islamic fundamentalists, focusing specifically on the slaughter at Ground Zero on 9/11. The Islamic Center would have a major exhibition on the evil of Osama bin Laden, detailing his crimes against humanity and the number of innocent people he has killed. Most importantly, the museum would repudiate these haters by showing how their actions are an abomination to authentic Islamic teaching and how every God-fearing Muslim has a responsibility to spit them out.

Who could possibly object to Muslims coming together to create a museum condemning growing Islamic intolerance and call Osama bin Laden, Hamas, and Hezbollah what they are - perversions of Islam that are defiling and destroying a great world religion.

If the groups building the Cultural Center and mosque are prepared to make this its focus they will have proven that they are not only enormously sensitive to the families of the victims who lost loved ones there, but that they are courageous voices who wish to take back their religion from the fiends who purport to represent it.

This is something that the German government has done extremely well since the holocaust. They have built memorials and museums that depict the rise of Nazism and how state organs such as the political establishment, the media, and business all facilitated and contributed to Hitler’s rise. Many of these government-sponsored exhibits go even further, exploring a German national character that was so subservient to and respectful of authority - and so dependent on strongmen to lead it - that it eagerly embraced the anti-Semitism of Hitler and became, in Daniel Goldhagen’s memorable phrase, ‘Hitler’s willing executioners.‘

Without a similar degree of introspection, on the one hand, and widespread condemnation of Islamic terrorism on the other, Islam risks being taken over by fanatics who disgrace their faith by murdering in the name of Allah. Communities that are not self-critical always risk going off the deep end. They have no internal mechanism to weed out corruption. And an Islamic Center at Ground Zero dedicated to that deeply necessary and currently absent introspection would repudiate the terrorists who perpetrated the atrocity, honor the victims who died there, and serve as a powerful step toward God fearing and decent Muslims taking back their faith from the fanatics.

But it goes without saying that my opinion on the matter does not much matter. It is the victims families who must be consulted the Islamic groups on question first and foremost.

About fifteen years ago I visited the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp for the first time. I was taken aback by giant Christian crosses that dotted the deathly landscape. Wherever you looked there no Jewish symbols only Christian ones. I asked my close friend Prof. Jonathan Webber, one of the world’s leading authorities on Auschwitz and my guide at the camp, why there were so many Christian symbols when more than ninety-five percent of the people who died there were Jews. He explained to me that the Jewish response to Auschwitz was one of emptiness and silence. Something unspeakable and inexplicable had happened here. The horror was too great to capture, the meaninglessness of the act too profound to be justified with any kind of memorial. Jews did not want to give meaning to something so utterly meaningless. Indeed, Jewish theologians speak of the holocaust as a time of Hester Panim, the hiding of God’s presence. Hence, the Jewish community took the approach of leaving the slaughterhouse empty of symbolism or memorials. Christians might seek to redeem it, but some places remain unredeemable. The Jewish community discussed this with our Christian brothers and many of the Christian symbols were removed.

In the same way it behooved our Christian brothers to allow us Jews to choose to commemorate the extermination of our people in the manner we saw fit, it likewise behooves our Islamic brothers and sisters to approach the families of those who died on 9/11 and ask them how they wish the site to be commemorated. And if as a body they object to any kind of mosque being built there, then their wishes should be respected.

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by jbuck919 » Mon May 24, 2010 7:02 am

In the previous thread on this, there was some doubt as to whether it was intended for the Islamic Center (it is not a "giant mosque," though Muslims are already using the site for prayers) to open precisely on September 11, 2011, or whether it was simply intended to start construction before that date. According to last night's ABC Evening News, you can split the difference in terms of supposed insensitivity: They intend to break ground on 9/11/11.

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by living_stradivarius » Mon May 24, 2010 7:04 am

jbuck919 wrote:In the previous thread on this, there was some doubt as to whether it was intended for the Islamic Center (it is not a "giant mosque") to open precisely on September 11, 2011, or whether it was simply intended to start construction before that date. According to last night's ABC Evening News, you can split the difference in terms of insensitivity: They intend to break ground on 9/11/11.
It's fun to stay at the YMIA... hmm that doesn't work so well.
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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by jbuck919 » Mon May 24, 2010 7:09 am

living_stradivarius wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:In the previous thread on this, there was some doubt as to whether it was intended for the Islamic Center (it is not a "giant mosque") to open precisely on September 11, 2011, or whether it was simply intended to start construction before that date. According to last night's ABC Evening News, you can split the difference in terms of insensitivity: They intend to break ground on 9/11/11.
It's fun to stay at the YMIA... hmm that doesn't work so well.
In Village People style, the "I'' could be interpreted as hands raised in a universal prayer stance. :wink:

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Chalkperson » Mon May 24, 2010 11:46 pm

The point is this, the Saudi's bought the old Burlington Coat Factory, an unsold eyesore on the fringe of Ground Zero, there is absolutely nothing that can or could be done to stop them, they are building a Place of Worship, any building can be designated that, of course it's good for the City to get a brand new $100,000,000 Building in place of the Derelict Factory, quite how much Co-Operation they got from the Mayor or the City I do not know, I would be interested in seeing if they wanted it built there, I suspect they did not...it's also not quite as close as it looks to the Site, but, it will offer a great birds eye view onto the Memorial for anyone visiting the upper floors of the Islamic Center...it's Politics, Saudi Style...
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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Barry » Tue May 25, 2010 8:15 am

Well the Saudis being behind this is likely bad news. They fund mosques and religious schools all over the world and they aren't exactly known for pushing a "moderate" brand of Islam.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by absinthe » Tue May 25, 2010 8:57 am

Huh....well, just let anyone try to build a Christian church in Riyadh...

(probably a faster way to close one's curtains than Dignitas in der Schweiz.)

Looks like America now has the Muslim problem. Let's hope a giant mosque doesn't mean giant loud-hailers to call yerz-all to prayer at 5 a.m.
Maybe they'll open a local branch of the Bin Laden Construction Company somewhere in the place.

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Barry » Tue May 25, 2010 9:41 am

absinthe wrote:Huh....well, just let anyone try to build a Christian church in Riyadh...

(probably a faster way to close one's curtains than Dignitas in der Schweiz.)

Looks like America now has the Muslim problem. Let's hope a giant mosque doesn't mean giant loud-hailers to call yerz-all to prayer at 5 a.m.
Maybe they'll open a local branch of the Bin Laden Construction Company somewhere in the place.
One of the reasons I and millions of others like living in the U.S. is that the government doesn't dictate which religions can build houses of worship and which ones can't. I hope we'll never be anything like Riyadh in that respect. That's not to say there isn't a legitimite issue in where this particular mosque is being built, but if the local zoning board approves it, oh well.

Having said that, given the involvement of the Saudis and the trackrecord of what goes on in some of the mosques and schools they fund, I'd like the FBI or whatever the appropriate agency is to monitor the place for radical activity.

At this point, I'm much more concerned about non-government institutions buckling under (eg. Yale; the Comedy Network). If we ever get to the point where our police are afraid to go into Muslim neighborhoods and enforce the laws that apply to non-Muslims, then I'll start worrying that we're headed down the same road that Europe has been on for a while now.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by david johnson » Tue May 25, 2010 11:51 am

Let them build it. It's an ideal place for us to do the cold-war spy and snoop business. If I were them, though, it woiuld just be a diversion. My main hq for operations in the USA would be Mohammed's Pocket Pita and Fig stand one block over.

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by jack stowaway » Tue May 25, 2010 4:56 pm

One aspect which hasn't been addressed in the debate is the power of symbolism and its role in Muslim triumphalist thinking.

Americans will interpret the building of the mosque as evidence (which it is) of the tolerance and openness of US society.

Muslems the world over may well interpret construction of the mosque on the site of the destroyed World Trade Towers as evidence of the triumph of Islam over Christianity/infidelism.

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Chalkperson » Tue May 25, 2010 5:02 pm

jack stowaway wrote:One aspect which hasn't been addressed in the debate is the power of symbolism and its role in Muslim triumphalist thinking.

Americans will interpret the building of the mosque as evidence (which it is) of the tolerance and openness of US society.

Muslems the world over may well interpret construction of the mosque on the site of the destroyed World Trade Towers as evidence of the triumph of Islam over Christianity/infidelism.
Well put, Jack, that's precisely why I said it was Politics, Saudi Style... :wink:
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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by david johnson » Wed May 26, 2010 3:45 pm

jack stowaway wrote:One aspect which hasn't been addressed in the debate is the power of symbolism and its role in Muslim triumphalist thinking. Americans will interpret the building of the mosque as evidence (which it is) of the tolerance and openness of US society. Muslems the world over may well interpret construction of the mosque on the site of the destroyed World Trade Towers as evidence of the triumph of Islam over Christianity/infidelism.


and they will be wrong.

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by jbuck919 » Wed May 26, 2010 3:51 pm

david johnson wrote:
jack stowaway wrote:One aspect which hasn't been addressed in the debate is the power of symbolism and its role in Muslim triumphalist thinking. Americans will interpret the building of the mosque as evidence (which it is) of the tolerance and openness of US society. Muslems the world over may well interpret construction of the mosque on the site of the destroyed World Trade Towers as evidence of the triumph of Islam over Christianity/infidelism.


and they will be wrong.
Not to mention, so what?

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Brendan

Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Brendan » Wed May 26, 2010 5:24 pm

So the process of rendering America "Amerabia" like Europe has become Eurabia continues - with the complacency or enthusiastic support of the PC Fundamentalists that Islam utterly despises!

Expect violence towards women and gays to increase as it has in Europe and Australia - protected and encouraged, of course, by PC rhetoric of multicultural tolerance and sensitivity. PC activists - especially for women and gay rights which go directly against the Koran and are constant targets of violence eg Hirsi Ali - encouraging Islam is just insanity on LSD.

The symbol of the defeat of the West and our utter cowardice is entirely appropriate, sadly.

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Agnes Selby » Wed May 26, 2010 6:02 pm

Perhaps the next mosque will be built across from the
Sydney Opera House or across the road from Buckingham Palace.

Symbols are symbols and they speak loud and clear.

Mosman is a Sydney suburb right next to Sydney Harbour.
The Islamists wanted to purchase an old disused church there.
The Mosman Council rejected the proposal. Is there no such
body in New York or can anyone build anything anywhere as
long as they own the site?

SaulChanukah

Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by SaulChanukah » Wed May 26, 2010 6:43 pm

Agnes Selby wrote:Perhaps the next mosque will be built across from the
Sydney Opera House or across the road from Buckingham Palace.

Symbols are symbols and they speak loud and clear.

Mosman is a Sydney suburb right next to Sydney Harbour.
The Islamists wanted to purchase an old disused church there.
The Mosman Council rejected the proposal. Is there no such
body in New York or can anyone build anything anywhere as
long as they own the site?

Yes, I have heard of that story...

There are some things Amercians can learn from Oz...

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Chalkperson » Wed May 26, 2010 10:44 pm

Agnes Selby wrote:Perhaps the next mosque will be built across from the
Sydney Opera House or across the road from Buckingham Palace.

Symbols are symbols and they speak loud and clear.

Mosman is a Sydney suburb right next to Sydney Harbour.
The Islamists wanted to purchase an old disused church there.
The Mosman Council rejected the proposal. Is there no such
body in New York or can anyone build anything anywhere as
long as they own the site?
I believe that they can build a "Place of Worship" in any building...unfortunately...
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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Chalkperson » Thu May 27, 2010 12:46 am

Given it's inevitability then may I offer this observation, when it's first built, the Mosque will look down at the Memorial from it's upper floors, then the "Freedom Tower" will rise majestically in front of it and totally take over it's view, from my roof the WTC dwarfs the skyline by taking up a third of my panoramic view, the people at the Mosque will have no choice but to be awed by the rebuilt WTC...maybe this is not so bad after all...we just have to wait about five more years...
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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by jbuck919 » Thu May 27, 2010 5:32 am

Chalkperson wrote:Given it's inevitability then may I offer this observation, when it's first built, the Mosque will look down at the Memorial from it's upper floors, then the "Freedom Tower" will rise majestically in front of it and totally take over it's view, from my roof the WTC dwarfs the skyline by taking up a third of my panoramic view, the people at the Mosque will have no choice but to be awed by the rebuilt WTC...maybe this is not so bad after all...we just have to wait about five more years...
I hate to spoil your day, Chalkie, but there's nothing to keep an Islamic interest from renting the top ten floors of the Freedom Tower. Certainly not lack of funds, which, of course, ultimately come from us. :wink:

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by John F » Thu May 27, 2010 9:16 am

I believe churches are subject to New York City's zoning laws along with all other kinds of land use. But with Trinity Church at Broadway and Wall Streets, and St. Paul's Chapel at Broadway and Fulton, not to mention the Wall Street Synagogue 3 blocks east of Ground Zero, that part of lower Manhattan is far from a religion-free zone.
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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Chalkperson » Thu May 27, 2010 9:52 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:Given it's inevitability then may I offer this observation, when it's first built, the Mosque will look down at the Memorial from it's upper floors, then the "Freedom Tower" will rise majestically in front of it and totally take over it's view, from my roof the WTC dwarfs the skyline by taking up a third of my panoramic view, the people at the Mosque will have no choice but to be awed by the rebuilt WTC...maybe this is not so bad after all...we just have to wait about five more years...
I hate to spoil your day, Chalkie, but there's nothing to keep an Islamic interest from renting the top ten floors of the Freedom Tower. Certainly not lack of funds, which, of course, ultimately come from us. :wink:
Except that it's office space, they can be turned down by the Landlord as not suitable tenants... :wink:
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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by jbuck919 » Thu May 27, 2010 10:12 am

Chalkperson wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:Given it's inevitability then may I offer this observation, when it's first built, the Mosque will look down at the Memorial from it's upper floors, then the "Freedom Tower" will rise majestically in front of it and totally take over it's view, from my roof the WTC dwarfs the skyline by taking up a third of my panoramic view, the people at the Mosque will have no choice but to be awed by the rebuilt WTC...maybe this is not so bad after all...we just have to wait about five more years...
I hate to spoil your day, Chalkie, but there's nothing to keep an Islamic interest from renting the top ten floors of the Freedom Tower. Certainly not lack of funds, which, of course, ultimately come from us. :wink:
Except that it's office space, they can be turned down by the Landlord as not suitable tenants... :wink:
Oh, and exactly how would the Port Authority justify that, or get away with it without being sued for violation of anti-discrimination laws? It's not like a private co-op not wanting to let in an "undesirable."

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Chalkperson » Thu May 27, 2010 11:13 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:Given it's inevitability then may I offer this observation, when it's first built, the Mosque will look down at the Memorial from it's upper floors, then the "Freedom Tower" will rise majestically in front of it and totally take over it's view, from my roof the WTC dwarfs the skyline by taking up a third of my panoramic view, the people at the Mosque will have no choice but to be awed by the rebuilt WTC...maybe this is not so bad after all...we just have to wait about five more years...
I hate to spoil your day, Chalkie, but there's nothing to keep an Islamic interest from renting the top ten floors of the Freedom Tower. Certainly not lack of funds, which, of course, ultimately come from us. :wink:
Except that it's office space, they can be turned down by the Landlord as not suitable tenants... :wink:
Oh, and exactly how would the Port Authority justify that, or get away with it without being sued for violation of anti-discrimination laws? It's not like a private co-op not wanting to let in an "undesirable."
It's simple, the "worshipers" would cause chaos with regards to the security of the building, imagine 2,000 people lining up on friday to get passes to go and pray, they are not people with appointments at a place of business, it's like having 2,000 messengers showing up each friday...any "public" space at a building like the Freedom Tower has their own elevator so as not to cause problems for the people who actually work here...
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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by jbuck919 » Thu May 27, 2010 2:33 pm

Chalkperson wrote: It's simple, the "worshipers" would cause chaos with regards to the security of the building, imagine 2,000 people lining up on friday to get passes to go and pray, they are not people with appointments at a place of business, it's like having 2,000 messengers showing up each friday...any "public" space at a building like the Freedom Tower has their own elevator so as not to cause problems for the people who actually work here...
I wasn't thinking of using it for worship. Perhaps the HQ of the newly formed Islamic Anti-Defamation League, or Islamic Charities. :wink:

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by John F » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:01 am

August 3, 2010

A Monument to Tolerance

It has been disturbing to hear and read the vitriol and outright bigotry surrounding the building of a mosque two blocks from the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. So it was inspiring when New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 9 to 0 on Tuesday to reaffirm one of the basic tenets of democracy: religious tolerance.

Instead of caving in to the angry voices — many but not all of them self-promoting Republican politicians — commissioners paved the way for construction of the mosque and Islamic center. It was not just the right thing to do, it was the only thing to do.

The attacks of Sept. 11 were not a religious event. They were mass murder. The American response, as President Obama and President George W. Bush before him have said many times, was not a war against Islam.

It was not surprising that Republican ideologues like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin came out against the mosque. A Congressional candidate in North Carolina has found it to be a good way to get attention and, yes, stoke prejudice against Muslims. We expect this sort of behavior from these kinds of Republicans. They have been shamelessly playing the politics of fear since 9/11.

Some of the families of the victims of the attacks, who deserve our respect and sympathy, are uneasy about the mosque. But it would be a greater disservice to the memories of their loved ones to give in to the very fear that the terrorists wanted to create and, thus, to abandon the principles of freedom and tolerance.

There was simply no excuse for the behavior of the Anti-Defamation League, which eagerly piled on with the opponents of the mosque. It should not be built "in the shadow" of the World Trade Center, the group said, because it would "cause some victims more pain." It was distressing to see the rationalization of bigotry used by an organization that has been fighting discrimination of all kinds, especially during some of the worst days of the Ku Klux Klan.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg got it just right in a speech on Governors Island, within view of the Statue of Liberty. He called the proposed mosque "as important a test of separation of church and state as any we may see in our lifetime, and it is critically important that we get it right." The plans for the $100 million center should encourage those who want Muslims and non-Muslims in America to find common ground.

Mayor Bloomberg noted in his speech that in the United States and in "the freest city in the world," the owners of the building have the right to use their property as a house of worship. "The government has no right whatsoever to deny that right," he said. We agreed with his assessment that the lawsuits being threatened against the mosque should be easily thrown out. The local community board has given the Muslim center approval as well.

This hasn’t stopped Rick Lazio, a Republican candidate for governor, from turning the landmark commission’s vote into a nasty little photo-op for his campaign. "This is not about religion,” he said. “It’s about this particular mosque."

Mr. Lazio has it wrong. We’re curious where in the Constitution he finds the power for the government to deny anyone the right to build a "particular" mosque or church or synagogue or any other house of worship.
John Francis

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by living_stradivarius » Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:36 am

We’re curious where in the Constitution he finds the power for the government to deny anyone the right to build a "particular" mosque or church or synagogue or any other house of worship.
Exactly.
Don't like the mosque? Get some high roller investors who agree with you or make tons of money and buy the building. Duh! :mrgreen:
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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:09 pm

Here's how the Germans have addressed a related situation.


# The New York Times Reprints

August 9, 2010
Mosque Used by 9/11 Plotters Is Closed
By NICHOLAS KULISH

BERLIN — The authorities in Hamburg said Monday that they had shut down the mosque where several of the hijackers involved in the Sept. 11 attacks had met, asserting that it remained a source of radicalization nearly a decade later.

The Masjid Taiba mosque in Hamburg, known at the time of the hijackings in 2001 as Al Quds mosque, was “closed effective immediately,” according to a statement by the Hamburg Interior Ministry. German television showed blue-uniformed police officers carrying computers out of the mosque in the St. Georg neighborhood.

That the small mosque near Hamburg’s main train station was still in operation and still, according to law enforcement officials, indoctrinating young people with a form of Islam that encouraged violence demonstrated the challenges faced by Western democracies like Germany in controlling extremism without impinging on civil rights and religious freedom.

The mosque had been under surveillance for years, but efforts to close it received new urgency after a group of radicalized young people associated with the mosque, most of them German citizens with roots in Muslim countries, traveled last year to the region along the border shared by Afghanistan and Pakistan. Officials said clearing the legal and bureaucratic obstacles to closing a mosque was a slow process, one that finally succeeded Monday.

German intelligence officials have expressed concerns over the growing number of young Germans drawn into militant Islam and the possibility that they could return from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region to commit acts of terror.

“Today we closed the Taiba mosque because young men were being turned into religious fanatics there,” said Christoph Ahlhaus, secretary of the interior for the city of Hamburg, at a news conference. “Behind the scenes, a supposed cultural organization shamelessly used the freedoms of our democratic rule of law to promote holy war.”

Mr. Ahlhaus said, “Hamburg cannot become a cradle for Islamists capable of violence.”

Police officers searched the mosque and the apartments of leading mosque members starting at 6 a.m., and seized their assets. The door to the mosque was sealed after the searches, and the group’s Web site yielded only an error message on Monday. The authorities also banned the cultural association that ran the mosque, which was founded in 1993. The name of the mosque was changed from Al Quds to Masjid Taiba in 2008.

The mosque achieved worldwide notoriety after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi and other members of the group that carried out the attacks had used the mosque as a meeting place.

A report released in May by the Interior Ministry said that the mosque “remains the central attraction for the jihadist scene.” According to the report, a group of 11 people who met at the mosque traveled from Hamburg to the region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in March 2009, probably with the goal of training at a militant camp there. One of the 11 was detained in Pakistan and sent back to Germany.

Another member of the group joined the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, described by German law enforcement officials as a terrorist group, and appeared in a German-language propaganda video calling for Muslims to join in holy war.

The current imam at the mosque, Mamoun Darkazanli, a German of Syrian origin, was suspected by Spanish authorities of having provided logistical and financial support to Al Qaeda. He was arrested in 2004, but Germany’s highest court refused in 2005 to turn him over to Spain, arguing that a European agreement to streamline extradition procedures violated the rights of German citizens.

German prosecutors ended their investigation into Mr. Darkazanli because of lack of evidence. Mr. Darkazanli’s whereabouts and response to the mosque closing were not clear on Monday. No one answered the telephone at the mosque, and Mr. Darkazanli could not be reached for comment.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Ralf Kunz, said that the mosque had been under observation since 2001, but that the investigation intensified after the group’s trip last year. But in order to satisfy the requirements for banning an organization, particularly a religious one, “intelligence work was necessary, and that can take time,” Mr. Kunz said.

“We gathered enough material that the court ruled we could perform our searches there and that we could ban the organization,” he said.

But the mosque’s closing was also criticized. “The decision to close the mosque poses a serious threat and was counterproductive,” said Norbert Müller, a member of the board of the Schura Association of Islamic Communities in Hamburg.

Mr. Müller said that the small mosque was isolated, making it relatively easy for the police to keep tabs on its congregation’s movements and activities. Closing the mosque only scattered the radical elements; “it doesn’t get rid of them,” Mr. Müller said.

Victor Homola contributed reporting.

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Barry
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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Barry » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:48 pm

jbuck919 wrote:Here's how the Germans have addressed a related situation.


# The New York Times Reprints

August 9, 2010
Mosque Used by 9/11 Plotters Is Closed
By NICHOLAS KULISH

BERLIN
Wouldn't we need to know that there are radical Islamists or Wahabiists behind the funding or building of the planned mosque/center near Ground Zero to say that the two situations are related (or "similar" is more on point)?
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:12 pm

Barry wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:Here's how the Germans have addressed a related situation.


# The New York Times Reprints

August 9, 2010
Mosque Used by 9/11 Plotters Is Closed
By NICHOLAS KULISH

BERLIN
Wouldn't we need to know that there are radical Islamists or Wahabiists behind the funding or building of the planned mosque/center near Ground Zero to say that the two situations are related (or "similar" is more on point)?
Similar is not to the point. That's why I said "related."

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by John F » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:30 pm

I don't see any significant relationship between the two situations at all, except that both involve Islamic places of worship. If a particular mosque was associated with Omar Abdul Rahman and the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, and if it is still devoted to jihad, that would indeed be a related situation and action might be taken against it as the law allows - but as far as I know, no such action has been taken.

An interesting news story nonetheless, in its own right.
John Francis

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:39 pm

John F wrote:I don't see any significant relationship between the two situations at all, except that both involve Islamic places of worship. If a particular mosque was associated with Omar Abdul Rahman and the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, and if it is still devoted to jihad, that would indeed be a related situation and action might be taken against it as the law allows - but as far as I know, no such action has been taken.

An interesting news story nonetheless, in its own right.
OK, OK, I should have started a new thread! (Tears out what little hair he has left.) :)

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Barry » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:56 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Barry wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:Here's how the Germans have addressed a related situation.


# The New York Times Reprints

August 9, 2010
Mosque Used by 9/11 Plotters Is Closed
By NICHOLAS KULISH

BERLIN
Wouldn't we need to know that there are radical Islamists or Wahabiists behind the funding or building of the planned mosque/center near Ground Zero to say that the two situations are related (or "similar" is more on point)?
Similar is not to the point. That's why I said "related."
It's a pretty loose relation without any evidence of extremism involved with proposed NYC mosque.

Edit: Sorry ... didn't see your last post; and all of that hair on the floor. :wink:
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by lennygoran » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:45 pm

>A Monument to Tolerance<

John I agree with this message--btw did you write this or is it a quote from some media source? Regards, Len

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by lennygoran » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:47 pm

>Tears out what little hair he has left<

Gee I thought your hair looked fine at the forum dinner. So there's a hair problem--is this why the forum photos haven't been shown yet! Regards, Len [fleeing]

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:57 pm

lennygoran wrote:>Tears out what little hair he has left<

Gee I thought your hair looked fine at the forum dinner. So there's a hair problem--is this why the forum photos haven't been shown yet! Regards, Len [fleeing]
Hair today, gone tomorrow. I certainly did not call it a "monument to tolerance," though it would be nice if it ends up being that.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Agnes Selby » Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:15 pm

Americans are very tolerant folk. To non-Americans
the mosque is seen as an affront to the victims of 9/11,
a boast of "WE have won"! It will be a constant reminder
of who actually holds the upper hand in the USA.
Whatever motivated the passing of this project, be it fear
of retribution or an act of tolerance does not diminish the
message the Islamists want to portray and will if the
mosque is built. A mosque celebrating Islam and not a victory
over the USA could easily be built a few blocks away from
Ground Zero.

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:29 pm

Agnes Selby wrote:Americans are very tolerant folk. To non-Americans
the mosque is seen as an affront to the victims of 9/11,
a boast of "WE have won"! It will be a constant reminder
of who actually holds the upper hand in the USA.
Whatever motivated the passing of this project, be it fear
of retribution or an act of tolerance does not diminish the
message the Islamists want to portray and will if the
mosque is built. A mosque celebrating Islam and not a victory
over the USA could easily be built a few blocks away from
Ground Zero.
Are you sure you are not over-generalizing about non-Americans based on your own well-known feelings in this matter? I must ask frankly, Agnes, and hope you take no offense.

Level-headed Americans, whether they like the new building or not, generally see no reason to believe that extremist elements from the Islamic world, foreign or domestic, "hold the upper hand" in the US, or are likely to.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by jack stowaway » Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:55 pm

I agree with Agnes. There is such a thing as too much tolerance. One problem with applying a strictly legalistic philosophy to such cases is that the approach excludes compelling but extra-jurisprudential areas of national interest such as self-regard and patriotic pride. 9/11 was an injury to the United States; an injury inseparable from the religion of Islam --of which the most publicly recognisable symbol is the mosque. Like it or not, the proposed mosque will be a constant reminder of what America suffered at the hands of Islamist zealots.

I accept the counter-argument that the mosque serves, equally, as a reminder of American tolerance and the triumph of liberal values. But it's a doubtful sort of triumph which depends on such symbolic inversion to make its point.

To the argument that the mosque symbolises Islam rather than Islamism, I would respond that the distinction is blurry at best. And to a culture which attaches so much weight to symbolism, i.e. Islam, the mosque will surely be perceived in triumphal terms rather than as a subtle assertion of American values.

To base the decision (i.e. to award building permission) solely on legal grounds is to define the broad public interest of the United States in narrow jurisprudential terms and to ignore those written and unwritten values of commonweal which go to make up a nation.

Decisions on building applications are rarely made strictly in terms of compliance. The affect on neighbouring properties and community well-being must also be taken into account. Try to imagine, for example, an application to build a strip bar on the site of the Oklahoma City bombing; the application would surely be rejected on the grounds of unsuitability, given the symbolic nature of the site and the affront to feeling such a building, if permitted, would arouse.

Surely, the affront to feelings involved in construction of the mosque would be far deeper and more grievous, and not just to those who lost loved ones in the criminal act, but to the American public as a whole.

I think that the application to build the mosque is a mischevious one and made without regard to American public feeling; this alone is grounds for its rejection. It is a prime example of a faith group taking advantage of the legal system to advance its own interests at the expense of those of the public as a whole.

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:06 pm

I think the critics of this thing, both foreign and domestic, have the luxury of not having to apply the laws of the United States to the situation. There is no legal basis for a priori denying the green light to this project based on association. You would have as much luck trying to deny entry to the bar to someone who was born at Cincinnati General Hospital because that's also where Charles Manson was born. There are countries, of course, where they would not be so foolish as to fail to find a loophole in such a situation. They're called North Korea, Iran, Cuba....

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by lennygoran » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:34 pm

>Hair today, gone tomorrow.<

Thanks, so it's neither here nor there! Regards, Len :)

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Agnes Selby » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:41 pm

Dear John,

I fully agree with Jack!!! I have nothing to add to Jack's post
except to agree with him. Perhaps you will note that there
was an application to build a nunnery at Auschwitz but because of the
sensitivity of the proposal, the Vatican withdrew the application.
By the same token, the Islamist would be well regarded if they
would do the same. There are other sites available in New York
unless you want to score a point. It is also a well-known fact that
Islamists build mosques on or near the sites of their
victories.

Regards,
Agnes.

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by lennygoran » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:47 pm

>There are other sites available in New York unless you want to score a point.<

Take the Lincoln Center Area--the amount of synagogues and other Jewish institutions being built over there are awesome. Anything and everything goes up all over NYC. Regards, Len

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Cosima___J » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:50 pm

Seems to me it's a deliberate poke in the eye.

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by lennygoran » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:53 pm

>Seems to me it's a deliberate poke in the eye.<

But it's legal. Regards, Len

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by jack stowaway » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:10 pm

jbuck919 wrote:I think the critics of this thing, both foreign and domestic, have the luxury of not having to apply the laws of the United States to the situation. There is no legal basis for a priori denying the green light to this project based on association. You would have as much luck trying to deny entry to the bar to someone who was born at Cincinnati General Hospital because that's also where Charles Manson was born. There are countries, of course, where they would not be so foolish as to fail to find a loophole in such a situation. They're called North Korea, Iran, Cuba....
My point is that to make 'legal basis' the sole determinant of the decision is to ignore the far larger and more consequential extra-legal considerations that apply in such a case. To grant planning permission in violation of community sensitivies is a queer sort of legalism -- one in which civic planning statutes trump public self-interest. I think even proponents of the mosque would agree that this is an extraordinary situation --which is why mosque spokesmen are at pains to argue community reconcilliation as a selling point.

If they can make that argument then surely the counter-argument --that construction on the proposed site is painful and objectionable to many Americans, must also be valid and therefore taken into consideration?

I wouldn't consider planning refusal on such grounds to constitute a loophole, as you suggest; but simply an acknowledgement of the real consequences of a successful application.

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Agnes Selby » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:23 pm

lennygoran wrote:>There are other sites available in New York unless you want to score a point.<

Take the Lincoln Center Area--the amount of synagogues and other Jewish institutions being built over there are awesome. Anything and everything goes up all over NYC. Regards, Len
Well, it so happens, Lenny, "them Jews" did not bomb
Lincoln Centre, or did they? I have not been to New York since 1988
so I wouldn't know. :twisted: :shock: Christians are also building
churches but they did not bomb the sites they are building on to score
a point. Perhaps with a mosque there, the Islamists will not bomb that
site again but can you assure American citizens that plans to bomb
other places in the USA will not be planned there? It would certainly be
a place of great inspiration!

It is the height of "chutzpa" to build a mosque there. But, if building a mosque near the site where the Islamist killed 3000 of your citizens seems the right thing to do, so be it!!!

It is rather strange that you are sacrificing the flower of your country's youth
to fight the terrorists but you welcome them to build a shrine to their
terror right near the site of their worst murderous accomplishment on American soil.

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Cosima___J » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:04 pm

NY Governor Paterson weighs in with an attempt to get the mosque's location moved:

http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-ge ... .Paterson/

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:28 pm

Cosima___J wrote:NY Governor Paterson weighs in with an attempt to get the mosque's location moved:

http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-ge ... .Paterson/
Finally, maybe we can get it moved...I certainly hope so...
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by Agnes Selby » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:08 am

Cosima___J wrote:NY Governor Paterson weighs in with an attempt to get the mosque's location moved:

http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-ge ... .Paterson/

That's good! I heard it on my car radio. Let's see what the response will be.

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Re: Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?

Post by John F » Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:44 am

jack stowaway wrote:My point is that to make 'legal basis' the sole determinant of the decision is to ignore the far larger and more consequential extra-legal considerations that apply in such a case. To grant planning permission in violation of community sensitivies is a queer sort of legalism -- one in which civic planning statutes trump public self-interest.
Allowing "extra-legal considerations" such as the emotions of some of the public to trump the rule of law is not my idea of what America is about. Nor is allowing religious prejudice to determine where places of worship may be located. Because what other than religious prejudice is really behind the objections? The paranoid notion that all of Islam is somehow guilty of the World Trade Center bombing and is plotting further terrorist acts against us. How does this kind of thinking serve the public interest? ("Public self-interest" is a new one on me.)

Cordoba House at Park51 won't be just a mosque, by the way - it's planned as a community center that will include a mosque along with many other non-sectarian facilities serving the people of lower Manhattan. You can read about the plans on the Park51 web site:

http://www.park51.org/landmark.htm

There's been a lot of loose talk about community opinion and values, with "community" enlarged to include anybody anywhere who has an opinion. But the community in which the center is to be built, with the largest stake and the final say, is New York City. An article in today's New York Times includes a summary of how this community - my community - has responded to the proposal within our legal, regulatory, and political framework:
The New York Times wrote:Organizers talked with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg about the plan in September 2009, at a Gracie Mansion Ramadan fast-breaking ceremony for Muslim leaders. A New York Times article last December about the project drew little negative comment.

In February, the staff of Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, who liked the idea, suggested the organizers present it to Community Board 1, the largely advisory body that represents the neighborhood. Planners agreed to share information before the board and respond to expected questions about congestion and how the neighborhood could benefit...

Preparing for a May 5 community board meeting, Ms. Khan got support from her usual allies, like the United Jewish Federation of New York; Trinity Church; and the September 11 Families for a Peaceful Tomorrow.

Some people raised concerns about the feelings of 9/11 victims, but the meeting was dominated by logistical concerns and support from those who welcomed new facilities downtown. The board gave a unanimous yes.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/11/nyreg ... odayspaper

That wasn't all, however. Some opposed to the project petitioned New York's Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate the site as a landmark and prevent building there. But the Commission turned them down with another unanimous vote, and our mayor - a Jew, by the way - then forcefully defended the project as a symbol of America’s religious tolerance. Here's a video of the mayor's speech:



Well, people everywhere can say what they like, and Republicans, including some far from New York such as Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, are trying to make political hay with the issue. Their conservative Christian base may well eat it up and swallow it. But finally the decision is New York's. American religious freedom began here, as a matter of historical fact (the mayor told the story), and it must not end here. For the rest, we're perfectly capable of making up our own minds, thank you very much.
John Francis

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