the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Three Views on a Mosque

Posted by Jeff Id on August 19, 2010

We all keep reading about the ground zero hundred million dollar mosque.  The news writes what they allege are the mainstream views on the subject.

1 – From the perspective of Americans, it’s an issue with freedom of religion vs an issue of sensitivity to the heinous murder of thousands of people by Muslims in the name of their religion.

2 – From the overseas Muslim perspective, it is seen as a celebratory mosque for the battle victory against the great Satan.

3 – What they all miss though is the easiest point.  The organizers viewpoint.  From the perspective of the organizers, it’s a huge money making opportunity.  It’s capitalism not fanaticism, it’s freedom to profit, not freedom to preach.

Think about it, what a brilliant business plan.  The Imam just has to propose the project and play both sides from the middle. i.e. not come out against the nutjob Muslims who are happy with the murders and simultaneously promise he’s a moderate to the Americans.  The Muslims overseas celebrate the huge victory contributing massive funding to build what sounds to me like the most opulent Mosque in the United States while the organizers rake in the dough.  Some Americans celebrate their diversity while the rest sit dumbfounded that we’re forced to accept the insult.

But it’s about the money, and that is why the Imam cannot put the mosque anywhere else.  It must be where it was started, or the funding will dry up.  Why the media hasn’t reported this obvious fact is beyond me but it seems like someone should.

Every county and state has zoning laws and we do have freedom of religion, so the question becomes:

50 Responses to “Three Views on a Mosque”

  1. Jeff Id said

    This is a dangerous thread, please keep the comments reasonable or I’ll have to shut it down.

  2. Mr E said

    I think their bluff has been called. As you point out for Rauf it is about making money. However moderate muslims seem to be coming out against it as they are worried it will rouse anti-muslim sentiment (even further). Then there is the question of whether Rauf really can raise the money needed to build. I understand at this time the Saudi’s are being a bit conservative with their money and aren’t that keen to send any Rauf’s way.

  3. BarryW said

    If this hypocrite of an Imam was really interested in interfaith dialog, he would move it just to show sensitivity to the feelings of non-muslims. Obviously not. Show a cartoon of Mohammed and you cause riots, make a film that they don’t like and you’re killed , write a book then don’t like and a fatwa is issued to have you killed. A plane is flown into a building in the name of you’re religion and you celebrate in the streets. Complain about the building of a mosque, though, on sensitive grounds and you’re a hateful anti muslim. I note with some irony that the name of the building was supposed to be Cordoba House, named after the mosque in Spain. How did a mosque get in Spain? Conquest in the name of Islam. Maybe we should ask to build a cathedral in Mecca and call it Acre House (stronghold of the crusaders in Palestine). In the name of ecumenicalism of course.

  4. TheChuckr said

    The silence of “moderate” Muslims, with a few exceptions, has been deafening as islamo-terrorists commit atrocity after atrocity all over the world in the name of Islam, but we must be careful not to offend them. I agree with Barry W 100%.

  5. TimG said

    The Cordoba Initiative hasn’t yet begun fundraising for its $100 million goal. The group’s latest fundraising report with the state attorney general’s office, from 2008, shows exactly $18,255 — not enough even for a down payment on the half of the site the group has yet to purchase.

    The group also lacks even the most basic real estate essentials: no blueprint, architect, lobbyist or engineer — and now operates amid crushing negative publicity. The developers didn’t line up advance support for the project from other religious leaders in the city, who could have risen to their defense with the press.

  6. Brian H said

    It is one of the tenets of Islam that any location EVER occupied by Muslims is forever part of Islam, and can and must be claimed whenever circumstances (notably conquest) permit.

    No other religion or movement makes this kind of egregious and ludicrous claim. Arrogance, thy name is Islam!

  7. sweeper j said

    Meanwhile here in Britain they still wont show the 201st episode of south park

  8. Bruce of Newcastle said

    New slant in the paper today:

    “Mosque developers refuse to rule out donations from Iran”

    “I can’t comment on that” was the reply of mosque spokesman Oz Sultan said when asked specifically if the fundraising would extend to Iran and Saudi Arabia.

    If caught getting funding from Saudi or Iran that would inflame sensibilities to another level again.

  9. Please, please, Jeff:

    Now that the political scoundrels in Washington DC and around the world are floundering from revelations of the Climategate scandal, . . .

    Please don’t introduce an issue that will only divide and divert attention away from their faltering effort to use science as a tool of propaganda.

    Stay focused!

    This is a dangerous thread indeed, Jeff. You may want to mediate on possible benefits and damages.

    Wish you well,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  10. Jack Maloney said

    How far does “hallowed ground” extend? Would three blocks be okay? How about four blocks? Eight blocks, maybe? Or maybe eight miles? Is there really an operational limit for religious freedom? For tolerance? Should there be?

  11. Phil R said

    I believe that one can have a strong opinion and still keep it reasonable. I agree it’s a dangerous thread, but lots of people have strong opinions (and there is certainly nothing wrong with that). It seems sometimes that the stronger one’s opinion is, the more they are encouraged not to express it, such as against the mosque.

    I couldn’t answer the poll because I disagree with no. 1, the government can’t force no. 3, and “other” is too vague. This is not about freedom of religion, it is about security. There are dozens if not hundreds of mosques in New york.

    I agree with Barry W and Brian H, that the mosque is intended as a victory monument. Nobody is trying to say that muslims can’t build mosques or can’t practice their religion in the U.S., they are just trying to say that if muslims want us to be sensitive (I hate that word) to their culture, history, and beliefs, they should also be sensitive to ours.

  12. Jason Calley said

    There is no right to not have your feelings hurt. None. The only questions are: 1) Who owns the building and what do they wish to do with it? 2) Are their plans breaking any laws?

    All talk of “But they’re Muslims!” or “This is a slap in the face of victim’s families!” are beside the point. Especially absurd is that this is “an issue of sensitivity.” There may actually be nations that have incorporated into their founding principles the idea that “an issue of sensitivity” somehow over rules personal freedoms and rights, but I cannot place my finger on the article in the Constitution for the United States that supports that idea. Of course, if America was still a nation that respected property rights this silly argument would not even be happening. What do the owners of the building wish to do, and are their wishes a legal use? Anyone who gets his panties in a wad over it deserves to be chaffed.

  13. Sam said

    I can only see two arguments worth making, and it seems that most people are confusing the issue by bringing in lots of irrelevant facts. The ‘tolerant’ side should be claiming that in America, we have an absolute freedom to religion, and we respect private property rights. Even if the majority doesn’t like the minority religion, or doesn’t like what they are doing with their property, we believe they have a right to do it. The ‘tolerant’ side keeps talking about how moderate Islam really is, which is an silly argument (especially to New Yorkers). However, the other side has done something similar. The ‘anti-mosques’ have been arguing about how insensitive the Muslims are, which may be true but doesn’t touch on their rights to religion or property. They also have dwelt on how this is a symbol of conquest, and how it could be dangerous, and everything else. These may all be true (or not) but they don’t ever approach the topic of legal rights, and since we are a nation of laws without such discussion they have a weak argument. Instead, they need to come out and say what many are thinking but few are bold enough to say: We shouldn’t tolerate Islam, or at least we shouldn’t recognize it solely as religion but also a political movement. You can’t make the claim that a minority sect of a religion made a bad choice and now all adherents of that religion must pay, so they must make the plunge and claim all Islam is dangerous.

    It may be true that all Islam is dangerous, and that the mosque is a breeding ground for future terrorists. If these things are true then someone needs to have the guts to come out and make this new argument instead of talking about ‘being insensitive’. Many (not all) of those opposing this mosque are conservatives, aren’t conservatives the ones always complaining about how politically correct the world has become? Stop being PC, if you believe Islam is dangerous then admit it and lets have that discussion.

    I personally believe they are being insensitive but I care way more about nearly every other issue ($13 trillion national debt anyone?) and support private property rights, freedom of religion, and freedom of association.

  14. GregO said


    Always interesting at tAv.

    Some thoughts. My eldest daughter lived in Manhattan for some years and is now back home and she is a thoughtful and insightful person. I asked her two questions about the proposed mosque.

    1) What is the current neighborhood like precisely where the proposed mosque is to be built?

    2) What do her NY friends and contacts (all in the commercial media business) think about the controversy surrounding the mosque construction?

    Answer to 1) – it’s in the financial district a generally run-down neighborhood that most avoid. Perhaps the locals dispute this and I accept that; but that is one answer I got from a former local.

    Answer to 2) New York yuppies my daughter knows could not care less and can’t understand the controversy.

    My take as a free thinker: development of an old neighborhood is a good thing. Construction is good. A big mosque? So what? I have lived in neighborhoods with big religious structures and generally, religious people are well, quite moral on a local basis. I have been around muslims and they seem to me to be rather conservative and stick to their own. In sum, building the mosque is likely to help the neighborhood. If it is built, and once it is up, not much more will happen; all will be forgotten. It will provide some jobs and spruce the place up a bit. Life will go on; no big deal.

    As far as symbols of this or that, they don’t move me much. My personal belief: the psychopatic criminals that perpatrated the atrocities against unsuspecting innocent civilians on 9/11 represented nothing but a purely secular power game acting in the name of religion only in name. Further; we should not restrict parties from engaging in the enterprise of religion based on misplaced assignment of blame for a heinous crime the enterprising parties had nothing to do with.

    That is my take on what partial information I have on the topic and what I have as personal assumptions of the ethics of enterprise. I am always open to more information and reserve the right to change my mind when I have better information.

  15. M. Simon said

    The ad on this page:

    Ads by Google
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    How to convert and become a Muslim with Live Help by chat

  16. I have a comment but i not going to.

  17. gilbert said

    I wonder what the muslims would think of a $100 million synagogue across the street?

    Part of the problem is that Islam is not just a religion.

  18. Winston said

    Islam is just one more totalitarian ideology bent on world domination. The sooner we realize we have to fight these people, the better off we are. It’s no different than the late 1930s or the 1970s; the Nazis and Soviet Communists had apologists here during those times too, all too ready to defend their rights, portray them as peace-loving neighborly types, and bash anyone who pointed out the obvious truth that they wanted us all dead.

  19. Brian H said

    Now, Winston. Our deaths aren’t necessary. Submission will suffice!

  20. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    This is why I so loath organized religions.

  21. BarryW said

    Remember the building was close enough to be hit by part of the plane. I think that counts as “close to ground zero”.

    From what I heard on the news this morning, this whole situation may be just a ploy to get a better piece of property. The governor and others are trying to work a deal to swap properties and supposedly the developer had been offered four times what the property was bought for.

  22. Tamara said

    Allow the mosque, if they can raise the money. At least there, their activities will be under constant scrutiny. I have more objection to the tax-payer dollars being spent to rebuild mosques overseas, not to mention the State Department sponsoring Rauf’s world tour.

    Meanwhile, maybe we could all throw our support behind the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which was crushed by one of the towers.

  23. DeWitt Payne said

    Threaten to put up a billboard across the street with satirical cartoons of the prophet. Muslims don’t have a right to not be offended either.

  24. HR said

    Point 2 and what your acceptance of it appear xenophobic. It’s an example of the way through the “war on terror” that muslim=evil.

    Can you show me the evidence that all 1.4 billion overseas muslims consider this a victory? Because that seems to be what you are suggesting.

  25. Jeff Id said

    #24 That’s why this is a dangerous thread. People will attempt to make it into an extremist one. I presented the two views I hear from the media and a third which I didn’t. [edited] So far the thread has been quite good for a subject this volatile, lets try to keep it reasonable and not fabricate claims that don’t exist so we can all get mad.

  26. tim said

    i know some prime property in angolia to build that insulting mosquee on…… could use the morons attached to the illegal project of accepting funds from a terrorist nation …iran…

  27. Sam said

    Islam is just one more totalitarian ideology bent on world domination. The sooner we realize we have to fight these people, the better off we are. It’s no different than the late 1930s or the 1970s; the Nazis and Soviet Communists had apologists here during those times too, all too ready to defend their rights, portray them as peace-loving neighborly types, and bash anyone who pointed out the obvious truth that they wanted us all dead.

    I think this is the discussion that needs to take place instead of the current ‘insensitivity’ dialogue. Is Islam dangerous? Are we tolerating something which isn’t truly a religion, as most people accept the term? Or, if it is truly a religion, can we agree to make a ‘tolerance exception’ for religions which maintain core beliefs of violence and exclusivity? Must we tolerate the religious rights of others if they are intent on violating the religious (and personal and property) rights of ourselves?

    I am not claiming that these things are true of Islam, only that they are essential to this discussion and seem to be ignored.

  28. Brian H said

    Well, if you haven’t seen “Fitna” yet, have a look. The Koran’s aggressive passages are the later ones, overriding the more pacifistic earlier ones (composed when Big Mo wasn’t in a strong position — especially the very tolerant ones later repudiated as “The Satanic Verses”).

  29. Brian H said

    As The Sword Sermon explains, it’s all the fault of the Joooz:

    strife has not appeared on the earth
    that was not [brought about]
    by the money of the criminal Jews,
    and their conspirations in the media,
    [the Jews]
    that unfortunately and shamefully,
    America and Britain have knelt and
    even bowed down to their tyrants

    If Allah permits us,
    Oh Nation of Muhammad,
    even the stone will say,
    Oh Muslim,
    A Jew is hiding behind me,
    come and cut off his head
    and we shall cut off his head.
    By Allah, we shall cut it off!
    Oh Jews, Allahu Akbar!
    Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!

  30. Chris Zwarg said

    The centuries-old grammatical mistake in the First Amendment should urgently be set straight: “Freedom FROM religion” rather than “Freedom OF religion” is the only acceptable option for a nation characterized as “Land of the Free” – those who think there is a Being superior to themselves (no matter whether they call it “The Lord”, “Allah” or “Der Fuehrer”, are slaves in all but name and always make sorry fools of themselves when they pretend to be anything else.

  31. BarryW said

    Religion often is used as justification for actions that are not part of the religions tenets such as war or the acquisition of wealth. Religions of peace are just as likely to be used as justification for actions as those that are not. However, Islam has a problem stating it is a religion of peace given the founder engaged in warfare as opposed to Christianity or Buddhism whose founders preached pacifism. (Anyone aware of another major religion whose founder was a war leader?) It would be hard to argue with a Muslim who can show religious justification for aggression against non believers both in the Koran and in the actions of the Prophet. Christians OTH have to resort to the Old Testament to justify their bloodletting.

  32. Winston said

    HR, ‘Muslim = Evil’ is a bit simple, but Muslim = ‘Competing ideology that has shown a historic tendency to advance its agenda by violence’ is accurate.

    Your insistence that there’s no problem without proof of unanimous evil intent on the part of the opponents is a standard that obviously can’t be met before we’re dead. It’s an admirably honest refusal to deal with the issue. That view held sway relative to Fascism and Japanese militarism until Pearl Harbor. The irresoluteness of the democracies through the late 1930s cost upwards of 30 million lives.

    Fortunately, the memory of 406,000 US dead and five times as many grievously injured was fresh when the Soviet threat emerged, and the west had the spine to resist. This time, unfortunately, we’re going to wait for realization of Bin Laden’s dream of multiple, simultaneous nuclear detonations in western cities before we wake up.

    Muslims, like everyone else, believe God is smiling on whomever is winning. If their aggressive faction appears to be succeeding by building another victory mosque on the ruins of another conquered Christian capital, they attract money and followers in Islam. If they are stopped, their appeal is weakened.

  33. A Mosque is a place of peace and love, and that is certainly the impression I get living in Nottingham, United Kingdom.

    What grabs me about this whole issue is that after we had the London bombings on July 7th 2005, two of the bombs exploded in North West London.

    I think you would struggle to find muslims that would “rejoice” over the 11/9 attacks. Dancing on a grave is frowned on in any society. You can bet your bottom dollar that Iraqi’s would not protest against a Catholic church in Bagdhad.

  34. Philemon said

    Really amazed at otherwise skeptical people falling for the latest media brouhaha. The MSM has been churning it up deliberately. It’s propaganda. I’m more interested in what the propaganda objective is.

  35. TA said

    You have nailed it, Jeff. It isn’t about freedom to worship, it’s about the money and therein lies the problem. Saudi funding has perverted our system, with money going to mosques and other Islamic organizations that preach Sharia. It’s one thing to have a Constitutional right to worship, but I don’t see why the Saudis and Iranians et al have any Constitutional right to fund these things. They don’t. I’m not the first to suggest it: Stop religious funding from any country that does not itself have religious freedom.

  36. Philemon said

    Do ya’ll know what propaganda means?

    The MSM is not funded by Islamic fundamentalists, I guarantee.

    Two weeks from now, most people will have forgotten, and they’ll be talking about the next thing the media has decided they should talk about.

    Why don’t we talk about something interesting: like who the hell is buying US treasury debt these days, since China stopped buying it. According to the Treasury, the UK has bought, or more precisely, buyers in the UK have bought, almost 300 billion dollars worth since June, 2009. But they’re broker than we are!

  37. CG said


    You think they’d let a church be built at a site where a US bomb killed 50 civilians, for example? That was funded by overseas american christian groups, some of which condemn islam? The analogy is fitting, and of course, the answer is: no, they would not let this happen.

    On another point: the media can’t seem to grasp that people recognize the constitutional right to build a mosque anywhere, but can still not *want* one to be built in a certain spot.

  38. BarryW said


    I’m sorry I guess your television was broken. Numerous news reports showed people (and not just a few) celebrating in muslim countries, such as Egypt, after 9/11. And Iraqi christians are being terrorized and driven out of the country and have been for some time. Two women that were missionaries in Afghanistan were thrown in jail for giving someone a Bible. It goes on and on. Look it up online instead of living in a fantasy world (and those events were reported by the MSM not some “right wing” anti muslim group).

  39. twawki said

    Then there’s also the view that the global elite are backing the mosque to inflame tensions between religions – after all the elite profit most from war! But then there is also the point that there are no christian churches in Mecca!

  40. cohenite said

    A few points:
    1 Islam is hegemonic; it, in whatever form, seeks to expand, by whatever method.
    2 Islam has many faces; when it is outnumbered it does present a reasonable face but that reasonable face never disavows the violent face.
    3 Islam theology is unique in the world today in that it’s behaviour can be viewed in Western democracies and in Islamist countries; what do we see by way of contrast of the behaviour in those 2 areas?
    4 Reciprocity and compromise are the hallmarks of tolerance and mutual respect; are these qualities present anywhere in Islam?
    5 What is a moderate muslim and where are there examples?

  41. j ferguson said

    Now that we have a quorum, maybe this is a good time to ask if any of you supports revoking tax-free status for religious operations.

  42. Steve Fitzpatrick said


    Wow, you are seriously disconnected from reality. Do you really think a Catholic church would be welcomed in Bagdhad? Have you actually visited Muslim countries in the Middle East, or are you just imagining? There is very little tolerance of any other faith, nor tolerance of personal values/behaviors which are considered contrary to Muslim teachings. In Saudi Arabia, it was (the last time I visited) unlawful to have a Bible, and punishable with jail time. Like Christianity in the past (think Inquisition), Muslim religious intolerance is, unfortunately, very common. That intolerance is part and parcel of the many atrocities carried out in the name of Allah.

  43. Kenneth Fritsch said

    The real test of the constitutional right of free speech, freedom of religion and the right to do with your private property what you want as long as it does not directly impair others is when the issue(s) being pursued is unpopular. And it has nothing to do with what the other guy (nation) might do in a reversed situation. If it does then you are no better than the other guy.

  44. Brian H said

    Mebbe so, mebbe no. Depends whether the issue is framed as one of “rights” or “privileges”. Demanding reciprocity for the latter is fair ball, IMO.

  45. Steve Fitzpatrick said


    Sure, let them build anything they want (within the law and applicable zoning rules), but it seems to me perfectly appropriate to respond to their very bad taste with equally bad taste, as DeWitt suggested, and put up a billboard across the street with satirical cartoons of the prophet. Or maybe march in the street in front of the mosque at prayer time with copies of the Danish cartoons of the prophet that caused so much offense to Muslims. Behaving in very bad taste (and the proposed location for the mosque is in very bad taste) will often cause more serious problems; it is simply foolish to build a mosque there.

  46. kuhnkat said

    “But it’s about the money, and that is why the Imam cannot put the mosque anywhere else. It must be where it was started, or the funding will dry up. Why the media hasn’t reported this obvious fact is beyond me but it seems like someone should.”

    Except this Imam is about money for Hamas and other Jihadis organisations!! It is amazing how much you miss when you try!!

  47. Brian H said

    But he is Favored by That One! Nothing else matters.

  48. Philemon said

    There have been Christians in Iraq since the first century. As recently as 1980, about 7% of the Iraq population was Christian (about 1 million people), most of whom were members of the Chaldean Catholic Church which is in full communion with Rome. They survived the Mongol invasion, the Turkish invasion, the British invasion… Since the U.S. embargo and invasion, Christians have been emigrating and now number perhaps 1% or the population.

    This furor over an Islamic community center at an old Burlington Coat Factory two city blocks away from the old WTC site is just ignorant and foolish. The whole thing is propaganda stirred up by the perpetual war party. They’ve done it before. It’s what they do. They like to see if they can get people stirred up over non-issues.

  49. Philemon said

    Christianity was an explicitly imperial religion for most of its history. How do you think Germany became Christian (hint Charlemagne)? And then the Germans did it to the Prussians. (hint Teutonic Knights). If anything counted as by the sword, those did. Tamurlane, by contrast, wasn’t trying to convert anybody as I recall; he just liked tribute a lot, or a lot of tribute.

    Of course, you don’t have to go back to Charlemagne, all the Christian empires have justified their actions as converting the benighted heathens to Christianity.

    The main reason the Islamic empire expanded so quickly in the first place was that people in the Middle East were so fed up with the Greeks and the Persians invading and taxing them in succession, something that had been going on since Cyrus’s time, that the Arabs were seen as a positive relief. Lower taxes won. Most people in the various Caliphates didn’t convert until much later, mostly due to tax breaks.

  50. TA said


    You neglect to mention that the reason Christians are leaving Iraq is increasing violence from Muslims.

    You also neglect to mention that most Christians today agree that Christian wars of conquest are wrong. However, few Muslims repudiate their early wars of conquest. Kind of difficult to do, since Mohammed started them. He led an army to the north of Arabia to attack the Byzantines, but he didn’t meet their army.

    Yes, the early Islamic conquests were often facilitated with some cooperation from the conquered population. They were good at capitalizing on dissatisfaction, and continue to be today. It’s out of the frying pan and into the fire for the conquered folks, however.

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