Change Of Heart For Major Mosque Backer

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — CBS 2’s Jay Dow reports on perhaps the most notable development in the debate over the Ground Zero mosque: a change in approach as described in an op-ed piece by Community Board 1 President Julie Menin.

“What I am suggesting is taking a floor of the center and having it dedicated to non-denominational interfaith worship, and really trying to bring all the parties together, and having the center serve as a beacon of hope just as the interfaith chapel at the Pentagon is a beacon of hope,” she said.

Menin initially voted in favor of the proposed Islamic center. That was before the project mushroomed into a divisive, paralyzing discourse into the issue of religious tolerance and the most appropriate way to respect the families of those killed on September 11.

“Out of respect to them, it either needs to be moved or changed,” said Staten Island resident Brad Walters.

“My ultimate comment is that we shouldn’t judge a whole religion on the actions of a few,” said Carolina Piedra-Hica of Queens.

Menin’s revised position raised new questions: What exactly should be considered a compromise? Would a multi-faith approach serve as a reasonable solution or would it diminish the center’s intended purpose?

For the center’s opponents, it’s a non-issue. They simply want it moved.

In an interview with an Abu Dhabi-based newspaper, Imam Feisal Abdul-Rauf, who’s spearheading the project, said he hopes to enlighten anyone who continues to inaccurately equate Islam with extremism. “And this is why it is important: the issue of radicalism is a threat to all of us. We have radicals in the Muslim world and we have radicals in the other faith traditions as well.”

There have also been questions about funding, but developer Sharif El-Gamal told “60 Minutes” — “We will not take money from Iran. We will not take money from Hamas. We will not take money from organizations that have unAmerican values.”

Rauf said he intended to address the controversy directly upon his return to the country he calls his homeland.

  • Yola

    Hi americans, after reading this article and comments, i became to conclusion that 70% of you are NAZI. Recall how your ancestries killed indians, and on indian living areas rised christian church. May be better to destroy them first?

  • dan

    Well Mike s. …. I guess you were right. “ANYONE CAN play this game”… as ed had just caught you playing with us too!!! hahahaha You must not know too much about how the Holy texts (BIBLE and KORAN) are written and thats okay because most don’t. So be careful when you quote them out of context.

    Well don’t take it too seriously mike s… because the truth is… one cannot possibly know all the facts and the TRUTH before making ANY kind of judgment unless he/she be omniscient!

    However maybe we shouldn’t run our mouths too confidently and be a little more humble about how we state our opinions. That is something I can agree with. I need to learn that BIG TIME.

  • Joe

    Ive been to the middle east. Islam is not tolerent of other religions. If the majority of US citizens do not want to buld a mosque, then dont build the mosqe. If we offend some muslims who cares. The issue should be about not offending americans.

    If saudia arabia lets us build a 100 million 13 story non demoninational chruch next to their holy mosque in mecca, ill change my mind. But thats not gonna happen because its Islam or nothing for the 60+ islamic countries.

  • mike s.

    I have been overseas and have seen Christians residing in Muslim countries. I have also seen church services and have many Christian friends who come from those countries. I have not interviewed “infidels”. However, I have also lived in many American states and I have personally seen and heard racial and religious attacks. The attackers were not Muslim and the attacks had nothing to do with Islam. I will not deny that racial and religious tension and hatred exist in all parts of the world and I will not defend criminals or even the Imam, but I will defend my beliefs. Individuals can be accused and convicted of crimes, but blaming a religion requires a deeper look into that religion and other religions, without things being taken out of context. Also, accusing mosque supporters of being terrorists without proof is not right. If the evidence and the proof is there, then there will be no debate and the law will be enforced.

  • mike s.

    ed, Other than Saudi Arabia, there are Churches in every other Muslim country. There’s a surah in the Quran that states “you believe in your beliefs…I’ll believe in mine…You have your religion and I have mine”. Christians and Jews are called People of the Book in the Quran.
    Here’s a line from another book:
    Leviticus 24:16 – And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.
    Anyone can play this game, unfortunately ignorant people make judgments before they look at and study everything, and not just select information.

    • ed

      mike s.
      Your quote sounds respectable, and yes, indeed, there are some churches in Muslim countries, but have you interviewed some of the “infidels” in those countries as I have and heard some hair-raising testimonials along with some hidden-camera videos. Just look at your own opinion: “unfortunately ignorant people make judgments before they look at and study everything, and not just select information”.

    • jmcaul

      Mike S. The quote from Leviticus was a command given by God in this specific place and time in Jewish history. It was at a time when God was defining the Jews as his people and no deviation could be tolerated. The verb translated ‘to blaspheme’ in this case refers to an instance where a person would knowingly and continually be in a state of unrepentant blasphemy, deliberately pitting themself against God (and therefore inciting others to oppose God as well.) This was not for the casual hit your thumb with a hammer cursing.

      As for the churches in islamic countries, unless they are the underground (real) church, they are merely’show churches’ , window dressing to appease the west (google the islamic practice of Taqqiya.) Like the so-called official ‘churches’ allowed by the Chinese government, hey are not places of vibrant christian worship and fellowship but rather more like museums designed to placate useful idiots (another term you need to google.) They are NOT true churches and if anything close to true revival breaks out in one of them it is quickly squashed.

  • ed

    Islam is more than just another religion, it is a “religious brainwash”. Unlike Christianity or Judaism and Buddhism, Hinduism, etc., it is a heavily politicized “religion”. It is a movement with an agenda for violent means to conquer. The same “Peaceful Islam” Koran also allows for the violence we see every day around the world, and not just against the West but, their own kind (Shiite & Sunni).

    Muslims threaten death to anyone openly criticizing Islam or Mohammad, do not tolerate any other religion in Muslim countries, or even persecute the “infidels” there, who mostly worship in secrecy.

    Just check out most of their countries and see how Christians, Protestants, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Shintoists, Bahaai, and other minorities are treated. Don’t take my word for it, just do a little homework.

    In Europe Islam is gradually superseding local laws (see the U.K.) and positioning itself as a specially endowed religion above all others. It is abusing others’ rights and values and profess theirs is the only one valid because Allah says so, without regard for the society’s laws they live under.

    Sharia is the law of Allah (God) according to Muslims. Sharia itself considers Western society as sinful and blaspheming because we believe in our elected governments and free speech above God. Islam’s very core values and ideals are at every corner are at odds with those of America and the West. The World is in imminent danger of being overtaken by the hoards of Muslims, unless we wake up and reverse this foul and enslaving system.

    Each and every one of the new mosques anywhere in the western world signifies another battle won by Islam! This mistaken notion that all worship is permitted under our Constitution is a folly.

    It’s as simple as that, and that is what all Muslims see it as, until they win the BIG WAR, i.e. ruling the World! AMERICANS, WAKE UP! Before it’s too late, as it already is in Europe!!!!

    • jmcaul

      I agree with most every thing you have said, but I will not concede that it is too late for Europe. They have a much harder road ahead of them if they want to reclaim their cultural heritage and we should be giving them our support. If they go down in flames, we are next.

  • michael

    70% of Americans don’t want the Mosque built at this site. Majority rules in America, no? This is OUR country, not everyone’s country.

  • mike s.

    @InfideHere….Just to make it clear, The mosque of Cordoba in Spain is now a Cathedral. You won’t be able to see ground zero from the “ground zero” mosque.

  • walter gerold

    Isn’t it true that the radical Muslims build a mosque at the sites of their great military victories?

  • Samuel

    Let’s get real!!!!! This debate is not about “religious freedom.” America is already one of the most tolerant and accepting nations on earth!! As a person who lived and worked in the Middle East why would anyone from the media elite or academic progressive liberal tradition want America or any other nation to revert back to “sharia law” for our women and children and promote Muslim world dominance? Where is the tolerance or love to any of this? And why are we deliberately trying to deceive or hide these fundamental truths from the public of what is considered “moderate” Islamic tenets of faith!!!

  • Roy

    PS PeterNorth needs a history lesson,in 1948 the Palistinians were offered their own land to establish a”homeland” and they turned it down…..

  • Roy

    Did these idiots even consider,investigating the Iman’s proir financial dealings,and shady real estate transactions in NewJersey,before being so cavalier,and saying O.K. to this project……………………The answer is a resounding NOOOOOOOOOO!

    • Michael Bolton

      Roy were you aware that the principal funding for the mosque comes from the Kingdom Foundation an organization headed by the fellow who owns the second-largest stake in Fox News?

      I suspected that you didn’t.

  • Tom

    You stay classy there, “Voice.” I’m sure your God is very proud of you.

    And by proud, I mean unbelievably ashamed

  • Peter North

    We need to give the Muslims this Mosque. Look how we support Israel who took away their entire land? We need to stop the Zionists and the terrorism will stop here. We’re supporting a country who kills and steals, aka. Israel.

    • ed from the south

      Peter the North (your brain must be frozen). Palestine was never the exclusive land of Muslims, the Jews are also from there…they just re-claimed their land. Have you ever had a history book in your hands? It is only the Palestinians and other Arabs who prefer Muslim dictatorships. Yous should go there to live in one of them and not enjoy the Infidels’ lifestyle. Then you will really be able to identify with Muslims!



  • Syed

    First let’s get the facts straight:
    Number 1 – It is not a stand alone mosque but a Islamic Cultural Center with a Mosque within it. (that’s like calling a private catholic school with a church inside of it, a church and not what the main building is used for)
    Number 2 – It is NOT being built AT or ON GROUND ZERO. It is being built 2 blocks away from Ground Zero. And even at that location they DO NOT have a clear view of Ground Zero.
    Number 3 – Comparing a Mosque being built here is not like having a Church or Synangoge built at Mecca. Ground Zero is NOT a holy land or holy place. Having a mosque built at the Vatican is compared to having a Church built at Mecca.
    Protesting a cultural center being built with a mosque within it is not going change or distort the FACTS.



  • Tom

    What it comes down to is that there are people in this country that believe this is their America. It can be your America too, as long as you agree with them.

    Religious Freedom? Sure, you’re free to follow MY religion.

    Equal Rights for everyone? Of course — as long as you’re my color, my sexual preference, etc.

    Are you free to disagree with me? Absolutely — but just so you know, you don’t love America and really don’t belong.

    Welcome, my friends, to America 2010.



  • jme

    the Mosque is obscene and should be moved without a doubt, if for nothing else but to honor those murdered by terrorists

  • Pancho

    muslims only pray for the death of Christians (what they call infidels) so why would we invite them to pray and worship with us ?????
    Islam is a HATE based religion.

  • Daniel

    If the construction of this mosque happens, Americans SHOULD BE smart enough to vote out any of the politicians/leaders responsible for allowing this to happen (our power is in our vote). We have to be wise with who we vote for to lead our country. Our leaders should ALWAYS take the American people’s response to interest; otherwise what love does the leadership have for US and why did we elect leaders who don’t love us?!?! It’s obvious that this leadership just cares about creating a USA that they seem fit to the world; their ideal USA to be “equal” with the other nations’ societies and government systems – their strategy for world peace. But what about what the AMERICANS want for their home? We are the ones living here! I don’t see any other countries changing themselves to make us happy with them (in fact most of what we get is hatred)! Why should we feel the need to appease others image of us? I believe in striving for world peace, but not at the expense of frustrating our own people for the sake of the corruption of the other nations of the world! This shows no compassion/care/love for the American people… Fellow Americans, let this be a wake-up call to us all and let us make a difference together regardless of the outcome here. There is an even deeper and more serious concern here in the long run with this kind of leadership if we do not WAKE UP!!!! Do we want to be like the other nations of the world or do we want to strive to be a better AMERICA? I don’t see anything wrong morally/religiously/politically/logically/spiritually (whatever you want to call it) to want to try and be a better home. Our strategy for world peace shouldn’t be to be like the others but to be better than the others and lead as an example (this is a simple principle that we are taught when we are toddlers in pre-school… you know what… it still works when you are all grown up too! No matter if you are the pre-school student or the President of the United States).

  • Albert

    Yes the conflict is politicized. So I decided that politics can go to hell and being an architect wrote a bizarre essay: Ground Zero Mosque: nothing political – strictly Architecture.

  • InfideHere

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

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

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

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

    And they lecture us about tolerance.

    If the people behind the Cordoba House were serious about religious toleration, they would be imploring the Saudis, as fellow Muslims, to immediately open up
    Mecca to all and immediately announce their intention to allow non-Muslim houses of worship in the Kingdom. They should be asked by the news media if they would be willing to lead such a campaign.

    We have not been able to rebuild the World Trade Center in nine years. Now we are being told a 13-story, $100 million megamosque will be built within a year overlooking the site of the most devastating surprise attack in American history.

    Finally where is the money coming from? The people behind the Cordoba House refuse to reveal all their funding sources.

    America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization. Sadly, too many of our elites are the willing apologists for those who would destroy them if they could.

    No mosque.

    No self deception.

    No surrender.

    The time to take a stand is now — at this site on this issue.

    • Marie



      • Marie

        I am referring to InfideleHere, NOT MARTHA

    • Martha

      So… your argument is that the US should do as Saudi Arabia does.

      “as long as” Saudi Arabia doesn’t do something, then neither should we.

      Seriously? Who cares what the middle east does! The US is (or was) better than that…

      The only “cultural-political offensive designed to undermine our civilization” is exactly the type of paranoia you demonstrate here.

  • Dseigler2
  • Kelly

    why is imam rauf surprised that this issue is being politicized? He offends a majority of this country and will not budge on location..
    This tells me a lot about imam rauf.
    Also he says we are sharia law compliant..
    will not tell exactly where funds are coming frm..



    • Daniel

      That kind of inconsideration is also bad for the image of his religion. That kind of behavior and lack of wisdom tells us a lot about the kind of people affiliated with what he believes in and makes Americans want to reject his way of life. If he is such a leader he should know better on how to represent his belief. It’s a good thing we are smart enough not to judge the whole religion too harshly based upon this one man’s (group’s) extreme/radical ambition to build his (their) mosque. But at the same time… some discernment tells me that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way these people think… about life here on Earth as well as wherever they think they are going afterwards. It makes me want to stay away from that paradigm of living.

    • Michael Bolton

      The funds are coming from the Kingdom Foundation, whose head owns the second-largest portion (after Rupert Murdoch) of NewsCorp., the parent company of Fox News. NewsCorp and certain Republicans are exploiting your perfectly valid emotions. Instead, I think you might choose to listen to what Mayor Bloomberg has to say about the issue.

  • laura

    THE Answer to the Ground Zero “Mosque” Controversy

    HEY AMERICAN on YouTube
    by NYC songwriter David Ippolito

    Watch. Listen. Think…
    Check out this powerful song/video now:

  • Paul Swart

    If Christians were to erect a church on the site where crusaders slaughtered thousands of Muslims almost a thousand years ago, would there be some kind of uproar in the Islamic world? Would such a move be seem as insensitive and provocative? I think so.

    Why does Mr. Rauf and others who support the project. not recognize they are throwing salt in the huge gaping wound of the American Psyche that is Ground Zero.

    The only reason, it would seem, is exactly that, he is fanning the flames.


    • Daniel

      Exactly correct thinking Paul.

    • Marie

      Paul Stewart,

      It would seem that imam rauf knows very well that he is throwing salt in the wounds of 911 attack; but does not care.
      Ofcourse this is being politcized-how could it not be?
      Opening the doors of said mosque on 9/11/2011 & calling hamas a friend…
      How can he possibly defend this.

  • lordpet

    This debate is so tiresome. If your zipcode is not 10007, find something else to complain about. Play with your kids This is a local community issue and the community has no problem with it.

    • jmcaul

      @lordpet: one minor correction here: I agree with your logic but not the scope of it. 9/11 was NOT an attack on just zipcode 10007, it was an attack on ALL of America. Therefore, since nearly 70% of AMERICANS are against the building of the mosque, it follows that NO MOSQUE should EVER be built in ANY part of America ever again. Religious tolerance dies not require that Americans accommodate the ONE AND ONLY ‘religion’ that demands it’s adherents commit themselves to converting or subduing (through force and intimidation if necessary) the entire world. Even the Great Commission of Christianity is merely to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth. The converting part is left between the hearer and their God.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live