Is It Appropriate to Build a Muslim Community Center (aka the ''Ground Zero Mosque'') near the World Trade Center site?

ARCHIVED WEBSITE: The debate over whether or not it is appropriate to build a Muslim community center (aka "Ground Zero Mosque," aka Cordoba Initiative, aka Park51 project) near the World Trade Center site has grown from a local discussion to an issue of international prominence, prompting protests in the streets of New York and drawing responses from well-known American political leaders.

Proponents argue that the 16-story Muslim community center will be an asset to the neighborhood and local economy, and that its construction demonstrates America’s religious tolerance. Opponents argue that the ''Ground Zero Mosque'' is an insensitive and disrespectful political ploy by radical Islamists that will inflict emotional distress on families who suffered casualties on Sep. 11, 2001. Read more background...

ARCHIVED WEBSITE: No new data posted since June 3, 2013.
On June 3, 2012, we archived this site -- meaning we will likely no longer make any updates to it. The site was archived because Park51 has had a prayer center since 2009 (although technically not a mosque since it does not have an "imam in residence"), and as of Sep. 21, 2011, it also houses a photography exhibit of NYC kids and a capoeira class. It is formally a Muslim-run community center, and our core question is thereby considered resolved. This website will remain accessible so that our readers can continue to benefit from the information it provides. If something materially significant occurs on this subject, we may update or even "unarchive" the site. For a list of all our websites, please visit www.procon.org.

Top Pro & Con Arguments

The "Ground Zero Mosque" will be an asset to the city. According to plans released by the Cordoba Initiative - the group behind the project - what is planned is a community center with a library, a gym, a swimming pool, a basketball court, a 500-seat auditorium, a restaurant, a 9/11 memorial, child care facilities, and a culinary school. [2]



The Muslim community center is a major economic investment that will pump over $100 million in infrastructre into lower Manhattan and will create as many as 150 full-time and 500 part-time jobs in an area that desperately needs it. [5]



Contrary to what many believe, the 'Ground Zero Mosque' is not a mosque. A mosque is a Muslim holy place in which only worship can be conducted. [8] The community center is 16-stories high with a 2-story prayer space that is, according to its builders, "open to everyone." [2]



The United States was built upon tolerance and religious freedom, and a mosque at Ground Zero would represent American values. [15] We should not allow the 9/11 terrorists' message of intolerance to reign in our country.



Muslims have the same right to build a house of worship in Lower Manhattan and to pray for the victims of 9/11 as any other group. [18] Approximately 60 Muslims were murdered in the 9/11 attacks. [17]



The Park51 project allows Muslims to remind Americans that the destruction that struck the Twin Towers does not represent Islam. [20] Al-Qaeda was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, not Islam. [21] As filmmaker Michael Moore posted on his blog, "Blaming a whole group for the actions of just one of that group is anti-American. Timothy McVeigh was Catholic. Should Oklahoma City prohibit the building of a Catholic Church near the site of the former federal building that McVeigh blew up?" [61]



Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is a moderate Muslim who has been preaching in New York for 27 years. He intends to use Park51 as a place where moderate Muslim voices "are amplified" to condemn terrorism and work for peaceful and harmonious relationships with New Yorkers. [23][24] Rauf is an American citizen who says he "votes in elections, pays taxes, pledges allegiance to the flag, and is a Giants fan." [28]



It is appropriate for a mosque to be built near Ground Zero because one existed on floor 17 of the South Tower of the World Trade Center and was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks. [13]



Several family members of 9/11 victims have publicly supported the Park51 project. Frank Tatum, who lost his mother on 9/11, stated, "We do have religious freedom. I know the [9/11] wounds are still very open, mine included, but you have to look at the big picture. You can't practice these freedoms only when it suits us. You have to practice them all along." [27]



Cancelling the plans to build the "Ground Zero Mosque" will signal to Islamic extremists that America is anti-Muslim, which may endanger Americans and put the country at risk of a future terrorist attack. [28] According to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, if Park51 were moved "…the headline in the Muslim world will be Islam is under attack in America, this will strengthen the radicals in the Muslim world, help their recruitment…" [57]



We are fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect Muslims from tyranny. We should also be protecting them from tyranny at home by standing up for their rights, including freedom of religion. [8]



The name Cordoba House was chosen to represent Cordoba, Spain, a Middle Age city where Muslims, Christians, and Jews co-existed peacefully during a famous period of cultural enrichment. [29] On July 13, 2010, to satisfy critics, the project was renamed Park51 to put emphasis on the community center aspect of the project rather than religion. [30]



A Muslim community center receiving funding from Arab sources overseas is not problematic because Arab investment in the United States is nothing new. Arab countries held approximately $8 billion in foreign direct investment in the United States in 2009. [58] Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has been derided for receiving funds from "radical" Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, but bin Talal is not a radical. He has made several large investments in the United States, and is reported to be the second largest shareholder of News Corp, the parent company of Fox News. [59]



The 9/11 attacks were committed by Muslim terrorists in the name of Islam. Building a Muslim mosque on the hallowed ground near the World Trade Center site is an insult to the memory of those killed on Sep. 11, 2001. [6] The World Trade Center site should remain a sacred burial ground and a war memorial free from the hurtful and antagonistic presence of a nearby mosque.



The "Ground Zero Mosque" would become a permanent lightning rod for anti-Muslim feelings. [19] According to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, "All the proposed Muslim community center near Ground Zero will do is create more division, more anger, and more hatred." [12] That divisiveness is not good for anyone, especially Muslims.



There should be no mosques near Ground Zero until there are churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia, or until Christians or Jews are allowed to enter Mecca. Islamists that call for tolerance need to address their own practices before they criticize America's. [7]



Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the spiritual leader of the proposed "Ground Zero Mosque," is a radical Islamist who has refused to call Hamas a terrorist organization and has laid blame on the US for the Sep. 11 attacks. [14] In a July 2005 speech, Rauf has even stated that "the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than Al Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims.” [22] In a Sep. 30, 2001 interview on 60 Minutes about the 9/11 attacks, he said that "the United States' policies were an accessory to the crime" and that "Osama bin Laden was made in the USA." [62]



The financers of the "Ground Zero Mosque" have ties to radical Islamic extremists. According to an Aug. 23, 2010 Fox News report, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has received funds from Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who has allegedly funded radical Islamic Madrassas around the world. [9][10] 15 of the 19 jihadis in the Twin Tower attacks were Saudis. [11]



Several prominent Muslims believe the "Ground Zero Mosque" should not be built, including Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, and Stephen Schwartz, Executive Director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism. There are over 100 mosques in New York where Muslims can worship freely. [7] The Muslim Canadian Congress stated that "We believe the [Park51] proposal has been made in bad faith and, in Islamic parlance, is creating 'fitna,' meaning 'mischief-making,' an act clearly forbidden in the Qur’an." [19]



The idea of a Muslim mosque near Ground Zero where Muslims killed so many Americans is morally repugnant.A Serbian Orthodox church near the killing fields of Srebrenica where 8,000 Muslims were slaughtered would never be tolerated, and neither would a pro-Japanese monument near Pearl Harbor. [65][66]



CNN, Rasmussen, and Quinnipiac polls show that 68%, 54%, and 71%, respectively, of Americans feel that the "Ground Zero Mosque" should not be built at its proposed location. [25][26][64]



Building the "Ground Zero Mosque" will endanger New Yorkers because anti-Muslim extremists will target it for an attack. [8] On Oct. 3, 2010, the New York City Police Department confirmed it was investigating death threats against Imam Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan. [56] A Florida pastor threatened to burn 100 Korans on 9/11/10 if the Muslim community center were built at its proposed location, a provocative act which many believed would have led to violent retaliation from Muslim extremists. [63]



The name Cordoba House proves that the 'Ground Zero Mosque' is intended to be a victory monument for terrorists. [16]According to former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, "The name 'Cordoba House' is a deliberately insulting term that refers to Cordoba, Spain - the capital of Muslim conquerers who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world's third-largest mosque complex." [7]



45-51 Park Place, the proposed location of the "Ground Zero Mosque," sits well within the hallowed ground of the World Trade Center site. The current businesses in the neighborhood, even if unsavory, are irrelevant to this fact. Human remains were found within 350 feet of the proposed Muslim community center. Jim Riches, a former New York City Deputy Fire Chief whose son, Jimmy, was killed on 9/11, stated, "I just think it's very insensitive to say it's not hallowed ground because of who's occupying the buildings. The strip club didn't murder my son." [60]




Did You Know?
  1. There was a Muslim prayer room located on the 17th floor of Two World Trade Center (the South Tower). [1]

  2. The Muslim community center, as proposed, is a 16-story building that will include a library, a gym, a swimming pool, a basketball court, a 500-seat auditorium, a restaurant, a 9/11 memorial, child care facilities, a culinary school, and a two-story prayer space. [2][3]

  3. Landing gear and other debris from one of the 9/11 hijacked planes crashed through the upper two floors of the proposed Muslim community center building back when it was still a Burlington Coat Factory store. [4]

  4. >The Muslim community center, as proposed, will be located about two blocks from the World Trade Center site. The New York Dolls strip club, the Pussycat Lounge strip club, the Masjid Manhattan Mosque, and an Off-Track Betting facility are all located within four blocks of the World Trade Center site.

  5. Human remains from the Sep. 11th attacks were found within 350 feet of the planned community center location.





Notices for WTC Muslim Center and Other ProCon.org Information (archived after 30 days)
Archived Notices (archived after 30 days) Last updated on 12/16/2016 1:39:14 PM PST