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August 18, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque: Digging a Hole in the Soul of America

Posted: 03:57 PM ET

By Russell Simmons

Via HuffingtonPost.com

Editor's note:  Russell Simmons will talk to Larry tonight about why he supports the planned Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero.

 It was a day we will never forget.  It was a day that changed the course of this nation forever.  It was a day that permanently bruised our hearts, with the potential of healing almost seeming impossible. Yet, with love, faith and compassion, we showed the world and showed ourselves through the promotion of one of our nation's greatest values - tolerance - we can overcome fear and hate.

Today, ten years later, I peer through the front windows of my apartment and still see a large gaping hole that once was the home to the World Trade Center. I pass by the firehouse on my block and say hello to the firemen who lost almost all of their guys on that day. This is my neighborhood, my backyard. And in my backyard, I have no tolerance for a new fear-mongering, hateful rhetoric that has sprung up over the proposed $100 million Islamic cultural center that they plan on building blocks away from Ground Zero.

It is not insensitive to put a cultural center of any sort, that has a place of worship, anywhere in our city. This is what makes our country and our city great. As a nation that was founded by men and women who were being persecuted for their particular faith, we should know that the best path to finding freedom is finding freedom for others. We were formed as a pluralistic society and this means we welcome all religions. Islam did not attack the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, sick and twisted men did, who not only hijacked four airplanes but also hijacked a religion. Let us not stereotype the over one billion Muslims around the world because of the evil acts of a few. A decision like this one, to support or not support the construction of this center, defines who we are as a nation. It's at the essence of our values, our freedom of expression, freedom of religion and religious tolerance.

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Filed under: Larry King Live


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mariam   August 18th, 2010 5:12 pm ET

Only an intelligent American would say that. Well done I'm sure many muslims around the world would appreciate that and it would prove the freedom on American soil. I am a muslim and really sympathise with the victims of the horrific attack. It is true however that those attacks do not symbolize Islam or muslims. We can also say that in Israel when they attack innocent Palestinians all Israelis are bad. I don't think so there is good and bad in every society. We are all human at the end of the day. People need a place of worship. I hope this will also be a lesson for muslims to steer away from extremism and terrorism and be the beginning of a new dawn for world relations.


Smith in Oregon   August 18th, 2010 5:40 pm ET

The proposed building is a COMMUNITY CENTER which includes a prayer room which could be used for Muslims as well as visitors.

This old run-down building is not some 'Mosque' with Minaret and Domes which the Faux news network has been spewing out to divide, confuse and mislead the America people.

This old run-down building is TWO CITY BLOCKs from the Twin Towers site. Next to a Strip-Bar and a Burger King. Are the Faux news network thinking the Strip-Bar is also on 'sacred ground'? Of course not, they don't want you to know it is simply a community center located in a old-building next to a Strip-Bar and a Burger King.


Gloria Johnsen   August 18th, 2010 5:58 pm ET

I want to inquire as to why the Muslim country of Turkey, closed the only Orthodox Christian Monastery in that country. Yet the Muslim speakers always ask for tolerance. Orthodox Christianity was in Constantinople before Christ was born and before it became a Muslim majority country . Where is the tolerance, understanding on the Muslim side ???


Name* hamza   August 18th, 2010 7:36 pm ET

Gloria. How can Orthodox Christianity exist before the birth of Christ? You don't know what you are even talking about. Another typical American with a end of the block view of the world.
For the sake of argument, I would hope that someday Turkey can adopt some real American values. That is my hope as a Muslim. The day America starts adopting Turkish values is the day I might as well move to Turkey.


Cajazz76:24:8   August 18th, 2010 6:00 pm ET

Where should the U.S. allow the memorial to be built for ALL the deaths attributed to the U.N. brokered DEAL on U.S./New York soil that was core and catalyst to events stemming from May 15, 1948? The date of the declaration of the Zionist State of Israel is as infamous as December 7, 1941 is to all citizen's of the United States of America.


Lucy   August 18th, 2010 6:05 pm ET

Kudos to Russell Simmons. I look forward to hearing what he has to say tonight. His blog is eloquent.

I agree with him completely. I am not Muslim. I am one who supports the first amendment (freedom of speech and religion) and who highly values tolerance.

I have enormous sympathy for all those whose loved ones died on 9/11. I hate that some of them are being used by fear mongers.


Shannon   August 18th, 2010 6:22 pm ET

Would the developers of the Muslim community center consider making it an interfaith center - keeping all the publis activities they've planned and adding quiet spaces for Muslim, Christian, and Jewish to pause for reflection and prayer?


IKHAN   August 18th, 2010 6:25 pm ET

Hi Larry,
about time this unnecessary controversy about a non-issue is put behind us & we move on. Though the Republicans riding on the back of wackos & fanatics wouldn't let go.

This nation is wasting time driven by propaganda from those who would rather we shift focus from ongoing wars, murmurs of yet another war economy, jobs and myriad other issues facing us.

A community project like this would add to the rebuilding of lower Manhattan & should be supported whole hearted.


Cajazz76:24:8   August 18th, 2010 6:53 pm ET

Finally, our U.S. Armed Forces combat troops are beginning to head home from Iraq. Please honor their service and dedication and never hold them accountable for that war, because they NEVER start wars, "politicians start wars".- Gen. William Childs Westmoreland. Thank your president tonight for being brave for ignoring the RIGHT-WING greed and ignorance that placed us there...and tell former President G.W. Bush all the blinded, limbless, and orphans of Iraq said "thank you for the chocolate"...thank you Taka for that sentiment...


Joe G. (Illinois)   August 18th, 2010 8:21 pm ET

America is America and there is no more to it.


Patrick Allan Caldwell   August 18th, 2010 8:24 pm ET

59 YRS OLD
I AM A CANADIAN LIVING IN WASAGA BEACH ONTARIO CANADA.
MY COMMENT;
I WORKED FOR THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE ON A 1 YEAR CONTRACT 2004-5 SERVING ALL COALITION FORCES AS A 26 YR JOURNEYMAN TRADESMAN–3 1/2 MONTHS ON THE BAGRAM A.F.B.–AND 8 1/2 MONTHS ON THE KANDAHAR A.F.B.
NOW "IF" MY PARENTS WERE KILLED AT THE 911 TRADE CENTER 10 YRS AGO BY INSANE SUICIDAL RADICALS WE HAVE TO STAND UP & SAY TO OUR GOOD ISLAMIC FRIENDS, WHICH IS EVIDENT, THEY MUST BE TOLD NOT TO INSULT & TO REMEMBER NEVER,EVER,EVER TO "BUILD ANYTHING" TOO CLOSE TO THAT AMERICAN SACRED & BLESSED GROUND ZERO IN REMEMBERANCE ON WHAT WE HAVE ALL SACRIFICED–NO MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY THE ISLAMIC'S HAVE TO THROW AROUND–THE BUCK STOPS HERE–WE CAN NOT FORGET–PLEASE OBAMA DON'T SLAP OUR FACES.


Robinhook   August 18th, 2010 8:48 pm ET

When they build a Catholic church in Mecca,then they can build the mosque at ground zero. Fair enough?


Cajazz76:24:8   August 18th, 2010 9:04 pm ET

Robinhook

Can Muslims build in Vatican City?


Scott Stodden   August 18th, 2010 9:14 pm ET

Russell Simmons You, President Obama And Mayor Bloomberg Are Totally Wrong And Off Base! The Issue Is Not About The Mosque Not Being Built, Let Them Build It But Why So Close To Ground Zero Where Thousands Of People Have Died? This Is Sacred Ground Where Thousands Of Innocent Americans Lost There Lives Due To Islamic Extremists!!

Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)


L.Davis   August 18th, 2010 9:14 pm ET

What a slap in the face to the USA something is wrong with this whole picture


Dan   August 18th, 2010 9:16 pm ET

Green Light the project. Politicians have no grounds for speaking in opposition to the project, this is America and we are a land of laws. On the flip side, find me a union carpenter, mason, glazier, or any other trade in NYC that will let it happen. Every firefighter and policeman that lost their lives that day will not be forgotten by todays unions. This project will never make it through the phases of construction so just let it go.


Nabil Dajani   August 18th, 2010 9:18 pm ET

the news media and anti-mosque opponents make it sound as if ISLAM attacked on 9-11, thus attempting to stop an Islamic site. In fact it was nothing more than a bunch of NON-MUSLIMS terrorists who committed the attacks, as they may have been Muslim by name ONLY and certainly not by deeds or true belief.

If this Islamic ctr/mosque is stopped then we should stop the building of all churches in Iraq, as the Iraqi invasion and eventual slaughtering of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's was planned and orchestrated by a bunch of neo con christians bent on a religious idealgoue...


Condor   August 18th, 2010 9:19 pm ET

God Bless You, Russell. Someone is finally speaking real about this.


Dancalgary   August 18th, 2010 9:20 pm ET

cajazz, Vatican city is close to all types of construction, there is no space to develop, BUT there are mosques in Rome.
On the other hand, leave alone Mecca, no church can bu built anywhere in Saudi Arabia.
Why the double standard????


Robin   August 18th, 2010 9:21 pm ET

My question is if Russell Simmons lost one of his family members on 911, would he feel the same way?


kat Nanton   August 18th, 2010 9:23 pm ET

Can you ask Mr. Simmons if muslims respect us, why are churches not allowed to be built in muslim lands?


LacrosseMom(the real one)   August 18th, 2010 9:25 pm ET

@Scott Stodden:

You sir, are wrong! We live in a FREE society, a nation built on equality of ALL people, ALL religions. We ALL have the freedom to worship.

To deny the Muslim people their Mosque, it to deny them their freedom to practice their faith! Which is protected under the U.S. Constitution!


Richard   August 18th, 2010 9:25 pm ET

Russell – I guess that you are for the keeping of the confederate flag flying. After all what's the difference between that & building a mosque at ground zero. Maybe we should let the Japanese build a temple at Pearl Harbor or have an American Shrine built at Hiroshima.


LacrosseMom(the real one)   August 18th, 2010 9:26 pm ET

@ Gloria Johnsen:

M'am, you can not compare Turkey to the United States of America! Turkey is a Muslim country, yes, however it is NOT a democracy, it is not a FREE society.

We are America, we value FREEDOM even the FREEDOM of those who we do not like!


Sam Ormes   August 18th, 2010 9:26 pm ET

So many opinions re the NYC mosque...and all missing the point !
Thia mosque should NOT be allowed at that location because it would
become the target of every right-wing nut in America. Nobody would be
safe for miles around. On those grounds alone, the project should be
disapproved.....as a SAFETY HAZARD !


Ann Marie   August 18th, 2010 9:27 pm ET

Of course the mosque 'near' ground zero should be built. Isn't there a well-established mosque a few doors away? And since when is a former coat factory hallowed ground? This site is two blocks from ground zero. In this dense city you cannot see ground zero from the mosque location and you cannot see the proposed mosque from ground zero. I think the so-called opposition is a political exercise.


Condor   August 18th, 2010 9:28 pm ET

Robin, what's the difference if the mosque is 2 blocks, 2 miles, or 200 miles away from ground zero? The next step will be to not allow Muslims to walk past the site. Remember our constitution.


catherine mcateer   August 18th, 2010 9:29 pm ET

I wonder what would occur if the roman catholic church demanded the right to build a cathedral in Mecca?


Jed Robertson   August 18th, 2010 9:29 pm ET

I think he was a very poor spokesperson. I am not an American but I, with many non-Americans, wonder why it is necessary to build a mosque so near to the site of the Islamist mass murders. It smacks of Salafism to me.


Too Much Political Correctness   August 18th, 2010 9:30 pm ET

It's amazing how we are told to embrace and welcome Islam with open arms here in the West yet if you were to attempt to open a church or even hand out bibles in practically any
Predominantly Islamic country you would probably be killed. That is Islams definition of tolerance.


Ireneo   August 18th, 2010 9:30 pm ET

If you are an ancestor to those that were involved in cultural genocide and slavery and still allowed to live on this great continent, then these people can build a cultural center at ground zero or wherever they wish. Stop listening to these radical right wing Republicans and for once think with your own noggins.


Alex   August 18th, 2010 9:30 pm ET

No mosgue on Ground Zero


LacrosseMom(the real one)   August 18th, 2010 9:31 pm ET

*** EXCUSE THE YELLING CNN***************************

Oh my goodness people!!! "When they built a Catholic church in Mecca?"

Are you folks nuts?! THIS IS AMERICA THE LAND THAT VALUES FREEDOM ..........FREEDOM TO WORSHIP.........FREEDOM OF RELIGION, EVEN THE FREEDOM TO MAKE IDIOTIC STATEMENTS!

THE MUSLIMS CAN AND SHOULD BUILD THEIR MOSQUE, IT WILL SHOW THE TERRORISTS THAT AMERICA REALLY VALUES ALL PEOPLE, THAT WE VALUE FREEDOM......... EVEN THOUGH .......SOME..... MUSLIMS HATE US....... WE WILL NEVER TAKE THE FREEDOM OF A GROUP AWAY BECAUSE OF THE SINS OF A FEW!


Mimi Finnegan   August 18th, 2010 9:31 pm ET

If we are going to make a mosque at ground zero a religious freedom issue, we should do the right thing. Designate the perimeter around ground zero as a place of worship, HAVE EQUAL REAL ESTATE SPACE FOR EACH RELIGION; a Mosque, next to a Synogogue, beside a Baptist church, a Hindu church, Catholic church, Buddist temple, Scientology church, Morman Church etc. . .

AMERICA IS ABOUT, FREEDOM, EQUALITY AND FREEDOM OF ALL RELIGIONS. NOT ABOUT ALLOWING TERRORIST TO PLACE A BIG MIDDLE FINGER TO THE USA AT GROUND ZERO.


Greg   August 18th, 2010 9:32 pm ET

I am not for building a Masque near Ground Zero but neither am I for flying the rebel flag over the Capital building in South Carolina, So how can we talk about being sensitive and to whom?


nina   August 18th, 2010 9:34 pm ET

If so much research was done and the idea to build was studied, how come they didn't know 68$ would oppose it?? Because they don't care-why doesn't Russell use his clout and clean up the language in rap music–then he can do some good for EVERYONE.


Al   August 18th, 2010 9:36 pm ET

Let them build, then you will be able to keep an eye on them.


david Otto   August 18th, 2010 9:36 pm ET

Regarding the mosque "near" ground zero.

A simple question for those that oppose the mosque "near" ground zero.
If two (2) blocks away is too close to the hallowed ground. How many blocks is acceptable .... 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 210 ???????


John   August 18th, 2010 9:36 pm ET

I don't know who Russell Simmons is, but he tells me that we were attacked on 9-111 by Al-Queda, not by Muslims. Could Mr. Simmons please tell me how many of the Al-Queda (TERRORISTS), who were indoctrinated in the Muslim Mosques, were Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Budaists, Santiria, Hindu, or any other religious following?

Mr. Simmons, I am and american. That is what my passport tells me. I han not a hyphenated American. When are you gonna get it that Muslims killed thousands of Americans.


Enrique   August 18th, 2010 9:37 pm ET

I'm a liberal and I'm usually pretty open minded about things. But I would ask Mr Ellison if he thinks it would be fine for cartoonists to ridicule Mohammed, if all that matters is legal rights over sensitivity?


lamont   August 18th, 2010 9:39 pm ET

The freedom of slaves was a sensitive issue because had an effect on the the southern way. If we based our decision and laws on sensitive issues instead of what's right according to the our constitution we would still have slavery


James   August 18th, 2010 9:41 pm ET

It amazes many how many people on LKL are so quick to defend the Muslim religion and the right for everyone to practice their religion anywhere any time, yet do nothing but criticize and denounce nightly any reference to Christianity and/or the Bible. Oh, if we could just see the man in the mirror.


Jonathan Lodrigues   August 18th, 2010 9:41 pm ET

Do Americans even know what is in the Constitution? Amendment #1: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”. So why are, so many Americans mad at politicians because of a Mosque near Ground Zero? They can do nothing about it. It is being built on private ground with private money. Furthermore, why do Americans care so much? When a bill to provide healthcare to those first responders at ground zero (many have health problems like cancer because of working at or near ground zero) FAILED, there was no COPY AND PASTE THIS TO YOUR WALL going around. That is when people should be mad at politicians, not when a group of people who did not directly cause 9/11 are practicing there religion. What happen to tolerance of other peoples’ views and religion? It is not evey Muslims fault for what happen that day.


fedupinaustin   August 18th, 2010 9:42 pm ET

It was reported today that families of Muslim faith have been allowed to worship in the chapel in the Pentagon forever. Another target that was attacked on Sept 11th and no one has ever protested. Why hasn't the media reported more on this? The fact of the matter is Peter King and Governor Patterson and other officials in NY had an opportunity to try to reason with the owner of the property as well as the Muslim community about putting the mosque in this location 8 months ago. Why didn't they do more back then? Why didn't another group of investors get together and buy the property and turn into something else that the community could have used? Mayor Bloomberg could have bought it all by himself! And at the end of the day, it doesn't say much about our representatives or our country when we decide that it's ok to disavow the US Constitutional right of religion by trying to force these folks not to build their mosque. We as a country better be careful about what we're doing. What will be the next group of people to systematically have rights taken away? Rep. King and others keep talking about how insensitive its is. Well it was insensitive and flat wrong to enslave a whole group of people just because they were Black but this country did it anyway and felt that it was absolutely right. For years women were treated like crap and this country fet that was a-ok. The Trail of Tears was one of the saddest times in our history. How insensitive was that? Insensitive? These so called representatives have sworn to uphold the Constitution but feel that it's necessary to trample on someone else's rights because "they" feel it's insenstive. We're definitely treading down a slippery slope.


Lynne Edwards   August 18th, 2010 9:43 pm ET

I don't know why people are comparing what is done in other countries with the religious freedom allowed for in the U.S. Constitution. Our country was settled by those who were looking for freedom to practice their religion. So what if a church can't be built in some other country, that has nothing to do with us. How far away should the mosque be? 1 mile, 2 miles, 100 miles? This is rediculous. People of all religions including Islam were killed on 9/11. How hard is it to accept the fact that muslims have been living peacefully in the U.S. for many years and have served in our military, fighting for our country? I was taught that Christianity was a message of love, not hate. Why have so many Christians forgotten this?


Sergio   August 18th, 2010 9:44 pm ET

This is just a political maneuver. Why are still followers of religions any way? Atrocities were "ordered" by followers of all major religions (and still are as we know, and not only followers of Islam – think about those nasty priests, Hitler, the Crusades, or the atomic bombs in Japan..). The people of the world must free themselves from religion. The purpose of religion doesn't make sense today. They were created on a completely different world. All religious buildings should be converted to schools so that we have more educated and tolerant people – wisdom is the key to the future, not religion.


Judy   August 18th, 2010 9:44 pm ET

What is wrong with saying that no... It is not okay with me, I am a Christian and and an American and it is not okay with me... We are at war and I am still not okay and find it disrespectful. What is wrong with Americans and our President that we are afraid to say that we don't want a mosque anywhere in America where our country was founded on Christanity.


Steve Mcduff   August 18th, 2010 9:46 pm ET

This is the reason that there is a ground zero........America creates radical Islamic from moderate or even neutral Islamic people. We attack their countries under the lie of WMD's, intolerant of everything even mildly Islamic philosophy.........totally insensitive Americans recruit more extremist than Bin Laden could ever do with their totally baseless fearmongering. America asked for 9/11( I'm not saying it was right or moral or deserved) but you can only do stuff like this so many times before the unstable Islamic minority acts out with terrorist activities......once again, no one deserves a 9/11..... But America best start looking at where and why there continues to be great growth in anti- American sentiment. We wouldn't be having this argument if there weren't so much stomping on and disrespecting of the Islamic people and their homelands........take a good look in the mirror America......no one deserves a 9/11.......just don't act so surprised especially when these small beans become the dominant news story in America......it's not my opinion........it's just obvious fact. Don't kill me.....the temp messenger. America gloats, waged war and lost to an innocent country, and has not learned yet that the less intelligent radicals just view this as emotional ammo to plague innocent Americans with. Damn, I Love my Southern neighbours, just stop prodding the angry radicals with a stick.


Steve Mcduff   August 18th, 2010 10:42 pm ET

I apologise for the miswording of saying the word "'deserved" poor word choice........poor and insensitive........I'm just growing weary about the damn hysteria and mindless banter about this story. No money came from overseas the fund raising is ongoing, I know it's a crap spot to put the Islamic center, but life isn't always "seemingly fair" especially in a free country like America......I repeat"NO ONE ASKED OR DESERVED 9/11" but please America, stop stirring the hornets nest........we're going to soon have China and a Reborn Soviet Union to add to a list of troubling and worry causing birth of radical citizens........"PLEASE ACCEPT MY APOLOGIES, I MEANT TO SAY THAT AMERICA WAS TEMPTING RADICAL ISLAMIC FRACTION GROUPS, BY LETTING THE LESS INTELLIGENT RADICAL ISLAMIC ELEMENTS SEE AMERICA AS A BULLY, WHICH IS HOW THE USA DOES APPEAR TO BE AT TIMES........EVERY AMERICAN KNOWS THAT THEY APPEAR, AT TIMES VERY INSENSITIVE AND BULLY LIKE, THAT CANNOT BE DISMISSED........BUT AMERICA DID NOT ASK FOR SUCH A HORROR, please take it in the context of a uncomplex statement regarding the America being the worldwide bully.......ADMIT IT PEOPLE, YOU GLOAT AND CRUSH WEAKER NATIONS UNDERFOOT........PLEASE MAKE YOUR OWN OBVIOUS CONCLUSIONS. GOD BLESS ALL THOSE LOST IN THE 9/11 HORROR, AND PEACE TO YOUR FAMILIES. NORTH AMERICA PAY ATTENTION TO THE RE- RISE OF THE USSR AND CHINA.........NOT A DAMN ISLAMIC CULTURE CENTER A HALF MILE FROM 9-11.......THATS SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT.


r.l. akins   August 18th, 2010 9:47 pm ET

What if the KKK had built a museum or put their headquarters or a special memorial within 500 feet of the balcony where MLK was assasinated in Memphis just a few years later? Do you think that would have flown?

This country is in a heckuva tailspin...all the politicians and talking heads need a serious reality check.


Mary Florida   August 18th, 2010 9:49 pm ET

The problem I see with this is as follows, and I believe is some of the reason for all of the issues. The muslim faith and seemingly the Muslim men (at least in appearance to me) treat women like second class citizens. The appearance of this religion is radical and very different from what most Christians have experienced. I do agree if nothing else, this is very insensative.
I am now listening to this man on your show who is blaming us for profiling, etc. since 911, to this I am saying what do you think they would be doing in the country you came from if Americans did this in the name of Christianity and wanted to build a church next door to the building that got blown up by radical Christians.
OK, I hear you...this is America, we are supposed to be tollerant and different. Tolerance and trust is what got us into this mess, IMO.
If this building is allowed it is a slap in the face of America and will make us a bigger joke than we have eber been. Build it and Bin Ladin wins.


kat Nanton   August 18th, 2010 9:49 pm ET

I wonder how much money the Bin Ladens have contributed to the mosque fund.


Nur el-Masih Ben Haq   August 18th, 2010 9:50 pm ET

G.Z. Mosque: Does the “First Amendment” means freedom to even INSULTINGLY situate place of worship?

It seems Muslims and their paid apologists still don’t understand what some of us are saying or they pretend to be ignorant. Get it clear: no one says Muslims have no rights to practice their faith or build their mosques. In fact, Muslims, who usually kill or threaten death to scare Christians from building churches or openly professing Christianity or preaching it in Muslims majority countries, are nevertheless allowed to build mosques and openly preach their religion and publicly convert Americans. What some of us are saying is that the First Amendment, no matter its loopholes, would NOT mean freedom of a religion to insultingly locate its place of worship. It is very instructive and suggestive that Muslims have turned down an offer of an alternative side other than near Ground Zero--they want to send a signal that Islam is winning TRUE THE MIRACULOUS POWERS OF ALLAH who makes the "infidels" stupid. Let's stop fooling ourselves; even a caveman knows that the Ground Zero Mosque idea is a well schemed arrogant Islamic provocative triumphalism!! So, back to my question: does F.A. means a religion should be given freedom to even provocatively situate its place of worship? Is that what the learned Jefferson meant?


Catherine D.   August 18th, 2010 9:51 pm ET

I believe the terrorists who committed the atrocious acts on 9/11/01 would love nothing more than to twist the knife in the backs of the survivors. We know the majority of Islam are appalled by the acts of the terrorists, and they understand that their prayer services in that specific spot will have an enormous effect on the widows, orphans and parents who lost children. If my practice of Christianity offends anyone to the extent that a Nativity scene cannot be displayed in a publicly funded park, then let us take it somewhere else to a private property where it will not offend anyone.


fedupinaustin   August 18th, 2010 9:51 pm ET

Al is right. This will be the most watched piece of property in the country if they do decide to build it. I understand there's a mosque about 4 blocks away from ground zero. How is that ok? And supposedly Muslims have been using this very same building to pray in for months and seemingly there's been no big outcry over that. Is it just that they will officially call it a mosque that is upsetting to people? We as Americans get so wrapped up emotionally over stuff that we often take the common sense out of things. If they've been in that building praying everyday for months, why is everyone up in arms now? Explain it to me b/c I may just be missing the mark. We all know this is a political distraction. If this was happening in August of 2011 or 2009, no one would even be talking about this except for the local community around Graound Zero.


Mary Florida   August 18th, 2010 9:51 pm ET

We qould balme anyone who did it in the name of their religion!


ROGER   August 18th, 2010 9:55 pm ET

Come on... you can yell Fire in a theater , but is it a good idea.. All the do-gooders in the world are wreaking this country.. I believe that this is an Islamic agenda to use our own laws against us. They respect for the USA. Just as when I went to Sandia Arabia to work in the 80's. At Daharan airport . They went through my luggage and threw out anything that was Jewish or made by a Jew . It was thrown out. They want us to respect them but none is give back.
This is an agenda they have to spoil things here. This will not change ,religion has killed more people in the world than any disease ever has.
Roger
You have to give respect to receive it...


Robert Barry   August 18th, 2010 9:56 pm ET

The mosque should NOT be built so close to Ground Zero.


Mary Florida   August 18th, 2010 9:58 pm ET

The fact that Muslims and Christians died in 911 was not the point of the attackers. Some Muslims are against the Mosque. The attack was on the United States and it's citizens.

Why won't the leader of this building renounce the terrorist organizations.

Do you think building this mosque is going to make us like Muslims more?


Marie   August 18th, 2010 9:58 pm ET

If Christian or Jewish leaders knew that one of their churches or temples would offend others, they would quietly change the plans.

Why is it that Muslims don't mind causing strife and controversy? Is this not a religion of peace? If it means to keep the peace and not cause problems with the people of New York, why don't they just quietly go someplace else? I can't speak for any other religion, but I as a Christian have been taught to not provoke others, to love one another. If one of my children caused the death of a neighbor's child, I certainly wouldn't drive by and beep my horn every time I passed their house.

America is being tested by the Muslims. They demand respect, but yet if they had respect for Americans they would consider their feelings and respect them. Instead, they seem to be enjoying the strife and the anger and the sorrow. This is desrespectful to the American people. Then they throw our ideals in our faces demanding a weeping mother to put up with the brothers and sisters of the kid that killed her child.

The argument of the Muslims confirms that they don't give a damn about Americans or their feelings. They should care, but they obviously don't, instead they use it as an excuse to make Americans look bad.

Muslims are like a spoiled child who demands to hurt another child because it is fair to do so. I think what they are demanding brings more shame to their religion. If they want Americans to think well of their religion they would be more sensitive and not demanding. I had tolerance for them, but this mess they are causing is making me think twice.

Why don't they just show love and sensitivity instead of angry demands. If they changed their plans out of sensitivity and respect, many Americans would have a lot more respect for them. If they get their way, they can be assured that more people would begin to disrespect their religion.


jan   August 18th, 2010 9:58 pm ET

all i have to say is 911 messed me up emotionally and i do not live in NYC.....so no against the mosque!!!


Perry   August 18th, 2010 9:59 pm ET

It is time for the Muslim world to show the rest of us some sensitivity. We do not see the Japanese raising a monument to their brave pilots at Peril Harbor. We also don't see America raising a monument to the technilogical breakthrough in nukear technology in Heroshima. If Muslims are a religion of peace then they need to show it by their works and not just their words.


Tina   August 18th, 2010 10:00 pm ET

To Susan mulinari ... Would you rather a Jewish synagog be built there?


mary in toronto   August 18th, 2010 10:00 pm ET

Hi Larry,

I have mixed feelings about the mosque. I believe that it will be open to the public with a pool etc. which is a good thing as I feel it helps to overcome the problem of religious isolation and therefore lack of religious challenge. However I am very much against seperate law systems, hence Sharia law. I believe in seperation of church and state and law for that matter.


IKHAN   August 18th, 2010 10:00 pm ET

Hi Larry,

This subject should finally be put to rest.

@Gloria Johnson
That Monastery in Turkey is now open to Orthodox Christians. You check out & would learn that some of the most historic & religiously important sites for Christianity are located in Turkey & other Moslem countries like Iran, where the Church of Mary is the second holiest church in Christianity after Betheheim .
@Cajazz
what a courageous statement.
@Robinhook
what an absurd thing to say. Lower Manhattan is no Vatican. Nor were the Twin Towers Christian churches.
@Patrick Alan Caldwell, @ Robin
Muslims died in that attack too. A family I knew well lost their only son a young banker who had left behind few months pregnant wife. They are still grieving.
And to this day Americans do not know for certain who destroyed the Twin Towers.
@LacrosseMom.
you would be surprised to know that there are 300 churches all over Turkey.


Linda K   August 18th, 2010 10:01 pm ET

Why not change the energy of the situation and build a synagogue across the street? How about a church down the block and a Buddhist Temple up the block. Let that area be a symbol of diversity and peace.


faryal   August 18th, 2010 10:01 pm ET

islam is a very pure religion, but i dont know why some muslim made it famous for terrorism. because there is no such thing in Quran that says go and kill innocent people. im a muslim too and dont believe in terrorism and i pray to god that if the muslims do build the islamic center, that they stay pure and dont intend to do anything that would jepordize the freedom of others innocent muslims who live in US. and give the other people a chance to say hey " I told You SO" we shouldnt have let them build a mosque here.


D   August 18th, 2010 10:02 pm ET

The problem is most of you on here have no clue what you are talking about. Some of you have some good thoughts.Majority of you on here are living in fantasy land.Look,its not about if Muslims have the right to build a Mosque in the U.S. or not.Everyone with half a brain understands that they do.70% of Mosques built in the U.S. are with good intention.The problem is the other 30% are not.If you can build a Mosque anywhere in NYC,why pick right next to ground zero?How about the Mosque going up in Cali,they want to build it right next to a Christian church(i mean RIGHT next door).Why?Meaning you dont pick these Controversial spots to build your mosques unless you have alterior motives.This Imam who is in charge of this Mosque near ground zero is dirty.He has ties to Iran,he supported 911,he believes shiria law should take over America.Most Muslims are peacefull people,but this guy is using our constitution against us to plant a victory flag for the terrorists..What would everyone say if the kkk wanted to build a racist center right next door to the Naacp.Just cause you have the right to do it doesnt make it a good idea.I dont buy a house next door to my enemy unless i want to piss him off.Dont tell me Islam is a religion of tolerance either,cause it is not.No christian churches are allowed in Muslim countries.They kill and torture christians in almost all Muslim countries.Tollerance is a two way street.Dont give me Timmothy Mcveay as an example either,he was not a Christian.Either are most of these nut jobs who blow up abortion clinics either.No where in the bible does it talk about killing your enemy or that if your not a christian you should be killed.Get ready people its about to get real ugly in this country.Satan has free reign over the world and he knows hes running out of time.I have no problems with Muslims.Peopld have the right to worship how they wish.But dont pee on my leg and then tell me its raining


Eva   August 18th, 2010 10:03 pm ET

Rep. Allison King statements inferred that opposition to the Muslim center near Ground Zero prevents Muslims from having a place of worship in that area. He is ignoring the fact that there already is a mosque near Ground Zero. There are a number of concerns pro and con, but he should be accurate.

Peter Beinert subsequently inferred that only mosques face difficulties in obtaining construction permits in communities. Other faiths also encounter opposition based on various concerns, including traffic, parking, land use. Again, the speaker should be accurate, and not misleading.


elle   August 18th, 2010 10:03 pm ET

Too many innocent citizens have died in Afghanistan and Iraq, through crossfire etc .. How would the people of those dead feel if American Christians went to those sites and built a church in tribute?


Jean, Toronto   August 18th, 2010 10:06 pm ET

I will state that Russell is two-sided and not sincere. Muslim terrorists as Al Qaeda of all brought this upon Muslims in general causing other people to mistrust them and their presence. It is something which they will have to live with for the rest of their lives until God calls them, everyone for their fair and just judgment.
Building of the mosque near Ground Zero should be prohibited for obvious reasons.
If this mosque is built rest assured that Muslim terrorists who are also undercover, whether they are known to the organizers or not and reside in the US will visit those mosques. They will not be denied entrance. This is where they also plan their terrorist actions.
Frankly, I am puzzled why these Muslims want to build their mosque near Ground Zero. They were offered another area to build the mosque and they refused.
America has been originally a Christian and Jewish country. We never had that problem in years gone by. Today, those non-Christians and non-Jewish people who migrate to the US and Canada want to build their mosques. They migrated with their Islam laws and expect these governments to honor their laws which are non-democratic and discriminatory. This is a sad price to pay for allowing certain people into the country and a democratic one. The debate will rage on, pro and con.

When I consider 9/11, I am against this mosque being built near Ground Zero. Those who oppose it are correct and are within their rights to oppose it for obvious reasons.


Nani Naayan   August 18th, 2010 10:07 pm ET

What is happening here in USA

or...

ARE WE IN SAUDI ARABIA OR ISARAEL.

WHERE IS FREEDOM OF SPEECH?

If a Synagogue or a church were built will there be any noise made about it.

It is not a muslim issue but a Al Kaida issue. Can't Americans see this obvious fact... or is it some other agenda driving this!

I am shocked that this is a topic of discussion. If America CHANGING?

Shame on the media for making it an issue


Richard   August 18th, 2010 10:07 pm ET

lamont – you talk about sensitivity – what is the difference in sensitivity of slavery to sensitivity of 9/11. Besides people that fly the confederate flag aren't advocating the return of slavery. They are illustrating their beliefs in the strenght of the south.


Terrence Benter   August 18th, 2010 10:09 pm ET

Why do we have to bow down to Islam when they are trying to get Christian's out of Turkey and every where else that they can, they are the ones that have the hate i don't care what they call them selfs.


Linda Sprinkle   August 18th, 2010 10:09 pm ET

BEING THE BIGGER NATION!
REQUIRE LEADERSHIP FROM THE HEART!
FORGIVENESS IS VERY HEALING!
LOVE AND LIGHT FOR ALL!
FORGIVE AND FORGET AND MOVE ON AMERICA!
SO THE REST OF THE WORLD WILL DO THE SAME!
IN DIVINE FEMINE FOR US ALL!


Brad Lane   August 18th, 2010 10:12 pm ET

We Americans tend to look away from the facts. Just 5 mins after the Russel Simmons plea for tolerance, CNN is broadcasting film of "Shock and Awe" in lue of the next program coming up. Over 700 Muslum children parished during the first week of US bombing in Baghdad. This doesn't seem to evoke any sensitivity from those that are so upset about a legal building, two blocks from the twin tower site.
We might also remember that since 911, during our wars, hundreds of thousands of Muslims in at least 3 different countries have parished. Sensitvity? Where?


Linda Sprinkle   August 18th, 2010 10:12 pm ET

BE SENSITIVE,
BUILD THE WORLD UP HIGHER AMERICA!
SHOW THE WORLD LEADERSHIP FROM THE HEART!


kim Tran   August 18th, 2010 10:12 pm ET

No mosque on ground zero.that's it!


J. Sanchez   August 18th, 2010 10:15 pm ET

Americans as always so naive and always trying to politizied everithing
I will like to know how much money Saudi Arabia is trowing on all this mess,the black money still talking,wake up US dont turn the other schick
stand for you believes.


Kwabena Otch   August 18th, 2010 10:15 pm ET

Hi Larry,
Great debate tonight on the prospective Mosque development in New York. My question is why over the last few days of intense debate none of the pundits have ever raised the issue of Eminent Domain.

Every fee simple ownership of Real Estate conveys to the owner a bundle of rights subject to, among others, expropriation or eminent domain to mention a few. If the local government in New York finds it to be in Public Interest, the subject property could be expropriated and full compensation paid for the acquisition.

Please engage a lawyer to debate the expropriation perspective

Thank You!


Etta Anderson   August 18th, 2010 10:16 pm ET

Why is it that "we the people" must do all the "bending". Where is the Islamic understanding for the families of the 9/11 attack. Why, out of sympathy for these families that still have unseen remains of their loved ones in that hallowed place, find another lot to build their church? Why would they not have been thoughtful enough when planning this, to have the forsight not to build there. For me, I feel that they did bring that into consideration, and for that reason wanted to build there. Did some of those same people not come out to the streets and celebrate when 9/11 happened?. I think it's wrong on the Islamic's part to build there, not ours for not wanting it.


Elaine   August 18th, 2010 10:22 pm ET

Politics and Religion – to many times are beyond controversial. The United States is NOT based on a religious run government (at least not like the middle east)...

As a cultural Jewish and spiritual American, of 2nd generation, I believe:

Sense and sensibility should be paramount...I agree with another's comment that if any religious center is built – it should be a place for mainstream (no fanatics) religious groups if need be – Jewish, Christian, Muslim, etc....interaction with one another showing interfaith relationship supporting peace and thwarting terrorism in anyway.....otherwise no religious center should be built anywhere near (in any formidable eye site) Ground Zero. It is bad enough that Ground Zero has not been completed in its own right!!

Get a grip everyone – the basics for religion should be living a true and honest life, doing good for your family and those around you and trying to make a difference – in the most positive way in this world – for the greater good! Respect and tolerate reasonable differences (that doesn't result in killing anyone!) Responsibility &accountability pertain to all aspects of life, not to mention humility!

Leave Ground Zero alone without any religious or political influences around it.....nothing to create controversy with negative implications...


Richard   August 18th, 2010 10:22 pm ET

Brad – They attacked us first & you worry about 700 muslim children killed during the first week of a war that we didn't start? Based on your argument we shouldn't of bombed Germany or Japan.


LacrosseMom(the real one)   August 18th, 2010 10:24 pm ET

@ Brad Lane, thank you for your comment.

We, CHRISTIANS, have plenty of blood on our hands.


Amrou   August 18th, 2010 10:28 pm ET

Well , I do beleive if the attackers were from the u.s then there would be another issues , but they came from somewhere else . Do we have to blame the muslims community for that or for they being muslims .
One more thing why we do not look for the benefits of this cneter for the newyorkers kids and family ? As far as I know its not only a mosque its a community center where a lot of activies will be there . Keep kids from streets , crimes and drugs habits . I am looking forwards to hear more about that soon
Amrou
rock hill , sc


paula   August 18th, 2010 10:31 pm ET

There's a time and place for everything. Where is the sensitivity to the families of 911? Though it is true, the religion of Islam did hijack those airplanes, nor did Islam bring those buildings down and kill all those people.. The wound is still new.. People haven't healed yet.. Our nation is not healed yet. This was an horrific act that will not be forgotten too easily. Is this not realized it's only going to make more racism, more anger, more ignorance, more deaths?? Isn't it not more responsible to keep people safe right now? With the majority protesting this Muslim community center being built so close to ground zero, are they not foreseeing angry & hurt people doing harmful, hateful acts out of desperation from not having their voices heard? It only adds to the statements that our government caters more to other nations other than catering to the people of America. As short minded as it seems, that's what it will be seen as. I think it makes the "pro" leaders and representatives of our government more interested in "winning" against the "con" leaders and representatives.. For them, it's just about adding a notch to their side, rather working for the good of the people. Meanwhile the people of our nation is really not being heard.. If the majority does not want this project, then the majority of the people's voice should be heard and honored.

Stating this is against our first amendment (freedom of speech and religion) is wrong... Too many times the first amendment is used as an excuse. Pointing out– comparing as racism, calling it bigotry, it's really not about the religion... It's about the extremist Islam, and how they see this center being built on the place they tore down. The place that brought the U.S.A to it's knees. This is not about tolerance. It's like comparing apples to oranges when they argue these points.. It's about compassion and respect.. It's about pain.. The Muslim community center being built in this place at this point in time is too painful. Especially when it's said back in biblical times when Islam conquered, they built a place of worship as a symbol of victory.. Perhaps the real Islam would not see it that way, but the extremest would. And we are just not ready to have that gesture thrown at us. Be that tale true or false.. It's there.. Again, it's just too soon to see things crystal clear now. It's just too soon to expect people to be healed and open and compassionate to a project at this point in time. Like salt in the wound.. Like swallowing a bitter pill. Especially when we all know that extremest are working and waiting for the right time to do it again! Right now the government will create more hate and bigotry, resulting in probable deaths.. btw, Muslims are not being TOLD where they may ir where they can build the center, however they are being ASKED not to build it at this place at this time. It will be seen as being disrespectful, distasteful and humiliating.. Almost damning the people who lost their lives on 9-11. The Greatest Tragedy of the United States of America's experience. This project will create more hate, it's being demonstrated right now.. Please, think of the people that this will hurt. Think of the families that will suffer because loved ones will be jailed or killed over this... Untruths will be told, people will believe the worst.. The only way not to let this get our of control is to let this project rest for awhile.. Let the healing continue.. Eventually we will get to a right place by teaching our children about compassion, love and value of the many cultures and the people of those cultures have to offer all of us in our great world..


Woody   August 18th, 2010 10:33 pm ET

Sometimes real learning is difficult, even painful. When accomplished, it's always worth the effort. Some Americans need to learn that there's a very big difference between Islam and Al Qaida.

My heritage is Irish and Danish, I'm 61 years old, I'm not religious & I live 1 hr. from NYC. Russell Simmons is precisely correct. If we are "sensitive" to having a mosque 2 blocks from ground zero after 9 years, we need to have the point that Islam did not attack us made more clear in ways such as this. Build it as planned.


Cajazz76:24:8   August 18th, 2010 10:47 pm ET

Dancalgary...hello and thank you for asking..

Having lived in Taif, K.S.A. for five years, I have a bit of knowledge that can half-fast answer your question. Ibn al Saud, the front-runner of modern day Saudi Arabia rid the country of elements that he felt were contrary to sustain the country as the centers for the Muslim faith, Mecca and Medina. He began in an area called the Empty Quarter, and trust it is empty and devoid of human life, and his terror spread across the Arabian Peninsula and today you have an extremely biased and greedy bunch of his ancestor's that have two things going for them...lots of oil and the center of Islam dating back to 622 B.C. They are undoubtedly some, if not the most hypocritical and putrid elements in the Middle East. However, Vatican City is the closet component according to their religion....that is from their mouths...Thank you for the opportunity to respond...


Cajazz76:24:8   August 18th, 2010 10:52 pm ET

Lacrosse Mom..the real one..

I am very sorry for not reading your shouting and just the obvious comment you began your blog with. I assure you I will put in ear plugs from now on and be extremely careful when responding to anyone...again my sincere apologies....caj


kat Nanton   August 18th, 2010 10:54 pm ET

faryal–have you read the Koran. There are over one hundred quotes to smite unbelievers. Who do you think you are fooling.


lilia dove   August 18th, 2010 10:58 pm ET

I believe in freedom and what America stands for however, allowing this building to be built near the world trade center is so wrong in so many levels that I am embarrassed for the first time to have a president who is clearly deprived of sensitivity and true wisdom held by our fore fathers.


kat Nanton   August 18th, 2010 11:23 pm ET

Why has the Cordoba initiative website been scrubbed–no more board members or advisers listed. No more sharia meetings showing Imam Rauf?? Why, why, why?


Nadine Labrum Goaslind   August 18th, 2010 11:24 pm ET

Larry,
Americans are basically, very tolerant people.
I've had some conflicting encounters with Islam, and, I still haven't sorted out exacty what the larger soul of Islam is. I know Muslims profess that Islam is a peaceful, loving and tolerant ideology. Yet, the few Muslims I've known have a tendency toward a very narrow ideology...as in, their family members are not allowed to attend or investigate another religion in any way. Further, Christian churches are absolutey forbidden in Mecca and many other Muslim cities. I said CITY, ...I did not say, square feet of real estate. That is a fact.
President Obama's perceived right to interject his personal opinion across national airwaves in regard to proposed structure in downtown Manhattan, New York state oerplexes me. He is NOT a resident of New York, he is not on the zoning board in New York, he is not vested in any way to push his 'opinion' in that regard. Yet, he did. WHY???

Though Americans are resonably tolerant, propriety and consideration are also deep American tendencies. It seems that propriety and consideration are being very undervalued in this instance. I do believe Mr. Obama to be a grandstander of the first order. He is also an activist of the first order. This whole situation alarms me deeply as, it seems, the funding has not yet been procured therefore, no building permits have evidently been appropriately applied for, etc.etc. So, this whole debate is astoundingly premature, but entirely premeditated, in my opinion.
Does this smell of something to anyone else but me???
In my 61 years, I may have earned some wariness of political tactics. And for all the world...this media electromagnetic pulse not only scares me, I feel a bit nauseated.

I say, "wouldn't be prudent".
Most sincerely, Nadine Labrum Goaslind


Cajazz76:24:8   August 18th, 2010 11:32 pm ET

IKHAN..

Hello, my friend..you always have such a sincere and appropriate response on these blogs. I don't know what your moniker signifies, but you certainly are a decent and genuine example for the world to emulate. I would love to have you as a neighbor, since one of mine is a bit wound with his steroidal driven personality..He is fun to watch, I must admit. Of course in Texas, it is very easy to succumb to heart failure due to excessive laughter. I try not to overdue it. Take my genuine friend and I will chat back soon..caj


Jean, Toronto   August 18th, 2010 11:34 pm ET

@ Cajazz76:24:8 – You ask, can Muslims build in Vatican City? This is a big laugh. By no means. Vatican City is out of bounds for such people. Muslims do not worship Our Lord Jesus Christ.
I do not even think that they genuinely worship God, the One whom Christians and Jewish people worship. Their Muslim radicals are a menace to society. They plan terrorisms throughout the world and go about murdering people, saying that Allah is great as they murder them. They also say that God sent them to murder people and to destroy properties. What blasphemy to the real One and Only True God. What type of religion is that? They will pay the price.
They call us Christians infidel as if they are not infidels. In their ignorance they do not know that they are the ones who are infidels.
"For God so loved the world that He sent His Only Son that whoever believes in Him might be saved."
The Son of God, our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ said: "Only those who obey His (our) Heavenly Father's Will, will enter His Kingdom."


Cajazz76:24:8   August 18th, 2010 11:47 pm ET

IKHAN...

My apology, I saw it all along.. the origin of your name..I have been there and so has my wife and daughter..we all loved it and it was a respite for my wife and I after fleeing Iran. There is no doubt I will be returning for another visit, since mine was a rather short one due to circumstances preceding my rather short visit..My daughter has done a piece for VIVA MAGAZINE there. Yes, I am being vague...with the there's...lol Take care IKHAN..The red clay tile roofs and whitewashed houses still swirl in my head..later.


Woody   August 18th, 2010 11:51 pm ET

@ Jean, Toronto - Yes, Muslim radicals are a menace to society, but Islam does not embrace such radicalism.


Cajazz76:24:8   August 18th, 2010 11:57 pm ET

Jean, Toronto

My dear...what do you I do, make this stuff up? I have lived in the Middle East for over ten years, my daughter lives there still. Islam is an Abrahamic-core based religion, one of three..yours being one also. They worship God, in their language he is called Allah..same old ancient God you worship..and they revere Jesus Christ, as the prophet he was. I won't debate religion, I think we have been there before...If your memory serves you well Jean, I am neither Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or Jew...I am not that confident of things that those cloistered in ignorance are sure of...caj


Jean, Toronto   August 19th, 2010 12:12 am ET

@ Terrence Benter. Yes! Turkey is murdering the Christians and driving them away.
Recently a Catholic Bishop was murdered in Turkey and was decapitated by his Muslim driver prior to the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. This Muslim man went on the balcony of the Bishops's residence and stated loudly in his language: "Allah is great. He murdered the infidel."
It makes me, a Catholic Christian angry and makes my blood boil to hear what occurred to the Bishop and how he suffered at the hands of this Muslim man.
Muslims in the democratic world should keep this in mind and that they willingly came to this part of the world. They were not invited. Therefore they cannot expect to take over America and force their laws on it and expect any more than fair housing and jobs.
There is no doubt that the American government financially supports some of them who are unemployed and will continue to do so for years to come, even until some of them die. The government must not succumb to their wimbs and wiles. They are taking advantage of the generosity of the government.
As long as Christians are being murdered also in other lands – in their lands, they will not be appreciated in the democratic world. I am stating, as long as they reside in those lands as they are infiltrating the entire world, they will never be trusted. The mark and reputation has been set. Let them blame their own people for that.
There are those who state that not all of them are the same. I would like to believe that. However, it is difficult to forget what occurred to innocent people, wherever they may reside at the hands of those who are Muslims. They belong to a sect which generates and causes terrorism. This will never be forgotten.
I am also stating with no prejudice the majority of people in the democratic world will not appreciate a mosque being built at Ground Zero. We do not have to be Americans to state this. We state this in respect for the approximately 360 fire fighters and the thousands of people, some of whom were from other countries and who lost their lives on that fateful day of 9/11. Most of us, wherever we reside viewed this disaster/inferno on TV.
Those who are in favor of this mosque being built as the Muslims must keep this in mind.
My empathy is with those victims and their families who continue to grieve the loss of their loved ones and always will.


Nana Brown   August 19th, 2010 12:14 am ET

Mayor Bloomberg's Speech August 3, 2010 said it all why not hear him on Larry King


Jean, Toronto   August 19th, 2010 12:17 am ET

@ Mary in Toronto: It appears that you are thrilled about the pool which will be built in that mosque. Is that all? Hold your breath. You will be fortunate if non-Muslims as yourself will be given the opportunity to bathe in it. Beware! People get drown in pools whether by accident or not. It is not a place/pool I would be interested in to visit.


Melissa   August 19th, 2010 12:20 am ET

I personally know a Fireman That was killed, that day. The family is sick over the thought of a Mosque. Good , Bad, Ugly, in between, have some common humanity...build it somewhere else. By the way ,good luck trying to get a Hammer swung on that job...


brenda morgan   August 19th, 2010 12:22 am ET

I feel that here in the USA we have freedoms that MUST be respected by all of us. I also understand why this upsets so many people but these are not the people responsable for 9/11. How would we have felt about Japan building a Buddhist temple or water park at Pearl Harbor in 1950?? Do you think it would have been built without any commetents. Also since most KKK members, skin heads and or american terriosts belong to the Baptist churchs should we outlaw them?


Fed Up!   August 19th, 2010 12:24 am ET

@Jean, I completely agree with you! Muslims come here and refuse to assimilate into our culture, but want to impose their cultural values on US! I'd like to see the Muslim world be more tolerant – has anyone heard about the rape of Christian Pakistani women in the news recently? How about the attack on churches in Nigeria? Or the killing of Christian villagers in the Sudan – and then the families not being allowed to bury the bodies because Sudan is a Muslim country? If Sharia law is so great, why don't Muslims stay in their own countries?? We certainly don't want it here!


Melissa   August 19th, 2010 12:24 am ET

I feel building a Mosque at Ground Zero is a total disrespect. I have 2 kids in Afghanistan and wonder why???


Ann Curlett   August 19th, 2010 12:29 am ET

NO! We should not allow a mosque to be built near the world trade center murders. It is insensative. Any peace loving muslim would agree with that! President Obama does not seem to care about the feelings of Americans whose family members were killed there. Just because people have the "Right" to build something does not mean they should. It is a reality that Islamic Terrorism exists under the facade of "religion." It is not an assumption, it is fact.


Cajazz76:24:8   August 19th, 2010 12:30 am ET

Jean, Toronto

Can you tell me where Eve, the one from Adam's rib is buried?...It exists in a place you would never guess. This is a test Jean..and is there any direct evidence of how a nice man like Jesus, the Nazarene, became YOUR God? I am being fair Jean, there is writings on display of the Muslim prophet Mohammed...nothing...nothing..of an Aramaic script from the days of Jesus..I am not in denial he existed, but nothing of him was presented in writing until almost a century later..The Muslims are, in their own words..to my own ears... the closest to the Roman Catholic religion...


Tabatha   August 19th, 2010 12:31 am ET

I really enjoyed what Russell Simmons had to say about the building of the Islamic community center. I find it hard to believe that people are having a hard time separating Islam and the radical Islam. Christians would be offended to be assumed part of the KKK, a radical terrorist form of Christianity. Why are people having a hard time making that distinction? Many innocent Muslims were also victims of 9-11.


immigrant   August 19th, 2010 12:35 am ET

I am an immigrant and I think americans who are in support with building a mosque on ground zero are nuts. I am from that region and these people are not even sincere to their own family do you really think these people will be in harmony with you. Come on americans weak up and please smell the roses. Or at least smell the blood that is shed for the sake of your freedom. I urge you to listen to your heart and not listen to the B.S artist who don't know these folks first hand.
Your well wisher an immigrant from an islamic country


Khari Varner   August 19th, 2010 12:36 am ET

I see no reason why they cant move near ground zerro. there are raticals in every religion. if we ( Americans) are going to penaalize them for what radical musilms have done. Then in that same light, we should tear down every white church catholic, baptist,ect. the worst teroist in this country have been white, who call themselves chirstains. these same christains who hung my moms first cusin in Mobile Al. The same christains who lynched blacks and burned crosses. My point is that there are ratical in every religion if we take that stand with islam we should with everyone. Oh, and I am a christain.


ike   August 19th, 2010 12:37 am ET

i got one question why hasent our president made one trip to the middle east to thank our troops for putting there lives on the line for our country! if our president posessed the true leadership he is expected to carry he should have been over there at least a couple of times! furthermore id like to know whats going to happen wen our country has such a high unemployment rate he wants our troops home! i must wionder were are our brothers and sisters going to go to work at! witch brings us right around to the illegal workers that are flooding across the border! i think the priortys of the goverment are assbackwards! george washinton said it best the goverment should be overthrown every 200 years to ensure the people still have the power!! but unfortunataly our goverment has to much power and the people who pays there wages have none except for the arguments we listen to on the news every day!!! word worriors thats wat you people are ! theres two kinds of people in the world theres doers and theres people who set around talking about what should be done!!!


mahmoud   August 19th, 2010 12:38 am ET

Good job Mr Russell


Ed   August 19th, 2010 12:38 am ET

When I was a child, I used to play a game with my classmates; it was called capture the flag. The objective of the game was for players from ONE TEAM WOULD GO INTO THE OTHER TEAMS TERRITORY, CAPTURE THE FLAG, AND REPLACE IT WITH THEIR OWN TEAMS FLAG. This was a fun game, where nobody got hurt and we all went in for dinner after.

In New York, this was not the case. Members from the other side – not all muslims, but enough to be the face of Islam; namely the Taliban, Al Qaeda, et al – have come to America's Door Step and captured our flag (Twin Towers). Now they seek to claim it as there own with a flag from their side (Mosque near Ground Zero) with muslims who have been known to spread Anti-American retoric while abroad and amongst their own extremists.

Please remember those that died September 11, 2001 in this Attack on America and the brave men and women that died trying to save the victims at Ground Zero AND THE AREA IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY.

As far as Freedom of Religious Practice is concerned, please observe how ANY religious practices other than that of an Islamic nature are regarded in any of the many countries that make up the Muslim Nations.


brenda morgan   August 19th, 2010 12:40 am ET

Ann you need to remember that President Obama took an oath to support and to fight for the US Const. If you want to be able to pick and choose which religion you want in your neighborhood then you need to change the Const. You also need to hope and pray that your religion is ok with me or you can't build your church in my town!!!


Liz   August 19th, 2010 12:42 am ET

I found it interesting watching Larry King tonight to hear Rep. Keith Ellison, who happens to be a black man, saying that we can't let sensitivities get in the way of Constitutional rights when it comes to building the mosque at Ground Zero in New York. I find it just as appalling that Muslims want to build a mosque in that location as blacks take offense to the Confederate flag "for what it represents." Owning a Confederate flag is not illegal, yet it offends. Yes Mr. Ellison, sensitivities count for all people, not just when it affects one part of the population!


Rudra NC   August 19th, 2010 12:44 am ET

First, a quick disclosure; I am a naturalized American, I was born and brought up Indian – you probably know many educated Indians are very biased against Islamic nations esp. Pakistan – but not without ample reason, we believe.

I think it is horrible to suggest putting an Islamic center next to GZ – because no matter what the stated or real intent of it is, the actual *outcome* will be that a great number of fundamentalist Muslims in many countries will raise a shout of joy saying "we did it – killed infidels, then built a mosque there." It won't much matter how enlightened the activities held at the center itself are.

Any Muslim scholar or cleric would have to unbelievably naive not to know that. For myself, I *don't* believe it – I estimate that the scholars calling for the center are being hypocrites, knowing full well that they are actually raising a standard for Islamic fundamentalists to crow over, and maybe gain more strength from, for new attacks.


steve   August 19th, 2010 12:44 am ET

An Islamic mosque near Ground Zero? What an insult! Why are Americans always asked to show tolerance for the customs and cultures of other nations when other nations, such as islamic nations, refuse to show tolerance for our culture and customs. Try building a church or synagogue near Mecca and see what happens. They may as well ask the families of the victims who were murdered in the name of Islam, to donate the tombstones for the foundation.


Fed Up!   August 19th, 2010 12:47 am ET

Why is the NY government blocking the nearby Greek Orthodox church from rebuilding after being damaged September 11, 2001 yet is willing to allow a mosque to be built in the same neighborhood.

Why is no one discussing this injustice? Where's the religious tolerance? What happened to the right of the Greek Orthodox to repair their place of worship?


Kitty Hopp   August 19th, 2010 12:48 am ET

I think that Mr Simmons said it just right. Why are so many people equating the attack on 9/11 with an entire religion? It makes no sense at all. As to the person with 2 kids in Afghanistan, some of my best friends are from Afghanistan, and are now American citizens. There are bad people in all countries and there always have been. I am Catholic, and I sure wouldn't want people judging me by what the Catholic church has done. I thought that going into Afghanistan was a huge mistake. But most of the people there are good and kind and want peace and the same opportunities that we want as Americans.


Jacob   August 19th, 2010 12:59 am ET

I understand why people say they don't want something built so close to ground zero, especially a mosque. However the mosque is blocks away from ground zero! If someone had planned to build a church at the same place would there be this much controversy? I don't think so...


Kip Funk   August 19th, 2010 12:59 am ET

There is no way that a Islamic mosque should be there. No matter what Obama says. he is souding crazier every day.


bettye   August 19th, 2010 1:11 am ET

i would like to know how these same people who feel so strong and offended by this feel and felt about the rebel flag issue. this is offensive to many black people with good reason and there didn't seem to be this kind of support for that issue. it makes me wonder if it matters more who is being offended in this country than what the offense is.


lilia dove   August 19th, 2010 1:19 am ET

America, the enemy schemes and tactics is to divide us, so we may fall. So lets pull ourselves together and say no, not now or ever to this building! United we stand! So rise and stand. I believe in us!!!!


Erin, Utah   August 19th, 2010 1:22 am ET

I don't think this is a debate about whether or not it is legal to build the community center, we all know they can. What I don't understand is why those planning it think it's a good idea. Regardless of of how accepting or how bigoty our country is, there ARE people on both sides...and those full heartedly against the community center and Muslims WILL be there as soon as it opens to protest. Protesting against it is probably the most G rated thing I can think of happening to the center. All in all, I am fearful for what could happen, but am hopeful for something good for the community who has seen so much tragedy.


imran khan   August 19th, 2010 1:24 am ET

I am muslim from Pakistan. If you dont want the mosque, build a strip club there instead. Make sure that all muslim men only get subsidized 2 for $5.00 lap dances. Its either the mosque or the strip club with subsidized lap dances for muslim men only, i would be happy with such an arrangement. I am sure more men will convert to Islam to get cheap lap dances, this will make musilms very happy.


elle   August 19th, 2010 1:27 am ET

@Tabatha Why do you find it so hard to believe?? You say:

"I really enjoyed what Russell Simmons had to say about the building of the Islamic community center. I find it hard to believe that people are having a hard time separating Islam and the radical Islam. Christians would be offended to be assumed part of the KKK, a radical terrorist form of Christianity. Why are people having a hard time making that distinction? Many innocent Muslims were also victims of 9-11."

If I were an American Citizen, living in the Middle East and some extreme group, like the KKK came over and caused a terrorist attack that killed thousands. I would understand completely why the citizens of that country (Muslim or not) would feel a little hesitant to want my western community building a tribute to serve our Community at the site of the terrorism. So the question is why do you find it hard to believe?


Cajazz76:24:8   August 19th, 2010 1:48 am ET

imran khan

LOL..LMAO..Brother, you have said it better than any one person can assimilate why my preference, when I made my own choice, is Agnostic.. I do not pretend to know what ignorant men are sure of... Catholics are told to do the same thing...pimp someone into your faith and the Plasticine and humid Kingdom of Heaven will be yours.. sweet!


Tammy   August 19th, 2010 1:50 am ET

Oh my goodness, I can not believe how my fellow Americans are acting. It is very upsetting, I just saw on another news station where a church in FL is planning to brun the holy QURAN on 9/11...ISLAM means peace, teachings in the QURAN calls the CHRISTAINS the closest to THE BELIVERS...MUSLIM means one who submits to GOD. "Goodness and Evil cannot be equal. Repay evil with what is better, then he who was your enemy will become your intimate friend." (Surah 41:34) May I ask that before you make Islam and Muslims all out to be a source of threat and menance to America, take the time to read the QURAN to learn what TRUE ISLAM is...It is the duty of all Muslims to show the true nature of Islam as a religion of reason, tolerance, and justice reaching out to people all over the world. We must remember what our nation was built on (One nation under GOD – with liberty and justice for All) not just some, but all. The first Americans came to escape religious persecution, thus our constituation/ the rules we live by.


Smith in Oregon   August 19th, 2010 2:22 am ET

@ Gloria Johnsen, you asked, 'I want to inquire as to why the Muslim country of Turkey, closed the only Orthodox Christian Monastery in that country. Yet the Muslim speakers always ask for tolerance. Orthodox Christianity was in Constantinople before Christ was born and before it became a Muslim majority country . Where is the tolerance, understanding on the Muslim side?'

There were two Popes at the same time, one in Rome, Italy the other Pope in Constantinople, Turkey. The Pope in Rome, Italy ordered his Christian army to kidnap and murder the Pope in Constantinople. Which they did along with 1 Million Christian women, children and men in Constantinople, Turkey as they sacked, looted and burned Constantinople to the ground.

I see no possible way that depraved and utterly corrupt Christian leader could pass anything remotely connected to 'Jesus' to the next Pope which Christian Catholic succession uses as it's foundational belief. Hence all Christian leaders (Popes) thereafter had nothing to pass to the next Pope to present times.

Perhaps @ Gloria Johnsen, you could explain how tolerant the people of Constantinople, Turkey should be of 'Christians' that kidnapped and murdered their religious leader along with One Million of their Christian residents under the guise of doing the bidding of 'Jesus's successor in Christianity'.


jo   August 19th, 2010 3:18 am ET

this man has no idea of how many families lost friends sons and daughters. People are telling us nonsupporters to go back to school. Well I'm thirteen. I'm in school. Hows this; every time islam armies conquered a city, they would build a mosque to show they conquered it. Look it up it's no joke. There are many other places to build a mosque. They say they are good muslims, have they no respect for the thousands lost?


Nata   August 19th, 2010 3:22 am ET

Waaw so this mosque has been there for a long time. This is re4ally news to me. Why we never get the full stories.
Thanks Simmons for the clarification


djtatum   August 19th, 2010 3:24 am ET

Russell, why don't you spend your time hawking Rushcards and leave world politics to the people who understand what they are talking about?


Joe Bob   August 19th, 2010 3:31 am ET

Russell Simmons says he moved to Queens and met with some opposition but would he have moved into a home where 8 African Americans hung a few thousand white people?

I think not.


Brad shuman   August 19th, 2010 3:35 am ET

I as a 22 year old who was pulled out of my 8th grade football practice in 2001 bc my my family feared I was in danger that dreadful morning disagrees with the mosque proposal. No law can justify the EMOTION in the hearts of every American that cringe at the very thought of the date 9/11. I don't think this is the issue of the law and what's right and what's wrong or correct. I think this is about being a HUMAN BEING and what FEELS right in your heart and your gut instinct. And my first reaction and gut instinct tells me this isn't right. I think there should be a new law that if a religion based terror attach that kills 1000 plus people is carried out on American soil then their closest place of worship should be at least a mile away. If the founding fathers witnessed the horrors of 9/11 then I think there would have been a few changes to our way of thinking. But what do I know. I'm just a 22 year old from Jacksonville. I do know there isn't a Nazi shrine next to auschwitz though. Read the book " Rembrandt affair".


P Rosenberg   August 19th, 2010 3:47 am ET

i am so sorry for what you are helping to do. We have fought for the constitution, that all people have equal rights. We understand the right of people to have their own religion. STOP this Mosque at ground ZERO. You know, you would not be claiming constitutional rights if they wanted to build a catholic cathedral, or a Jewish temple. I am tired of Now you think Muslims need and deserve more than all of the rest of our rights. Hey! we who are not democrats,are not racists. Most of us don't have any kind of powere or money that all these hollywood stars have. And excuse me Mr. Simmons, you and your children live beyond any thing I even dream of. And I heard Nancy Polosi say she should investigate anyone who disagreed. Well come on, I
bet the majority of those agaist this will pass any investigation.


Brad shuman   August 19th, 2010 3:49 am ET

U want to knowhow far away is acceptable? If it's far enough that a projectile from one of the dead or from one of he demolished buildings didn't reach, then that is far enough to build your mosque.


Najam   August 19th, 2010 3:49 am ET

The constraction of an Islamic center led by moderate muslims is vital to stop the march of fanatics towards Muslim American youth.


king, germany   August 19th, 2010 3:49 am ET

I believe that we should build a Mosque at ground zero when, we can build a church in Bagdad. Try to promote a Church in Bagdad or Istanbul or Tehran or, or , or.


mariam   August 19th, 2010 4:27 am ET

I am a muslim from the Arab gulf states and respect people of other faiths. Islam urges us to respect people from the three sacred faiths islam, christianity and judism. We have great tolerance to people of other cultures. In ramadan and eid our malls are decorated with islamic artifacts and in christmas the malls are decorated with christmas artifacts. People love to work here because we live together in harmony. We don't discriminate others based on their religion. People can celebrate any way they wish. In Ramadan the hotels have iftar or breaking fast for muslims. In christmas they have christmas lunch or dinner. Please don't believe what you hear in the media its not true. The media is responsible for fabricating and sensalization of facts. We are all part of the brother hood of man. I studied in the US and learned that all people are the same. Please visit a number of Arab Countries and ask if they have places of worships for christians. Only then can you make a judgement. Muslims have the right to practise their faith and wear Hijab a head cover and so do jews. Did you know that Jewish women should wear wigs to cover their natural hair? Do you disrespect jews because they grow beards? No at least I don't . I look to the person and not to what they are wearing. Do we judge women wearing next to nothing? No. But even christianity warns people of wearing modest clothes. So please understand the dynamics of the demographics of Manhattan and how people should live together in peace and harmony. Respect others because violence is the work of the devil and we believe that in all faiths. What they did to the twin towers is not acceptable to anyone or any faith. But we do not use hatred to heal hatred.


Vicki   August 19th, 2010 5:20 am ET

In my opinion,it's too soon to ask the survivors of 09/11/01 to forget what happened.It's not that muslims did it to the US;it's that the memories are too raw to forget.We have cops and firefighters trying to recuperate from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome who were there.We still have soldiers returning from battle who were sent to muslim countries to fight radical islamists.We're letting a really controversial subject divide us with no respect for those who still grieve.Where's the respect? They want us to have tolerance,but they won't consider our need to take our time to heal.Wouldn't that be an act of consideration by not insisting they do what they claim to have the right to do.Where is this mosque's measure of couth? This is not the right time to expect the survivors to compromise.


mary   August 19th, 2010 5:30 am ET

In order to bring peace, let something else be built there that will benefit all irrespective of religion, cultural or social economic group. No one single group should be given such priveledge.
But in my own opinion, i think allowing such will be to the detriment of many, call me twisted but such will give "them fanatic" more better chance to carry out their plans unhindered,as eventually such place will be prohibited for entry to all non-muslim save themselves, how then do one checkmate their activities, eventually America will be hijacked......Remember, theirs is to conquer in were ever they find themselves settled................


abubakar suleiman yusuf   August 19th, 2010 5:34 am ET

Is america really a free country? The muslims have the constitutional and legal rights to practice their religion. Muslims are never terorist.


vanessa   August 19th, 2010 5:35 am ET

I think it will be a good thing. it shows that religions don't agree with fanatism and terrorism.


jjalltheway   August 19th, 2010 5:40 am ET

Russell,
Stop blaming Americans!
If more than one Islamic leader would've spoken out against terrorism more than once maybe Americans wouldn't think the way they do about having a mosque/Islamic center near ground zero.
People from around the world cheered when the twin towers collapsed. Are we suppose to believe that muslims weren't part of that group? I think many muslims cheered like many other people around the world so no, I don't want a place muslims can go near ground zero so they can thank Allah for the twin towers collapsing or to hide weapons/bombs or to collect money for the next terrorist strike.
To all Islamic leaders, your silence is sickening; it makes many Americans feel that you don't care about 9/11. Are you afraid that your fellow muslims will behead you if you speak up against terrorism?
All churches should pay taxes and no church should receive free land!!!


ex muslim   August 19th, 2010 5:42 am ET

These muslims are devil in disguise. Dont get into their sugarcoated words or get ur civilisation and culture destroyed. The Devil Arab god can do no good to anyone. Stop the mosque that is to be build in NY.


Lars   August 19th, 2010 5:55 am ET

I hear this debate and understand the risks to build and not to build. Could a solution be to make the "ground zero" area a religious free area and instead dedicate the area to rememberance?


Larry Denman   August 19th, 2010 6:04 am ET

I am not a Muslin.
What about our American Terrorist -Timothy McVeigh that was raised Catholic so should we not allow St Joseph's Cathedral to be just across the street from where the Bombing occurred in Oklahoma? That would be ridiculous. He was not following his faith when he committed this act.
Or should we hold it against Republicans because McVeigh was a registered Republican?
No he was not following the beliefs of his party.
WHY THE DOUBLE STANDARD?
Why discriminate against peaceful people who only want a place to worship. They have zero to do with 911.
Americans will always be against terrorist and always have been.


jjalltheway   August 19th, 2010 6:16 am ET

If the mosque were built I'd be afraid that it would become the 2nd mecca, a place that any or all terrorists would go and "pray" before their last terror act and before they go meet with their 72 virgins in heaven.


Victor   August 19th, 2010 6:17 am ET

As a non-American, I sometimes find myself feeling utterly disapointed at the way Americans say one thing and do the other. If America can say they are racially and religiously tolerant, how can they in the same vain want to shove down "sensitivity" to a certain religious group? If they feel no mosques should be built in a certain area, that just reminds me of the shameful past in the same America when black were not allowed to ride in the front of buses WHILE claiming all citizens are equal...if some certain concerned people can say islam as a whole should be sensitive to the building of a mosque or whatever, then ALL SPIRITUAL STRUCTURES SHOULD BE MOVED BACK SEVERAL BLOCKS, including all synagogues, churches, temples and what not with the vicinity of Ground Zero. Only then can everyone's rights will be represented and sensitivity issues be equitably addressed. Victor, Lagos.


jjalltheway   August 19th, 2010 6:35 am ET

I wonder why the people who want to build it won't provide information to the city of New York as to WHO is "donating" the money to build it / WHERE is the $$$ coming from? What are they trying to hide?


Tom Mallon   August 19th, 2010 7:09 am ET

I am under the impression that mosque were built to support a Muslim community. Are there that many Muslim families living, and will be preying five times a day in that area. Or will we be looking at another white, oops green elephant. Don’t build another religious, political, terrorist target. Don't construct eyewash for the devious. Maintain the separation of state and church. If the “space” needs to be filled, and somebody has a “’$100M need or feeling to do good”, fill it with a state of the art medical/fire/emergency response center for “all” The world has enough bad memories for decades and plenty of “monuments” to support bad memories. Let it RIP.


jjalltheway   August 19th, 2010 8:26 am ET

Steve Mcduff...said it's practically America's fault for 9/11 and blamed America for people hating it.
"But America best start looking at where and why there continues to be great growth in anti- American sentiment."
Let me tell you something Steve...The reason people hate America is because there must always be someone/somewhere to hate. Teachers and schools in other countries teach students to hate, politicians and leaders of other countries teach hate to gain power(soon China could be # 1 so they will have to learn how to teach reasons for students to hate China).
Is consumerism a good reason for mid eastern countries, Bin Laden, etc...to teach hate and recruit suicide bombers to attack anything that resembles western countries?
Maybe America should close it's doors to people from around the world – NO MORE VISITORS – so they have a real reason to hate America. If that reason doesn't satisfy anyone then I agree with "Sam Ormes" comment...for "Safety." Oh, and I'm a tourism major but not Republican. Remember who we are dealing with here, a people who have no gays, and when one man rapes another it's the fault of the person who was raped – See Afghanistan – Saudi Arabia etc...
I like the post that said...The Mosque SHOULD BE BUILT NEXT TO A Synagogue. Now tell me who is tollerant(???), not to mention(OMG) what's not allowed in muslim countries. It's about time America starts basing more of it's so-called freedom laws on reciprocation when it has to do with religion or those people who believe in oppression, discrimination of women, stonings etc...Start weeding them out.
If this Mosque/Center is built, I can see the day when muslim men, under the pretense of a woman enter/exit wearing full hijabs similiar to what women are forced to wear in Afghanistan. Mecca # 2, is New York that desperate for tourism? I must say it's not a bad way to attract terrorists and agree with whoever it was that said something like..."It's a good way to keep an eye on them."


J Dossandhi   August 19th, 2010 8:56 am ET

Muslims have the right to worship not to occupy the churches. More over Saudia has not given a permission to build a church in Saudia Arabia. If Muslims are demanding mosques all over the christian countries, they have to look around that they have have given the full freedom to other religions in their countries?

America should not be too democratic to compromise on their religion and faith. People those are demanding to build mosque mostly they will be from Pakistan and they know very well how the Muslims treat christians and other minorities in Pakistan.

So compromising to build a mosque (where nearly 3000 people were slaughtered on the name of Islam) mean compromising with terrorism. American citizens must know President Obama is very much sympthetic fto terrorists.


Mensa George   August 19th, 2010 9:01 am ET

Larry,
Your segment with Russel Simmons was one of the worse yet. He rambled and seemed that he wasn't sure of his subjest material. Also you asked him a question concerning Dr. Laura and the 'N' word controversary and he refused to answer and you didn't press the issue. I feel he didn't or elected not to answer because of the rap artist he represents. He was swerd enough to out smart you this time and I hope that if he is invited back again you will get him to answer the question.


lilia dove   August 19th, 2010 9:06 am ET

Build a mosque or a strip joint , huh! I truly, believe with just a little more imagination we could summon other options, funny though you compare your building with another that is devoid of human value!


sue g   August 19th, 2010 9:11 am ET

Did I miss something! When did politics become part of religion. If what the polititcians are saying about muslims is true. Why didn't they call for all catholics churches to be shut down if they were near a school. In fact why didn't they shut down all catholic schools. By their standard all priests maybe all catholics are guilty of pedophillia


john devereux   August 19th, 2010 9:17 am ET

it should not be built near ground zero site. Muslims and the developer should be sensitive to these grounds and not make this request. It is very wrong to make the request to now have a mosque in this area.
I recall the news scenes from around the world after 9/11 will Muslims celebrating in the streets all over the Muslim world – not Taliban just general crowds in big cities like Cairo –

You should review the films look at the happy Muslim faces – get real face true facts of this conflict – no mosque


Richard Freethinker   August 19th, 2010 9:32 am ET

Russell Simmons and I gather only about 32% of Americans still get it.  This is the new McCarthyism. 

The argument, as are so many subscribed to by so many Americans struggling to find their way in a globalizing world, is based on a lie: that American Muslims were responsible for 9/11, and al Quaeda's sociopathic psychosis is based in Islam. 

The despicable attempt to substitute this bogus argument for the anti-American bigotry it attempts to mask is the absolute height of hypocrisy. No one who truly understands the foundational American principles-and certainly no one who claims to embody the compassion of Christ-can reasonably assert there is any reason at all not to build the Park 51 Community Center exactly as planned. 

In light of the deep-rooted racial bigotry it lays bare I now feel it's more important than ever that they do so. 

Let your fellow Americans worship the god of Muslims, Jews and Christians as they wish, wherever they wish. It's the American thing to do. Anyone who feels differently requires long hard self reflection. You are detouring into hatred and prejudice: discrimination by association. 

After recovery, and I sincerely pray for a swift one, those who opposed this will be as embarrassed as I am at the depths to which the United States has fallen. 


Eddie C.   August 19th, 2010 9:40 am ET

This is all so silly and childish! Equal rights is for everyone! Not every muslim is a terrorist! Not ever American is christian!! It shouldn't disturb anybody who's brain is working properly.....


Judy   August 19th, 2010 10:12 am ET

President Obama should not have voiced his opinion on the proposed Mosque near Ground Zero, period. Whats done is done.

As the saying goes "fool me once, shame on me" (Pearl Harbor), "fool me twice shame on me" ( Sept 11 )

We are debating ...this because we do not want to look like idiots to the rest of the world should their be another attack. "How come no one was watching the store" Yes Americans want to look like good guys and help the people of Afganistan and this is the thanks we get?

Every LEGAL AMERICAN has their right however, where does RESPECT and HONOR come in? It is as if "who cares 3,000+ people died in 9/11 plus countless FIRST RESPONDERS who are not able to get the health care they DESERVE. Whats done is done and we move on ? yes however, we need to RESPECT and HONOR our fallen AMERICAN brothers (and sisters) ALWAYS AND FOREVER.

In this situation, there are those individuals who are worried about "their rights" and not about the rights of those who gave their lives for THIS COUNTRY. The developers of the Mosque are stating "how dare you challenge my choice of location?" We have a right to CHALLENGE everything dealing with our SAFETY.

If you are in AMERICA and want to stay, HONOR OUR FALLEN AMERICAN HEROES AND THOSE WHO SERVE TODAY so we can ALL have the freedoms our ancestors have fought so hard for all these years. See More


Judy   August 19th, 2010 10:14 am ET

**Correction**

President Obama should not have voiced his opinion on the proposed Mosque near Ground Zero, period. Whats done is done.

As the saying goes "fool me once, shame on you" (Pearl Harbor), "fool me twice shame on me" ( Sept 11 )

We are debating ...this because we do not want to look like idiots to the rest of the world should their be another attack. "How come no one was watching the store"

Every LEGAL AMERICAN has their right however, where does RESPECT and HONOR come in? It is as if "who cares 3,000+ people died in 9/11 plus countless FIRST RESPONDERS who are not able to get the health care they DESERVE. Whats done is done and we move on ? yes however, we need to RESPECT and HONOR our fallen AMERICAN brothers (and sisters) ALWAYS AND FOREVER.

In this situation, there are those individuals who are worried about "their rights" and not about the rights of those who gave their lives for THIS COUNTRY. The developers of the Mosque are stating "how dare you challenge my choice of location?" We have a right to CHALLENGE everything dealing with our SAFETY.

If you are in AMERICA and want to stay, HONOR OUR FALLEN AMERICAN HEROES AND THOSE WHO SERVE TODAY so we can ALL have the freedoms our ancestors have fought so hard for all these years.


Rose   August 19th, 2010 11:36 am ET

Thank you to Russell Simmons for speaking up. He and Pres. Obama are correct in their approach.

The bizzare nature of the protests against the Muslim interfaith center shows confusion and ignorance on behalf of the protestors. Firstly, the protest is against the location. Asking Americans who are Muslims to change locations for this development due to "sensitivities" – yet there is NO mention by protestors that Americans are responsible for hundreds of thousands of Muslim deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. What about Muslim sensitivities about that?

Perhaps Muslims deaths do not count, as only Americans are deemed "sensitive". How hypocritical to further victimize Muslims concerning this center now.

Many Muslims died on 9/11 and many Muslims were first responders to help in New York and were appalled by the attacks.

Secondly, as noted by a guest on LKL's show last night, prostitution and drugs are present near ground zero and nothing is said, but members of a particular religion (Islam) who had nothing to do with 9/11 and are conducting themselves in a legal manner, are protested against over a property location.

Thirdly, the personal attacks against the Imam who is organizing the Center is unacceptable. "If" all the claims made against Imam Rauf are supposedly true, then moving the Centre to another location would not address those alleged issues. So what attitude is really being reflected here with this tactic?

Are protestors willing to subject all religious leaders in the US of their beliefs or positions before "approving" them to build? If this is the case, then they are in store for a nightmare from positions held by many religious right wing Christians in the US.

Reality Check: Based on lies, WE bombed the daylights out of two Muslim countries that were NOT responsible for 9/11 as nations. Killed Muslim men, women and children. Made orphans, maimed and blinded others – due to years of our aggression. And now protestors are "sensitive" about the location of the Muslim center?!? This is skewed and ignorant. After Islam, who is next on the list for victimization in the Land of the Free?


Rose   August 19th, 2010 12:15 pm ET

@ Richard

You stated: "Russell – I guess that you are for the keeping of the confederate flag flying. After all what's the difference between that & building a mosque at ground zero. Maybe we should let the Japanese build a temple at Pearl Harbor or have an American Shrine built at Hiroshima."

In case you forgot, we forced innocent Japanese American citizens into internment camps in the US during WWII – simply for being of Japanese heritage after the Pearl Harbor attack. They suffered great hardships for this and had nothing to do with Japan's actions.

Muslims as a faith community had nothing to do with 9/11. 19 crazed radical individuals attacked on 9/11 – what does that have to do with the other 1.5 billion Muslims or to building near ground zero? This is clearly illogical and rooted in prejudice, if not stupidity.


Rose   August 19th, 2010 1:43 pm ET

For the sake of justice, all right wing churches in the US who promote the oppression and murder of Palestinians via their support of Israel should be condemned. Their support is based on religious beliefs.

Starting from Pastor John Hagee in Texas onward, these Christian groups raise millions of dollars for the Zionist regime. They lobby in Washington and affect our foreign policy. Through their efforts, a very blind eye is turned to Palestinian suffering. Their warped understanding concerning the second coming of Jesus and the "Rapture" and other religious fantasies have resulted in the blind support of criminal acts by Israel.

No peace loving, just American should tolerate the grotesque mixture of religion and politics as is evident in these right wing Christian movements. Yet these substantial groups thrive, have their own TV shows, own colleges, tax free status, visit with top government officials and receive millions of dollars in donations.

One of them, Pat Robertson, even attempted to run for President. Robertson who deemed the dictator Charles Taylor of Liberia "a good Baptist" and worthy of support by the US – conveniently omitted that Taylor was committing war crimes and crimes against humanity – for which he is on trial now at The Hague.

And yes, these right wing churches are free to build wherever they want in the US with no concern about their decades long support for the brutal Zionist regime. A double standard here which does not go unnoticed.


Rose   August 19th, 2010 2:41 pm ET

@ Jean, Toronto

Your understanding of religion confirms you know as little about the history of Christianity as you do about Islam. The Bible is full of violence, torture, executions and crimes punishable by death. It is the intent to get into a discussion about religion here, but to state that those making comments appear to know very little about world faiths or history.

Islam is being measured by certain actions occuring in the world now. If we went back a few centuries imagine how bad Christianity looked. How many people, scientists were burnt alive, the extreme reactions against anyone outside their fold? Should Christianity be measured by behavior at that stage? In fairness – no.

When the Inquistion occured in Spain, where did the Spanish Jews flea to for safety? Into the Muslim Empire, certainly not Christian Europe. Under Muslim rule, Baghdad was the centre of Jewish learning, not oppression. What did the much advanced Islamic civilization look like compared to the barbarism of Christian actions? Everything has its time, context and application according to circumstances. Are things wrong in the Muslim world now – yes.

For clarity, on your biased Sunday school rant concerning your religious "truths" I suggest you look into the origins of Christianity in "Mithraism", centuries before his attributes were codified by Constantine. Jesus was based on Mithras (who pre-dates Jesus by centuries). Mithras the virgin born, son of god who rose from the dead, to die for the sins of mankind, had 12 disciples. Sound familiar? Perhaps it's best to confine one's discussion of issues to logic, rather than easily dispelled myths. You are entitled to your beliefs, but it is not a basis for superiority or sound agrument.


lilia dove   August 19th, 2010 2:42 pm ET

I am responding to imran khan-Muslin from Pakistan offerring us two choices- his mosque or a strip joint. I am greatly offended. I feel there are other choices to explore. Funny, though he is comparing the mosque with another building that is devoid of human value!


Eugene Solot   August 19th, 2010 3:09 pm ET

Islamic acts of terror are equated to Timothy McVeigh's bombing in Oklahoma City. Is there anything in McVeigh's life to suggest he shouted for Jesus when he set off the bomb?

Representative Ellison said he took his oath of office on the Thomas Jefferson Koran, so I got curious as to why Thomas Jefferson had a Koran. He got an English translation of the Koran which is in two volumes published in England and still considered a good translation, so he would understand how Muslims think so he could deal with the Barbary Pirates.

If Thomas Jefferson had the wisdom to consult the Koran why do our politicians and experts turn to Muslim Scholars for answers, why not the read the Koran? Why not at least consult Coptic Christians or Ex-Muslims who speak Arabic and who would give a different perspective? I was state that the Imam who is building the mosque does not condemn Hamas. Why not read some points from the Hamas Charter showing what they stand for and if you do you will find out they not only stand for the destruction of Israel but the spreading of Jihad worldwide.

Even if only 10% of Muslims were terrorists that would be 10 million twice the number of Jews in Israel who managed to defeat a force many times stronger than them and the terrorists who are continuously fighting wars keep getting better at it whereas the moderate Muslims have little affect on stopping them. If Muslims really want to protect themselves they should rise up as one against the Jihadists and bring real peace to the world and to Islam.


Dodie   August 19th, 2010 4:09 pm ET

@Jean, Toronto
@Gloria Johnsen
@LacrosseMom(the real one)
@Lynne Edwards
@ et.alia.

Whether Muslims acculturate or not is irrelevant. Whether another country decides to be bigoted or prejudiced towards a specific religion is irrelevant. What is relevant is how we, Americans, decide to treat a specific group of individuals. Accepting our constitution certain times when we agree with it and then denying it at other times because we disagree, is like a load of dirty laundry…. It just does Not wash well for me.

The Muslims have every right to build their mosque exactly where they want, which is on private land. Remember, Muslims died in 9/11 and were also victims. Not allowing these people to build a Mosque is sending a clear message to the world that we as a country have lost our freedoms and entrenched in fear and anger.

@IKHAN

Well stated! Always appreciate reading your intelligent and well articulated posts


Cajazz76:24:8   August 19th, 2010 9:54 pm ET

Congress shall assert by law the establishment of a single religion, and prohibit the free exercise of all others, and abridge the freedom of speech, and that of the press, and the right of people to assemble, except the Omnipotent Conservative Christian extremists, and only they can petition the Government, of their making, for a redress of grievances, and quell any and all in opposition to their destruction of this nation...under their Indolent and Obedient God..that reverently serves them....


husker55   August 20th, 2010 12:27 am ET

Being a Muslim is not a religon. It is a political doctrine.

Also, the head muslim said that 911 and the hurt felt by Americans never entered their decision making process.

Both of those came from CNN


Ingrid from Germany   August 20th, 2010 5:14 am ET

I am a Mother and Grandmother, I have lived in the United States and Germany, and I have traveled as a tourist in Egypt, Israel, Libya, Marocco
I would like to make a few coments on this situation.
First of all, I will always be grateful to the United States and their allies, that they freed me from "Adolf" and his diciples, and that I was able to grow up in democracy, freedom and human rights! Always remember,
Dictators, tyrants ect. in governments and religions are all carved out of the same wood.
Now we are facing in Europe and the USA with this Islam situation a stone age dictatorship, trying to overrun us, while naiv, ignorant, corrupt polititians and liberals are opening the floodgates.
I can`t belive this is happening, is that the future we want for our children?! Islam is not compatible with freedom , human rights and democracy.
Our democratic constitutions on both sides of the ocean are not going to be worth the paper they are written on, if this doctrine is going to prevail. Islam denies the equal human rights to half of its own population, the women!!
I have an unanswered question. Since they consider women as worthless and second grade humans, how do the men rate themselfs, since they were carried, given life to ,nourished and protected by women !!!


jjalltheway   August 20th, 2010 7:53 am ET

The Muslims are VERY excited over this, it is THEY who brought this forth NOT the Republicans or whichever Americans RUSSELL SIMMONS wants to blame.
Can you imagine the lot of them cheering for the lawful right America gives them? SIC
The TERRORISTS are winning, just like the Lockerbie Bomber. Keep it up you leftist Americans, you're letting them win.
The Muslim TERRORISTS say..."RUSSELL, RUSSELL, he's our man, all other AMERICANS belong in the garbage can – Or better yet, dead along with the others at GROUND ZERO."


jjalltheway   August 20th, 2010 7:59 am ET

The New York Ground Zero Mosque/Community Center = the future Mecca in America. A place where Muslim Terrorists go to "pray" for the demise of America and ALL other religions.


lilia dove   August 20th, 2010 11:08 am ET

I was preparing my son his breakfast as he was getting ready to be off to school. My t.v. was on but the sound was low when the first plane entered into the tower I thought it was movie by Arnold Scheinnieger the actor and it bothered me because I do not like movies on terrorisim in fact I hate them, so I ignored the rest of what was showing on tv and left to drive my son to school. After dropping him off I turned the radio on and that's when I realized that it was no movie preview, that was real evil of the first kind. I felt a heart attack coming on I pulled over and prayed that attack away. The evil done that day has surpassed any movie on that kind of terrorism. Movies do not show greatgrandmothers and their grandchildren jumping for joy as news cameras are filming them. This people have no heart to speak of and you have to give your soul to evil to jump for joy at evil being done. As far as I am concern this act with this mosgue is a series act of the past. This act in my humble opinion is of just plain evil. And for you to even think I would allow my children or grandchildren to enter for a swim you must be out of your mind! Haven't you shed enough blood back in your country or are you still so land hungry. Would we allow the Cartell to disrespect us this way just because they have the right or a few bucks to throw at our faces. I do not shrink in fear over them I 'm just a prisoner of hope in believing that when it is all said and done we will do what we know in our hearts is the right thing to do and not do!


IKHAN   August 20th, 2010 1:30 pm ET

HI Larry,
if there was ever a political doctorine guised in trappings of religion it is the Vatican.
Their history full of intrigues, accumulation of wealth, corruption, ruthless lust for power & treasure is worthy of any 'empire'. Their reach & power over those they rule by tactics worthy of any political strategist, is uncanny. Cloaked in utmost secrecy.
A blogger interestingly suggested banning all churches from the vicinity of schools for fear of child abuse.

The leader of this Islamic Community Center in Lower Manhattan is a well known inter-faith activist who closely worked with the Bush administration.

@husker55

I am so surprised that it didn't hurt us Americans one bit when Mr. Benjamin Natanyahu declared:
" 9/11 has been very good for Israel"
" We are benefiting from attacks on Twin Towers,Pentagon & America struggling in Iraq" Israeli news paper Haa'retz. April 2008.
The same person declared in a private meeting in 2001.
'I deceived White House on Oslao accord"
"I know America. Its a thing that can be moved in any direction" Haa'retz.


anthony   August 20th, 2010 5:37 pm ET

Russell Simmons,if you think building a mosque at the ground zero,and this is the appropriate time to bring it up.You're actions clearly does not say much about your intentions and your faith in the islam..Any person of faith has great empathy and consideration for victims on both sides.Goes without saying.but your action indicates the actions of a REPUBLICAN.Selfish,and what is in it for me and my followers....A very,very,sad situation,and You're not a positive infulence for Islam.You know the answer before the words even come out of your mouth.......NO!NO!and NO! Really don't fault the people,but you.People in your position should know better.Wouldn't you agree


IKHAN   August 20th, 2010 6:03 pm ET

Hi Larry,

media should now take on the responsibility of putting this non-issue to rest.
This is a tactic to divert attention from real issues like, unemployment, economy, the wars and myriad others facing this nation.

@jjalltheway & @ lilia dove
hatred wrapped up in ignorance nibbles away at the heart until just a husk remains.
I know a Muslim family whose only son a banker with a wife a few months pregnant wife left for work that day & perished in the attack. They are grieving to this day & there were many other Muslims.
While those buildings were burning on a nearby rooftop Israelis were dancing in glee & filming the horror as if they knew what was to happen. And there prime minister of now declared in 2008 that "9/11 has been very good for Israel"
Then we invaded Iraq & tens of thousand Iraqis died. Muslims are dying in Afghanistan fighting along side our soldiers.
The evil done on 9/11 was indeed one of the worst. But to this day we do not know for sure who committed this crime.


JAY R BARRY   August 20th, 2010 6:33 pm ET

LET THEM BUILD IT,,,,,,,,3MILES AWAY,,,,,,,,,OR FARTHER,,,,,,,DA END;


Isa   August 20th, 2010 11:21 pm ET

I have read the Quran in Arabic, and I have found passages in it clearly attacking non-believers and promoting jihad against them. I am not so sure that having an islamic center that entails reading and possible exploration of such Quranic passages is safe for our democratic and highly valued human right society, especially right next to Ground Zero!


Christina (PA)   August 21st, 2010 10:55 pm ET

My first thought is to wonder why it is so important for the Ground Zero mosque developer(s) to build in the location which has ignited such a debate. Maybe he (or they) should pray over the "wisdom" of this plan.

However, as a Christian, Roman Catholic specifically, the liturgy for this week was a reminder of Jesus' 2 most important commandments to us: 1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul; and 2) Love your neighbor as you love yourself....sacrificially (as said by our priest).

Meaning, I think; we can't guess or imagine what the real intentions might be behind the developer's desire to build a Ground Zero mosque - they may've told us the truth or they may not have told us.

It may drive us crazy one way or another and we may feel highly insulted or put upon - or even slapped in the face - My husband was a FDNY firefighter who responded to Ground Zero on 9/11/01, and I know that's how I initially felt when I heard about this story.

But I am a Christian even before I'm an American. As a Christian I know that it's easy to love the people you want to love. But we're called to love everyone, even the ones we don't want to love. That's the hard part of being a Christian, but it's what I strive to do. Whatever the outcome of this controversial subjest, I pray that God's Will be done.


Ryan   August 31st, 2010 2:59 pm ET

Personally, I am mostly against the building of a mosque so close to Ground Zero. To me it would be a slap in the face from those extremists and could possibly act as propaganda for those radicals who use.

At the same time, I do truly believe in the 1st amendment of our country. So I do apologize to the true Islamic people. Even they should realize what the building could represent for the corrupt.

I am not defined to one religion. I believe in many religions and in ONE GOD. So I honestly wish The World would rid themselves of religion and join together as ONE, under one god... Only then can PEACE be assured... And temples can be built...................


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