The GZM Mosque

This debate went from near-zero to 60 this week, an it will no doubt be a subject of highly contentious back-and-forth for as long as the plan is still on the drawing boards. Yesterday Mayor Bloomberg added to his long list of inane statements on the subject with this mother-of-all-straw-men arguments: “People say, ‘Well, you know, do they have the money? Can they raise the money? Where does it come from?’ I don’t know,” said the mayor, a staunch defender of the proposed center, on his weekly radio show. “Do you really want every time they pass the basket in your church and you throw a buck in, they run over and say, ‘OK, now, you know, where do you come from? Who are your parents? Where did you get this money?’ No,” he said. “A handful of people,” he concluded, “ought to be ashamed of themselves.” So, what do you think? Will the effort to stop the mosque be as successful as other battlefield preservation efforts outside of Manassas, Antietam, Gettysburg and Valley Forge? Or will Mayor Bloomberg and the false arguments about what land use authroties can and cannot do in light of the Free Exercise Clause triumph?


  1. Andrew Jones says

    I wonder which will be finished first, the Cordoba Mosque or the Freedom Tower? I wonder what that has to say about the cultural struggle featured here.

  2. Thomas says

    The mosque will be built. There’s probably discrimination going on, but it’s in favor of the mosque, not against it. A big-box retailer that wanted to build on the site would likely be refused by the various commissions that have signed off on the mosque and would probably also be lectured by the mayor about the impropriety of wanting to put a prominent commercial enterprise so close to hallowed ground.

    However, the powers that be in NYC fully realize that allowing the mosque to go forward sends a message, and they like the message that they think they are sending–that we’re a tolerant nation (this is what motivates some to want to close Gitmo). Charles Krauthammer is right, however–it displays appalling weakness and will provide much encouragement to the people we’re fighting against. People will probably die as a result, maybe even thousands more.

    • Justin Flavin says

      On a certain level, I’m with Bloomberg – i always have viewed NYC as the capital of the entire world, and not part of “America” per se. It’s more of a gateway to America, reflecting it’s tradition of being the first port of call for millions of immigrants to the Land of the Free.

      In that regard, Bloomberg is reflecting New York attitudes – not the wider American attitudes.

      Therefore politically in New York, he’s fine.

      But on another level, I’m with Krauthammer – he can think beyond the confines of the New York citystate, and see the wider and more long term consequences of such decisions.

      They are both right – and such is the conundrum. Do we allow freedom even when that freedom encourages an ideology that wants to remove our freedoms? Its a centuries old contradiction that is at the heart of all philosophies that support the free market. And to be honest, I don’t have an answer for this. And I don’t think anyone has.

      • Witty Username says

        I’m not sure I understand your point, if NYC reflects the make up of America, then surely by that logic it’s very much the ‘capitol of the US’.

        I didn’t like what President Obama said regarding his support, but I wasn’t sure what else he could have done, a real rock and a hard place. It will likely cost him with the voters though.

  3. esintheus says

    I’m torn with this issue. Emotionally, of course I don’t want the mosque built, or anything else that would cheapen the WTC site. Obviously most people think that a mosque is exploitative when it’s only two blocks away, but would they also say that about a church or synagogue two blocks away? I’m not so sure.

    • Justin Flavin says

      torn here too. it a darn tough one. definitely with you on that. freedom of religion is sacrosanct. it is one of the founding principles of America. heck, religion is so utterly free in America that the Amish are allowed to live in the 18th century, and the Mormons can pretty much rule Utah. Not to mention stuff like the “Nation of Islam” or Reverand Wrights church.

      However it is notable that on every level American Muslims are vastly more integrated into American society than their equivalents in say France or Britain. The very freedom that America has actually forces them to integrate and participate in the great American melting pot.

      The difference between them and their Muslim cousins in France and Britain is utterly stark and we all know the reason for this. Welfare, endless socialism, and state sponsorship and interference in religion.

      • Justin Flavin says

        no offence to Mormons intended. just giving it out as an example. my words are perhaps wrong, and you don’t “rule” Utah. but you get my drift – they are allowed to form communities and run their lives free from persecution. Which is what matters. That’s all i’m pointing out.

        • esintheus says

          I’m not sure I would go that far. A mosque being built right across the street from ground zero would be unacceptable for nearly everybody.

          Bill Kristol was completely right on Fox News Sunday. Every effort by citizens should be taken to stop the building of the Mosque. Using political pressure to stop or encourage the building can only hurt the lobbying party. I’m flabbergasted that Obama made such a direct comment about it.

          On Friday Hugh had Karl Rove who spent some of his time arguing that the Mosque shouldn’t be build because of the founder’s comments shortly after 9/11, the source of the money, the possibility that the Mosque would be extremist in nature, etc, all national security concerns. While I agree, it would seem dishonest to want the mosque to not be built on national security concerns, then use the Hallow Ground argument as a means to achieve it.

          Hugh’s last two questions to Jonathan Chait are where this debate really stands:

          Would it be lawful and moral to deem no religious sites within half a mile of ground zero?

          Would it be lawful and moral to deem no building of a mosque by a known terrorist sympathizer?

  4. Justin Flavin says

    The more I think about this , and the more I read about it , the more I think it’s actually one big enormous trolling operation.

    A kind of Troll Jihad.

    Think about it – what better way to have Americans at each others throats than to propose something like this?

    Then stand back and watch the fireworks. And in any case, I’ve read elsewhere that the deal on the land hasn’t even been completed – they don’t own the site yet. Considering the vagaries and sheer oddness of the proposal – such as the land deal not being completed, the President coming out in support ( when it really is just a New York zoning issue..) , and the very Imam behind the idea being funded by the State Department to swan around the Middle East , and for good measure , the name “Cordoba” being used , then it seems to add up to a classic trolling operation.

    It won’t get built – the land deal won’t go through or the construction unions will object. But the antagonism caused is perhaps the raison d’atre behind it – have American against American over this.

    Just a theory that i’m throwing out there.

  5. Justin Flavin says

    By the way, I back my “troll operation” idea on two observations – HotAir has dropped the Ground Zero mosque discussion. Ed Morrissey has obviously cottoned onto it – it’s BAIT. designed to make the right look like … well it obvious. Insert your usual left wing epithete here – racist, bigot, blah blah blah.

    Then I also observed on – which is supposedly atheist and anti-religious normally, all coming out in support of the Mosque. As if it were a co-ordinated left wing campaign to make objections to it seem as if they are in the minority.

    Here’s one example – and there are many others on that site:

    It’s a troll operation. Just in time for the months leading up to the November election. Be very very aware of this – the left have done this numerous times in the run up to British elections. It’s the exact same tactic.

    If you are a serious conservative and want victory in November, my honest advice is to avoid this issue.
    Don’t go onto a battlefield declared by the left – make your own battlefield.

    • Thomas says

      This is a possibility–Tony Blankley outlines a similar fictitious scenario in the opening of his book, “The West’s Last Chance.” However, I wouldn’t say this is a battlefield chosen by the left. The primary beneficiary would be the imam. If the project is trashed, he can be the wounded party, slain by American religious bigotry. If it succeeds, he gets his mosque. For the left, this appears to offer much downside with very little gain. The timing appears to hurt people who defend the project more than those who criticize it.

  6. Nathan Orien says

    The president certainly has a periodic problem of putting his plump foot in his mouth. I would think he would have hired competent handlers / a new teleprompter by now.

    Despite current distractions, here’s a parody on what the Dems have planned for the Christmas season and what Obama can expect to get from St. Nick in return.

    President Obama – Naughty or Nice?

    In preparation for the upcoming season, it has been reported that Santa Claus, with a hint of irony and for a pretty penny, has already contracted out the delivery of President Obama’s Christmas…er…that is, Holiday present – a 200-ton lump of coal – to a locally-owned, green (literally), carbon-neutral, environmentally-friendly, sustainable, eco-sensitive, tree-hugging, earth-loving, non-profit, bi-partisan, non-denominational, dedicated to corporate social responsibility and zero-waste management strategies, fiscally-transparent moving company. The company prides itself on using 100% renewable energy sources, including ecologically-sound, free-range grains in its light footprint biofuels, as well as hybrid solar and wind-assisted new-age soft energy generation technologies. The company also maintains a strict, zero-tolerance policy for road kills, especially not lame ducks with cap and trade legislation written all over their bills.

    Despite the current trauma and drama over the ongoing war, the healthcare bill, deficit spending, the oil spill, homosexual marriage, the Ground Zero mosque, illegal immigration, and Mrs. Obama’s expensive, taxpayer-funded vacation, the passing of cap and trade legislation, which will adversely affect nearly every business in the already-struggling economy, may very well be the biggest shocker of the year after the November elections are over and the Democrats find themselves without a House and with an unfinished environmental to-do list. At least the President will be warm, even if he’s been naughty. And Al Gore will finally put down his laser pointer and rest.

  7. bruce McCallum says

    I oppose the building of a mosque near the WTC. However, as J. Alter pointed out, local authorities (Community Board 1) voted 29-1 for the project, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 9-1 that it was not a landmark, and the Community Board’s Financial District Committee voted unanimously for the project. As someone familiar with RLUIPA, it would be hard to show _now_ a compelling government interest or least restrictive means of achieving government’s interest. If the Cordova Mosque went to court, they would win a RLUIPA judgment. I have seen local government decisions against a far smaller Greek Orthodox church reversed by Federal Court. Here, local government has given approval. If an entity with legal authority could stop them, they would have by now. Hugh should make this point as a lawyer and teacher of the law.

  8. Justin Flavin says

    cbs news right now just had an iranian american saying something along the lines of “why shouldnt we build that mosque? – thats like preventing a church because of Timothy McVeigh”

    yeah. and timothy mcveigh blew up that building in the name of christianity, while shouting “jesus is great”. thanks CBS. never knew that.