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Chan Lowe: The mosque at Ground Zero


This is such a sensitive topic, with honest feelings on all sides, that it’s easy to appreciate everyone’s point of view.

If we are ever going to move past the controversy (now legally, if not emotionally, resolved for the time being) over the mosque located near Ground Zero, we will have to cut through the blinding fog of hurt, anger and fear engendered by the 9/11 attack.

First, it will take a leap of clear thinking on the part of some of us, but we should not confuse the religion of Islam with the motivations of the 9/11 terrorists. To hold all Muslims responsible for the attack on the twin towers is no different from holding all Roman Catholics responsible for the terrorist acts of the Irish Republican Army in Ulster.

Second, those who will build this mosque are Americans. As Americans, they feel the hurt and anger just as deeply as the rest of us. There is an argument that American Muslims, in addition, feel a sense of betrayal that a belief system they cherish was perverted and used as an excuse for an inexcusable act of violence. We must not forget that there were innocent Muslim victims, as well, in the towers when they were hit.

Maybe it’s best to approach this as a test of our will as a people. We can never prevent all terrorist attacks, but we can prevent a terrorist victory by exercising our own strength of character. Let the mosque be built, and let us embrace it. By doing so, we will show the world that we refuse to give up the principles of freedom upon which this nation was based, even in the face of direct attack.

Other peoples will take notice, and the terrorists, while having achieved a tactical objective nine years ago, will have lost the war.

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I hope that Sarah Palin reads your insightful commentary, Chan. I fear she won't.

T: Sarah palin doesn't read. LOL.

Hey Antidope,

I refudiate that!
Sarah P.

Why don't they "embrace" AMERICA's pain and instead build something that promotes peace and healing? Clearly, proceeding with that project does not. What does that tell you about the way THEY feel about US?! I for one, will NEVER "embrace" this or ANY OTHER mosque.

learn tolerance, teach respect, embrace diversity, kill them with kindness and love, not smartbombs

well said, Chan, well said

I am one of many Americans that are not willing to "turn the other cheek" —while the war against Islamic terror is ongoing. I suspect any manner of official Islamic presence at Ground Zero, no matter how at odds with the fundamentalist view of Islam, would be considered a great victory by the terrorists.
Cultural sensitivity with regards to Muslims is very one-sided. Much of the Middle East is openly hostile to non-Islamics and Saudi Arabia bans the construction of churches completely. If so-called moderate Muslims were as engaged in changing such attitudes in the Muslim world as they are in the United States, they might get a better reception from the average American. Americans might even be more open-minded if there were evidence of wholesale rejection of Islamo-fascism by moderate Muslims. But there is not.

Americans have demonstrated enormous restraint with regard to Islam, in spite of failed attempts that would have tested the limits of that restraint. What if Northwest Flight 253 had been blown to bits by the underwear bomber or Times Square was littered with bodies? Would there still be support for building a mosque at Ground Zero?

And where is the Cordoba Initiative getting its funding? While an investigation of their funding might be inappropriate (or even illegal) in peacetime, during wartime anything which has the potential to advance the jihadist agenda within the United States should be scrutinized. The "money trail" would be the best indication of the real motives behind building a mosque at Ground Zero. If the funding is from non-terrorists sources, then at a minimum it would help legitimize the contentions of the Cordoba Initiative. On the other hand, what if it came from terrorist sympathizers or terrorists organizations?

If the Cordoba Initiative is on the up-and-up, they would welcome the opportunity to demonstrate their funding is completely legitimate. Unfortunately, such an investigation would likely be characterized as a "witch hunt" by liberals.

very good cartoon...i just don't think the muslim call to prayer should be heard anywhere around ground zero. i might be persuaded that islam is tolerant if they allowed even one church or synagogue to be built in mecca or medina. a non muslim cannot even go to mecca.

just imagine what the backlash would be if there was any type of attempt to build any kind of church or (allah forbid) a synagogue there.

how about this...let's rebuild the WTC before we build a mosque. It only took 5 years to build the Hoover Dam...and that was in the 30's...why is ground zero still a hole in the ground? Build 2 shining towers!

As I understand it, the Cordoba House will be a cultural center with a prayer room. Not a single-purpose house of worship for Muslims. Nor will there be "calls to prayer" blaring out onto Park Place.
If building a Islamic center helps our economy by getting our construction workers jobs, I say "Amen"......

It is not a coincidence that this was the first time since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb that an American representative attended the anniversary ceremonies. This mosque issue has many arguments, but the one that should be above them all are the concerns of the 9/11 families.

I don't know what I should say here, but rather then try to defend the muslims or oppose them should we not try to listen to what they have to say? To them Mecca and Medina is a holy land. And America, which is the land of freedom and the home of the brave, is not. For that reason they build Mosques here, so that they may have a place to feel at one with Allah, rather than only in the comfort of their homes.
Also they are also not asking you to " turn the other cheek" but to get to know them. Yes it is true their some of "their people" commit violent acts in the name of their lord, but their lord would never give heed to such attacks. If you meet a muslim try not to look at them only as muslims, but as a human being, just like you and get to know them in that sense.

Most of the yahoos who oppose the mosque think that they are building something with minarets right on the site of Ground Zero.

It's actually a couple of blocks away -- which in densely, densely packed lower Manahattan might as well be miles away -- and is in an old Burlington Coat Factory store that will look the same from outside.

Intolerance reigns supreme.

I am embarrassed for my country -- which my ancestors founded after coming over from England to escape religious intolerance in the 1600s.

This will be a community center in the midst of strip clubs, bars and off-track betting establishments. This will not be at ground zero but a few blocks away. How far is far enough?
How we expect other countries to follow our lead and have true freedom of religion when we just pick and choose the constitutional phrase that fits our point is wrong. Aside from the fact that giving up our constitutional freedoms is itself unconstitutional; if we give up our freedoms the terrorist win.

There are many places where you cannot erect a place of worship. They are zoned for other things. We don't accuse those communities of violating the freedom of religion. We build it somewhere else. If the Muslim community cares so much about the community they want to erect their Mosque, then why are they willing to offend that community and millions of people across the nation? Makes you wonder if building that Mosque so close to ground zero is sending another message. Sadly the terrorists and terrorist sympathizers will view it as a victory monument.

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How could I have missed this blog! Its incredible. Your design is flawless, like you know exactly what to do to do make people flock to your page! I also like the perspective you brought to this subject. Its like you have an insight that most people havent seen before. So great to read a blog like this.

Cultural sensitivity with regards to Muslims is very one-sided. Much of the Middle East is openly hostile to non-Islamics and Saudi Arabia bans the construction of churches completely.

It is not a coincidence that this was the first time since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb that an American representative attended the anniversary ceremonies. This mosque issue has many arguments, but the one that should be above them all are the concerns of the 9/11 families.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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