Volume 23, Number 9 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 9 - 15, 2010
“Contrary to popular opinion, Muslims and mosques okay in Downtown” (Posted, July 2nd)
If an article is to be written claiming the Koran does not exhort violence then to write one in an erudite manner is necessary. People should quote the Koran. This argument over the Mosque being built is of such weight. Only an erudite article that contains educated research and also a human face is of any value. This article above is unfortunately naive and falls very short of really portraying the situation. Please do research then write an article. Then, a healthy, civilized and educated response from the community may be achieved. And I do take issue with some of the content. Community centers do not have prayer rooms. If this is an interfaith community center then make certain there are prayer rooms for each religion. The center being built is a very upscale mosque. You can cover it with a swimming pool and such but it is in essence a mosque. So call it what it is. Your last paragraph about how the emotional damage is done is rather distasteful. Everyone has emotional damage from 9/11. I too live here and I too am a survivor. I am not Muslim. Everyone suffered and still suffers. So please, no Op-Eds.
I normally don’t dignify ignorant comments with a response but in this case I cannot help but respond to Mr. Lyons’ comment. First off, just like anyone in this great country of ours, he is entitled to fully express his opinion even if it’s ignorant and offensive. Having said that, it’s our responsibility as a community to reject that ignorance. As we celebrate the July 4th holiday, lets remember that our country is built atop a foundation of values — freedom, justice and tolerance. Those that seek to erode those values are more dangerous to our great way of life than any external force.
Re: Daniel Lyons. You are in no position to foreshadow that extremism will be the theme of the new community center. Muslims are not the people responsible for the 9/11 attack; extremists are. Jews, Christians and Catholics commit crimes daily, but their religion is not relevant and shouldn’t be relevant in the case of any human being. Criminals are criminals. Categorizing them will unfairly misrepresent the majority of the population. Furthermore, this is the United States of America. Tolerance is the sole reason we are the most successful nation on the planet, and intolerance is an act of terrorism beyond any other.
Mr. Lyons is right that this article reads more like an Op-Ed than an impartial news report, but that’s where my agreement with him ends. This is an Op-Ed that needed to be written. I’ve lived Downtown, across the street from the World Trade Center, for over 30 years. I fully lived the 9/11 horror up close and was displaced from my home for over a year. I see nothing offensive about the Cordoba House becoming part of our neighborhood. I and most of the neighbors I’ve spoken to are pained and embarrassed by what we perceive to be the xenophobic and hateful tone of those, mostly from outside the neighborhood, who are trying to prevent our Muslim neighbors from creating a community and religious center and the rest of us from enjoying a cultural asset. The synergy of diverse groups of people living close to one another helped make New York a great world capital. If the fear-mongering attitudes of Cordoba’s opponents win the day, our fate will be that of a much poorer and more provincial backwater.
Bad reporting. It’s a mosque, and Rauf’s wife Daisy Khan said so at the Community Board meeting. Comparisons to the 92nd Street Y are meaningless since the Y has no prayer rooms. While there are many peaceful Muslims, a mosque at Ground Zero is stealth jihad, and the Cordoba group should find a less offensive location for it.
“Poll shows NY resistance to mosque” (Posted, July 2nd)
Quinnipiac University — a nice upper-middle class school in Connecticut. I have never quite understood why they don’t spend more time worrying about their own bailiwick. I also wonder why we bother paying attention to such polling data. But I do think there is perhaps a point to all this: we might close down all of the religious shrines in and about the World Trade Center — Islamic, Jewish, Papist, Anglican, what have you — saying with Lucretius, “Religion has the power to persuade men to evil,” regardless of “brand.”
“Art vendors take the heat, then and now” (Posted, July 2nd)
The struggle has gone on longer than Robert Lederman and has been fought by many others. At this time public fine artists would be wise to form a cooperative group free of illegal vendors and bootleggers (the group A.R.T.I.S.T. has many illegal vendors in membership) and retain independent legal representation as a way to ensure the battles stop at some time. As long as one person benefits from the struggles, the struggles will go on. Mr. Lederman has personally won hundreds of thousands of dollars from the city for problems artists face while artists see none of it. Zero. Because the court battles turn a profit for some — the battles will continue. A cooperative group would pool the court awards and use them in a far more constructive way for all public fine artists than simply making one person’s life comfortable.