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Ground Zero center sparks debate on freedoms

Over 650 readers have weighed in on the results of a Washington Post-ABC News poll that says two-thirds of the respondents object to the Muslim community center and place of worship planned near Ground Zero. Many agree with that sentiment. Others suggest that we have forgotten what the United States is about.

This comes as there is significant concern that a small-church pastor in Florida will ignite a dangerous response if he carries out his commitment to burn the Koran despite appeals from President Obama, evangelical leaders, Sarah Palin, and Gen. David H. Petraeus, among others.

As pollster Jon Cohen and Kyle Dropp write, "The new results come alongside increasingly critical public views of Islam: 49 percent of all Americans say they have generally unfavorable opinions of Islam, compared with 37 percent who say they have favorable ones. That's the most negative split on the question in Post-ABC polls dating to October 2001." The polling data is here.

We'll start with an exchange that pretty well sums up the discussion:

ThePhotogsBlog wrote, "I would like the following questions answered. If 2 1/2 blocks is too close to Ground Zero to build a mosque, then please tell me what is the appropriate distance. Would those who object feel better if it were 3 blocks away? How about five? 7? Uptown in Harlem? Is that more acceptable? How about across the river in New Jersey? Doubtless some people think that around the world in Saudi Arabia is about far enough..."

To which patriot0523 replied, "Yes, Saudi Arabia will be just about right."

mooncusser wrote, "I wasn't called to be part of the survey. I say build it. I also have a favorable view of Islam. While some people here commented this is "common sense," most of the people with whom I've discussed this issue are not anti mosque or anti Islam."

27081 said, "The poll is not surprising given that this is still a predominately "Christian" nation. Not Jewish and not Muslim as some would like you to believe. The more important question is: How long will it remain Christian if radical Islam is allowed to be nurtured and the Muslims continue to use our Constitution against us?"

exco asked, "Does the WAPO cover actual news anymore or does it just do 24 x 7 coverage of divisive issues that bring mouse clicks. I just clicked on your sight and the two stories with priority placement are a poll on the NY not-a-mosque and coverage of more non-stop coverage on 50 people in Florida who intend to burn a Koran. Did anything happen in the world today?"

selfemployedbluecollar said, "Please burn the Koran and publish cartoons of Allah. These people need to get used to freedom. Are we going to be afraid of them. It sure sounds like it."

dnjake suggested that "Perhaps some questions should have been asked to discover if any of these people bothered to study the American constitution when they went to school. Do any of them understand that freedom of religion is a basic American right?"

StrangerThanFiction wrote, "Hmmm, looks like the Islamic terrorist minorities have won. Millions of Muslims in our country, and we Americans are now terrified by a handful of extremists. Depressing!"

sullivanjc said, "...I object to them building at that location because I question the motives of the people behind it. However,I would not for one second suggest the government deny them permission to build it based on my objections. I doubt I'm the only person with that set of opinions..."

binkynh wrote, "That a full 2/3 of Americans object to a peaceful Islamic site something like a full two blocks away from Ground Zero is a disgusting portrait of the increasing unapologetic selfishness, un-American intolerance, and willful ignorance of Americans in 2010. As a fellow American, I am disgusted, though unfortunately not terribly surprised, by the results of this poll."

joshmw wrote, "Again, the people burning the Koran are a church with a whopping 50 person membership, a fringe group that the media is not doing any favors in putting the spotlight on. If every backyard gathering of lunatics across America had a saying and given claim to be representatives of mainstream Christian culture or for that matter America, we'd be in a lot of trouble."

To which lcarter0311 replied, "Try telling that to crazed Islamic terrorist with "bombs" strapped to their butts."

MiriyamGevirtz wrote, "I think our religious leaders should stop speaking about this as a "religious tolerance" issue and concentrate on answering the objections of those who believe from what we are told that the Koran preaches violence."

biblioid-ctblogs wrote, "Most Americans have never been to lower Manhattan. They don't realize how huge two NYC blocks are, lined by immense high-rise office complexes. They imagine that the distance is more like a couple of small town blocks, with two story buildings. Also, as we sadly know, polling the American public only exposes the abyss of ignorance we live in."

kansasgal1 wrote, "This is not an issue for American voters in general. The only poll that counted was that done by the New York based committee that voted to approve. The rest of American needs to butt out. Having visited Ground Zero, I know you would really have to go out of your way to even find the building since it is 2.5 blocks away from the back end of Ground Zero..."

jsasnooky wrote, "If one of your longtime neighbors wanted to add to your community a beautiful new building where all could gather for fellowship and community building, would you refuse her or him? Will wounds heal better if you remain apart? Will your life be enriched by becoming more knowledgeable? How about this poll!"

We'll close with fudador, who wrote, "Most Americans were against integration and voting rights for blacks. That's why rights are rights and not options."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  September 9, 2010; 9:13 AM ET
Categories:  Islam  | Tags: Freedom of, Ground Zero, Islam, New York  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama's tax compromise
Next: Have we played into Bin Laden's hands?


One great popular misconception-a lie perpetrated by Islam haters and xenophobes is: "The Quran preaches violence."

The Quran is a revelation of light,guidance,peace and mercy for the human kind. See the opening verses of chapter 2 of the Quran.

The Quran addresses the Prophet as: "We have sent thee but as a mercy to mankind."

Islam by definition means Peace.

The Quran preaches legitimate self-defense:" Fight those who fight you and turn you out of your homeland-and do not aggress for God love not the aggressors."
The attacks on 911 don't fall within self-defense:it was killings of innocent people including Muslims-a great crime according to the Quran itself.

Even the cluless "pastor" wanted to burn a book he never read!!! What ignorance.

English Translations of the Quran are abundant:go to and search:"The Message of the Quran" by Muhammad Asad (the late Leopold Weiss-a Jewish scholar convert to lslam,1900-1992. He spent 17 years on this translation with a scholraly and yet simplified commentary. Asad was born in Poland and converted to Islam in 1926 when he was a correspondent for a German newspaper in Palestine.

His classic "The Road to Mecca" has been translated to many langauges and had been reprinted many times.

Posted by: asizk | September 13, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Since 9/11 the American Muslim community has been intimidated,demonised,some times physically attacked and ostracized and Islam deliberately distorted and misrepresented-especially by extremist right wing fundamentalist xtians such as Gingrich,Palin, Bolton,Limbaugh and the GOP generally.

The Media has played a negative role in all that:preating what bigots say over and over again:"the ground zero mosque" which is a lie:it's cultural community center with a small interfaith prayer space.

No mention at all of the 300 rpt 300 Muslims who were murdered on 9/11-after all Muslim lives are worthless!!!

So 1.6 billion Muslims are guilty by association because the 19 murderers on 911 claimed they were Muslims too!!! What collective punishment in the 21st century is this???

Posted by: asizk | September 13, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

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