Utne Blogs > Arts and Culture

Ground Zero: Not So Hallowed

 by Stephanie Glaros


Tags: Arts, Photography, Ground Zero Mosque, 9/11, Daryl Lang, Stephanie Glaros,

Ground Zero 1

Before you decide whether or not you support the proposed Islamic community center near Ground Zero (now known as the “Ground Zero Mosque), check out these photos by New Yorker Daryl Lang.

He says “Look at the photos. This neighborhood is not hallowed. The people who live and work here are not obsessed with 9/11. The blocks around Ground Zero are like every other hard-working neighborhood in New York, where Muslims are just another thread of the city fabric. At this point the only argument against this project is fear, specifically fear of Muslims, and that’s a bigoted, cowardly and completely indefensible position.”

Source: The Daily What

rodeen
8/20/2010 10:16:59 AM

I would like to compliment and thank Walt and Spencer for there very astute input. You two gentlemen are reason to believe there are voices of reason on the left. Bravo!


walt_1
8/20/2010 7:26:19 AM

Bloomberg and the NY City Council got it right. Peter King and Gingrich didn't. King is a marginal player and Newt G is a publicity starved has-been. Both are aching for some media attention. As usual, Obama should have kept his mouth shut until he weighed ALL the implications of whatever he was going to say. (What moron is advising this guy!?) The everyday citizens on both sides of this "controversy" may feel justified by their passions and their arguments but both sides are wrong in their conclusions. It's not about whether or not we build the Cultural Center. It's about whether or not we are going to continue to bend to the will of terrorists. When Osama bin Laden's goats flew those planes into the WTC, the 2000+ who perished were not their intended victims. The rest of us were the "targets" of their terror As bin Laden admitted himself right after the attacks, the purpose was to tear at the fabric of our pluralistic democacy, to get American non-Muslims to persecute Muslim-Americans, to make Muslims feel "unwanted" in America. The focus of these terrorists is to alienate Muslims from the rest of the world, to make them feel they are alone and persecuted and therefore have only one another to depend on and only Holy War as their salvation. Why are we awarding bin Laden the victory here? This disharmony is excatly what he was hoping for. Our strongest weapon against them IS our democarcy and we defeat them by driving it at them as a united nation.


spencer sung lim_3
8/19/2010 9:47:36 PM

The pictures do not justify the argument, but the last written statement does; saying it's simple bigotry to oppose the center. People will not be comfortable with its construction, which is a given. The truth is not the right wing politicians' statements; they are emotions - genuine or fabricated. It is precedence that the persecution of a religion ends with tension and blood shed. And within the past century, some of us have adopted civility and diplomacy among differences. Lets think about after it is built; the persecution Americans may give. Whatever happens; we should desire peaceful outcomes. I live in a county bordering another county that is home to a large white nationalist group. I'm Asian; facing discrimination on a daily basis - an aspiring journalist. We cannot go against our Constitution. Should we be guilty of discrimination? I go to church...


rodeen
8/19/2010 3:28:29 PM

Sans. After reading your post again I apologize. I took something you said out of context you said "terrorist leaning". That being said here is an excert of the cleric leading this movement.ED BRADLEY: Are you in any way suggesting that we in the United States deserve what happened? FAISAL ABDUL RAUF, IMAM: I wouldn't say that the United States deserved what happened, but the United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened. BRADLEY: Are you saying that we're an accessory? RAUF: Yes. BRADLEY: How? RAUF: Because we have been an accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. In fact, in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.


rodeen
8/19/2010 8:31:19 AM

Now that is an excellent arguement SANS! You are always making since to me. At the end of the day I agree it is a New York issue, unfortanetly these issues deterioate between unreasonable, radical, left wing liberal, and run of the mill liberals by me who just find this idea offensive to the victims families. I could be wrong and if New Yorkers dont mind (the last poll I saw was 68% against) they can build a mosque the size of Mt. Everest for all I care. Now regarding your comments about terrorist. I think our standard should be a bit higher than "well if your not an actual terrorist" I dont care what you do. HUH? What about people who support terrorist? Not just financially but ideologically? I would love love if any one who reads this could send me comments by the muslims involved with this particular Mosque harshly denouncing the actions of 9/11.


san_1
8/19/2010 1:22:11 AM

I don't claim to understand the Islamic religion, nor do I care to. However, unless and until it is proven that there are terrorist-leaning Muslims involved with this project, there is no good reason, except political opportunism and politicians who use fear and hate as their only platform, to deny this project. In additon, if New Yorkers are not opposed, then what business is it of anyone else to stick their noses into the fray. It is New Yorkers that experienced and had to live through the nightmare of 911 and it should be New Yorkers that decide.


rodeen
8/18/2010 3:39:30 PM

I dont know why I even respond to PE's drivel. If you read his comments you will see he just compared the treatment of women in Syria (a moderate Muslim Country) to the treatment of women 50 years ago in America. Two months ago 4 Syrian men were acquitted of gang rape because the female was not accompanied by a male relative in public. You see PE this is why it is hard to take anything you say seriously. PE I am nothing if not open minded so if you would please point to the model of Islamic acceptance in the world I would love to find out more about it and if it will infact be the brand of islam in lower Manhattan?


pe_5
8/18/2010 1:26:25 PM

Kate of course is right, and those opposing the center are suffering from blind grief, more often blind hate, or most often terminal grumpiness. In the latter areas, one suggests all muslims despise women, gays, and those of other religions. Even if true (it isn't, Virginia), it sounds uncannily like Christian beliefs. Was it only 1920 that women were 'given' the right to vote in the US, over 150 years after Abigail Adams demanded it? Are gays still unequal? Are wiccans or atheists now 'allowed' to contradict the US Pledge? Another 'argument' says sleazy shops nearby have nothing to do with Islam, hence with one sort of terrorist. They have much to do with the 'sacred' nature alleged for the area, yet the cry's not raised that they be razed. And only as a paradox is it suggested that the Oklahoma bombing area should be off limits to Christian churches and military recruitment centers. You of the latter schools of thought are reaching...


rodeen
8/18/2010 11:24:09 AM

Ralph or should I say Bluto did America give up after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Seriously, would you be okay with a statue of Major Whitside at Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation? Or Jefferson Davis next to one of those trees? Come on, this is one is simple we have more important things to debate.


ralph marshall
8/18/2010 10:51:57 AM

Is 'Wounded Knee' hallowed ground? Is 'The Trail of Tears'? Is every spot where the US cavalry massacred native American women and children hallowed ground? How about Salem Mass and the women burnt there. Or every tree where a man who was not white was lynched. History being written by the victors leaves a gaping hole where truth should be. All ground is hallowed, or should be. All people are sacred. The struggle is not between people, but between ideas. And frankly, white conservative Christianity has much in its past (and present) to disqualify it from the right to pass judgment on competing ideas. Except for the cynical use of fear to advance political power, America is still the best spiritual experiment in history. It was founded, not on conservative ideologies, but on liberal ones. Our strength is in the vigorous conversation surrounding the meaning of 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'. And every debate requires many minds from differing viewpoints with the goal of creating a better world. America has shown itself capable of absorbing every group that comes within its spiritual field. And while Islam is a most challenging idea, America will only become stronger by engaging in the questions that Islam poses. Only the timid are fearful. Only the weak fear competition. Only the lazy fear the gym, or the path up a mountain. Has America grown that timid that we fear everyone and everything? Have faith in America. And we will prevail.


rodeen
8/18/2010 10:36:55 AM

Kate, I dont mean to sound angry and I dont mean to insult your intellegence. I just think you when you mention "a place where they go to pray for betterment of them selves and mankind" I wonder if you know what betterment means to them for you? If you would travel to the middle east sometime and see how the religion of peace values women, homosexuals, and other religions I think you might change your mind. I do sympathize with your ideals I just think that this is inappropriate.


kates
8/18/2010 9:42:21 AM

The tone of the comments thus far appears outrageously angry. While I must admit I was never pushed to the emotional engagement this idea appears to have engendered (AND I lost a beloved nephew in 9/11), these pictures and Glaros's article have made me think in a completely different way. It could be a VERY HEALING gesture to build a mosque in this neighborhood. Any holy place (or place where people go to pray for the betterment of themselves and mankind) would raise the vibrations in that area to a much higher plane and bring a more sacred atmosphere to the memory of what happened. I think there may be no better way than to allow a mosque to be built there in spirit of remembrance, compassion, understanding, forgiveness and contemplation. I say 'DO IT'.


rodeen
8/18/2010 8:30:06 AM

Could Eric please get a job working for UTNE. Mr. Lang is a fool.


stephen_3
8/18/2010 8:23:30 AM

Bigoted and cowardly? Words like those do not promote intelligent discussion; they fan the flames of anger and outrage.


eric solstein
8/18/2010 8:09:25 AM

Daryl (and perhaps the editors at Utne) walk hand in hand with big fat idiots like Rush Limbaugh when they make categorical and hyperbolic (never mind logically flawed) arguments like: "At this point the only argument against this project is fear, specifically fear of Muslims, and that’s a bigoted, cowardly and completely indefensible position.” There are unquestionably reasonable arguments against this mosque project, even if they don't or can't win the day, and labeling all those you disagree with as bigoted and cowardly is indefensible. I approach this topic as one who would prefer this project not go forward as it stands, but as an adamantine supporter of our Bill of Rights, believes on balance that it must.


william_1
8/18/2010 7:43:58 AM

I think that the problem people are having is that none of the establishments that you showed as examples of entities in the "ground zero" area have any connections to Islamic Terrorism. While most Mosques do not have connections to Islamic Terrorist Groups, most Islamic Terrorist Groups have some kind of Islamic Organization as a religious center. Many Islamic communities feel that nations like US are decadent because the freedom we allow our citizens that allows them to open businesses like the examples you showed. They disagree with the freedom we give citizen to patronize such establishments.