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Too Close, Too Soon? 9/11 Audio Report

The overwhelming opinion at Saturday's 9/11 rallies is that putting a mosque so near the former World Trade Center footprint is too close, too soon. Though I believe deeply that our freedom of religion exists for exactly these sort of challenging situations, I started thinking about what it would have felt like if Japan had wanted to open a cultural center in Pearl Harbor nine years after Hiroshima; or if the German government had tried to put in a Deutschland Center in Jerusalem nine years after the Holocaust.

Just as not all Muslims (by far) are not terrorists who desire to kill Americans, so too all Japanese and Germans were not against America or the Jews; yet in both hypothetical cases, I could imagine a similar pervasive sense of too close, too soon.

In the end, both freedom of religion and the freedom to express your dissatisfaction with others plans regarding their religions are two huge parts of what makes America so great. But that does nothing to mitigate the deeply profound feelings of anger, grief, loss, and rage that I felt last Saturday. Sometimes freedom doesn't feel so happy.  I attended with several other members of the IDP.  My audio/photo report below.  - Jerry Kolber

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Thanks and good point -

Thanks Matt - appreciate the compliment.

Kim, good point - it is a little intellectually lazy to not make the distinction between Muslim as a religion vs. alleged  Saudi Arabian hijackers.  My bad - it's such a complicated issue and I was being a little too casual with my analogy.  But the subset/mainset point is valid.

Cordoba House FAQ webpage


"The mission of Cordoba Initiative has always been to build trust and understanding between the Muslim World and the United States."

"Since no comparable Muslim community center exists in New York City, Imam Feisal and Daisy Khan wished to create for Muslim New Yorkers something similar to a YMCA or the 92nd St. Y"

"It will be a multi-floor community center open to all New Yorkers, much like a YMCA or Jewish Community Center (JCC) with a designated prayer space in one area to serve the needs of the large existing community of American Muslims in the neighborhood"

"So what will happen at this community center?
The community center will reach out to all New Yorkers with six programmatic areas: 

1. Culture and Arts - 500-seat auditorium, exhibition

2. Education - Lecture hall, conference rooms, library, classrooms

3. Social Cohesion - cooking classes, senior citizens space, childcare, banquet hall

4. Religion + Healing - Muslim prayer space, Contemplation and reflection area, 9/11 victims memorial

5. Global Engagement - Mapping studies on trends in the Muslim world, providing resources on good governance and principles of liberal democracy, promoting women’s empowerment issues, encouraging youth development, countering religious extremism.

6. Recreation - pool, gym, medical education and wellness programs"

I also saw something that said this space would also include prayer spaces for people of other faiths including Christians, and Jewish peoples.

Several very cool Interfaith and Religious organizations support them, including The Tanenbaum Center, Faith House Manhattan, and St. Bartholomew's Church

Sounds awesome

Sounds like it will be an amazing place to gather - I hope the rumors of interfaith prayer space are true because that would present a great opportunity for people to learn from each other.

Nationality & Religion?

Hi Jerry,

I think what is disturbing about recent events is that Muslim is   _not_ a national identity like German or Japanese.  To use such an analogy correctly would suggest that we should be fearful of Saudi Arabians, as I believe that was the identity of 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11.   

Thanks for your post and thanks for attending the rally.



Well done Jerry.

Mosque vs.?

There's no clear answer to whether it's a mosque or multifaith center. If this was made clear - and it was in fact a multifaith center - things might not be so heated. But, as you say, it's not clear at all, and that 's a huge part of the anger and confusion. Clarity is a good thing.


I am confused. Is it a mosque or isn't. To my knowledge, it is a center where religious meetings can be held of different faiths. Is there someone who knows what is exactly going on?

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