Arguments in favor
Please note that all links on this page are intended as a starting point for your own research, not a definitive source.
- The best reason for the existence of Cordoba House at Park 51 is to dispel religious intolerance says Colleen Kelly, who lost her brother William on 9/11. Others, such as Marvin Bethea - a paramedic at ground zero who was later forced to retire as a result of the respiratory injuries he sustained - have argued that Condemning all Muslims is wrong because not all Muslims are extremists. Donna Marsh O’Connor, who lost her pregnant daughter on 9/11, perhaps says it most succinctly: “This building will serve as an emblem for the rest of the world that Americans . . . recognize that the evil acts of a few must never damn the innocent.”
- Politicians have also got involved: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg strongly endorsed the project, saying that Ground Zero was a very appropriate place for a mosque, because it tells the world that the U.S. has freedom of religion for everyone. In addition, U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler says that the government has no business deciding the religious practices of its people.
- While the project is predominantly Islamic, its core aims are religious pluralism, tolerance and dialogue.
- Despite the fact that the Wikipedia article mentions the word 300 times, Cordoba House at Park 51 will not be a mosque. The organisers of the project are keen to present the religious part of the building as a prayer room, not a mosque. A mosque can only be used for one purpose, but a prayer room is a space that can be used for much more than prayer; it’s only a room after all. The non-sectarian prayer room will occupy only the two underground storeys, while all of the building above ground will be a community centre, dedicated to education, arts, culture, health and healing. It will have a fitness centre and a playground, as well as a 9/11 memorial. This is not a ‘Ground Zero mosque’. It can’t be a mosque, it doesn’t satisfy the strict criteria: the ‘Islamic Community Centre’ proposed is has more in common with the YMCA and JCC. Should we call those churches and synagogues?
- The proposed site for Park51 is already used for Muslim worship; Park 51 is merely an extension in response to a demand for more Muslim prayer space in Lower Manhattan. With space for only 600 worshippers on the present site (and only space for another 365 more in the local area), people often must resort to praying on the sidewalk outside..
- Everyone, under the First Amendment, has the right to free practice of religion. No one should be told where they can or cannot build a place of worship. This argument is considered to be very important in some cases, but not in others.
- Since 2002, Muslims have worshipped at the site of another 9/11 attack without any negative press coverage: “The 100-seat Pentagon Memorial Chapel [for the 184 people killed on 9/11] is open daily to employees and hosts weekly religious services for Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Protestants and Episcopalians in addition to a daily Catholic mass.” “Sometimes misidentified as the “Pentagon Mosque,” the non-denominational Pentagon Memorial Chapel maintained by the Pentagon Chaplain’s Office is where department employees who practice Islam can meet to pray.”
- The proposed site is, in fact, two blocks away from Ground Zero (about a 3-4 minute walk).
Various Voices of Support
- Not only do many families of 9/11 victims support this development, so do many prominent politicians, organisations and academics.