Compliance Bits and Pieces: Ground Zero Mosque Edition

One part of compliance is investigation. Find the facts. Don’t rely on opinion or self-interest statements. With all the hullabaloo about the Ground Zero Mosque I thought I would gather some factual information.

First off. It’s not at Ground Zero.

Just How Far Is the “Ground Zero Mosque” From Ground Zero? by Matt Sledge in the Huffington Post

From 45 Park Place, the former Burlington Coat Factory building that will make way for the Cordoba House, it’s two blocks, around a corner, to get to the WTC site. Park Place doesn’t lie between the construction site and any mass transit stations, so you would need to go out of your way to have it offend you.

Mosques And A City Block (Update) by Scott Greenfield in Simple Justice

If someone was trying to build a Mosque on the Site, there would be one debate. But building a Mosque where the old Burlington Coat Factory used to be isn’t the Site. Not even close. It’s the equivalent of building it ten miles away in Houston. It’s a different neighborhood, climate, time zone. There are a couple of nudie bars, even another tiny Mosque, that far away, not to mention dozens of stores selling cheap junk. It’s not a pretty neighborhood. It’s not what people who don’t know Manhattan think it is. Not even close.

There’s a reason all the elected officials of both stripes in Manhattan think this whole debate is nonsense. They’ve been there and know what they’re talking about. This is being used by politicians to manufacture a debate that doesn’t exist. They are selling a fantasy to people who don’t know any better. This Mosque has absolutely nothing to do with the Site. It doesn’t besmirch anyone’s memory. It might as well be in another country for it’s impact on anything.

The Wikipedia page for Park 51 is full of links to great primary source material and (at least when I read it) mostly avoids opinions on the controversial project.

Park51, originally named Cordoba House and sometimes referred to in the media as the “Ground Zero mosque”, is a planned $100 million, 13-story, glass and steel Islamic community center and mosque. Plans are for the facility to include a 500-seat auditorium, theater, performing arts center, fitness center, swimming pool, basketball court, childcare area, bookstore, culinary school, food court serving halal dishes, and Islamic prayer space for 1,000–2,000 Muslims. It would replace an existing 1850s Italianate building that was damaged in the September 11 attacks, and is located two blocks (about 600 feet, or 180 meters) from the World Trade Center site in Manhattan, New York City.

Muslim Prayers and Renewal Near Ground Zero by Ralph Blumenthal in the New York Times

The location was precisely a key selling point for the group of Muslims who bought the building in July. A presence so close to the World Trade Center, “where a piece of the wreckage fell,” said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric leading the project, “sends the opposite statement to what happened on 9/11.” “We want to push back against the extremists,” added Imam Feisal, 61.

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