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Was the ‘Ground Zero’ Mosque a Con Game?

This may be a cautionary lesson about how the fear of seeming to be a 'racist' or 'Islamophobe' can be manipulated to fool people into forgetting law and logic.
The "Tribute in Light" memorial is in remembrance of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. The two towers of light are composed of two banks of high wattage spotlights that point straight up from a lot next to Ground Zero. This photo was taken from Liberty State Park, N.J., Sept. 11, the five-year anniversary of 9/11.

The "Tribute in Light" memorial is in remembrance of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. The two towers of light are composed of two banks of high wattage spotlights that point straight up from a lot next to Ground Zero. This photo was taken from Liberty State Park, N.J., Sept. 11, the five-year anniversary of 9/11.
Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photo / Denise Gould

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I’ve pointed out months ago my view of the “Ground Zero” mosque controversy that I thought it was more of a con job than an Islamist offensive. The developer and the imam seemed to be shady people who were trying to promote their careers and seemed to believe they were going to collect a lot of Saudi money.

I also predicted that the mosque/community center tower would never be built. Now, one of the project’s backers has launched a law suit full of detailed allegations, including a claim that the imam spent $3 million of the money raised on a good time for himself. I don’t know if these claims are true but presumably a lot more will come out in the law suit about the story behind this controversial project.

Ironically, the mosque/community center project generated too much publicity, after being rushed through a city council willing to do anything to prove it wasn’t Islamophobic, including observe the city’s own regulations and procedures. This brought criticism and public attention.

In other words, this wasn’t really an issue of religious freedom versus bigotry or a choice between “Islamophobia” and jihad but a cautionary lesson about how the fear of seeming to be a “racist” or “Islamophobe” can be manipulated to fool people into forgetting law and logic.

If the whole issue would have been kept quiet, the likely outcome wouldn’t have been jihad next to the World Trade Center ruins but the enrichment of those involved. At any rate, let’s see what evidence is provided in the court case.

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About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.


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12 Responses to “Was the ‘Ground Zero’ Mosque a Con Game?”

  1. Charlie Hall says:

    While the Center may have been a con job, it wasn't "rushed though a city council". The project did not require approval of the New York City Council — or any other governmental body — as it is permitted "by right" under current zoning. (I seem to be the only person ever to have commented on this issue to have actually looked at the zoning maps.) Conservatives used to support the rights of private property owners to develop their property in accordance with local zoning law; the attempt to stop the project using a bogus landmarking argument would have been Big Government Abuse at its worse.

    (Actually, many conservatives used to oppose the very existence of zoning laws, or any power of government to control any private property whatsoever.)

  2. I AM CALLING FOR A NATIONAL BOYCOTT BY JEWS OF ANY INTERFAITH HOLOCAUST PROGRAM WHERE HATIKAVAH IS INTENTIONALLY EXLUDED DUE TO MUSLIM PRESSURE OR CLERGY WHO SUPPORT THE PALESTINIAN CAUSE. PLEASE GET THE WORD OUT. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG. I have bowed out of the local interfaith Holocaust service, because it was a custom to include Hatikvah at the end, but now some Christian groups object as they support the Palestinians and the Muslim Imams would either sit or leave during the Hatikvah. Perhaps interfaith Holocaust programs no longer make sense, at least to me. I do not need the stress of seeing disrespect being afforded to Israel and nor do I wish to compromise by leaving Hatikvah out. This is a personal choice and I DO NOT ADVOCATE ANYONE NOT PARTICIPATING IN ANY INTERFAITH HOLOCAUST SERVICE. I INTRODUCED INTERFAITH HOLOCAUST SERVICES IN 1974 AND WAS ONE OF THE FIRST IF NOT THE FIRST TO DO SO. This was a difficult decision for me based on personal principle. The interfaith Holocaust memorials started as well intentioned way for the Jewish people and other groups to pause and reflect on man's capacity to perpetuate unbelievable cruelty against his fellow and to commiserate as a group and oHolocaust survivors and athers, with the Jews and hopefully prevent this nightmare from reoccurring. Over the years it was understandably modified to include other victims of genocidal mass killings, though these mass killings were not really analogous, as the Nazis were obsessed at not just killing Jews as a competing group, but Hitler desired to eliminate our creed and it's pervasive influence on humanity, particularly Christian doxy. As a result of Muslim participation and twisted liberalism, this is morphing into a twisted canard where Israel is being blamed for perpetuating ethnic killings against the Palestinians as the Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis. One can understand the Islamo-Nazis belief system with a quote from the Talmud. We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG, CHILD OF refugee born in a D.P. camp.

  3. it is the same with people who oppose same sex laws, being called a bigot, a homophobe, hatred of homosexual, so yes they could use this the same way, plus use the racist card.

  4. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG will not attend and boycott if Imam sits during hatikvah.

    Organizers to vote on restoring ‘Hatikva’ to interfaith program.

    More Sharing ServicesShare|Share on facebookShare on twitterShare on emailShare on print.

    Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg says omitting the Israeli anthem from the Holocaust commemoration would be “giving in to the current atmosphere of anti-Semitism.”.
    "+ enlarge image.
    Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg says omitting the Israeli anthem from the Holocaust commemoration would be “giving in to the current atmosphere of anti-Semitism.”.

  5. The opposition to the mosque/community center/whatever also struck me as kind of a con given that (a) it was ginned up by Republicans and pro-Republican media outlets right before the 2010 elections, and (b) the site wasn't even visible from Ground Zero or vice versa.

  6. Rabbi Rosenberg and his 'interfaith' efforts for peace — Winds…

    sheikyermami.com/2013/02/10/rabbi-rosenberg-and-his-interfaith-efforts-for-…

    3 days ago… Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg has had enough of insolent behaviour by… be omitted during the area's interfaith Holocaust commemoration, because,… Rosenberg is now calling for a boycott of the event he helped found, if the…

  7. Rabbi Rosenberg and his 'interfaith' efforts for peace — Winds…

    sheikyermami.com/2013/02/10/rabbi-rosenberg-and-his-interfaith-efforts-for-…

    3 days ago… Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg has had enough of insolent behaviour by… be omitted during the area's interfaith Holocaust commemoration, because,… Rosenberg is now calling for a boycott of the event he helped found, if the…

  8. Rowe Sergent says:

    Charlie, you're missing the main point…or perhaps you are ignoring it, let alone pretending it doesn't exist. No one really questions the *legality* of building the mosque near Ground Zero. What many, many people continue to do is question the ****appropriateness**** of building it near Ground Zero. Why would Muslims want to offend so many people (especially New Yorkers and Americans) by building it where they (the Muslims) have chosen? Charlie, come on. This isn't brain surgery or the theory of relativity.

  9. Rowe Sergent says:

    Michael, I'm willing to bet some mind-boggling BIG money that Republicans of all shades–not to mention a smattering of Democrats–would heatedly discuss this particularly pesky mosque question even if a Republican were president and Republicans controlled both houses of Congress. Your "the-site-wasn't-even-visible-from-Ground-Zero" excuse is quite weak. This is not a question so much of *visibility* as it is of ***proximity***. The distance from the mosque site to Ground Zero is only about 800-900 feet–not exactly a marathon distance for Manhattanite folks who hoof it on a regular basis. (For comparison I figured the length of Manhattan is almost 71,000 feet.) What a lot of sound people are complaining about is the "just-too-damn-close-to Ground-Zero" factor. Can't Muslims show a little more respect in this case? And finally, with regard to your *visibility* theory, I'm guessing you haven't ever been to New York City (well, at least not since the city fathers built the Brooklyn Bridge). There are a whole lot of very tall buildings in Manhatton. As a result, viewing one site from another site is often very difficult. Seeing through buildings is quite difficult…and, for many, impossible.

  10. HATIKVAH WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE PROGRAM.

  11. HATIKVAH WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE PROGRAM.

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