9/11 Families Reject Towering Mosque Planned for Ground Zero Site

CONTACT: Debra Burlingame: 914.844.3146 Media@911familiesforamerica.org

9/11 Families Reject Towering Mosque Planned for Ground Zero Site

New York, May 24, 2010 — 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America (9/11 FSSA) adamantly rejects the plan for a mosque to be built atop a planned 15-story structure that would tower over the site where nearly 3,000 people were killed by Islamic terrorists.

According to the project’s leader, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the mosque and “Muslim-led community center” is to be called the Cordoba House, named after the historic period when the Islamic Caliphate in Cordoba ruled much of Europe and non-Muslims lived as second-class citizens under Islamic rule.

Victims’ families view the imam’s expressed plan to “leverage” the mosque’s proximity to Ground Zero to engage in proselytizing and to “grow the Muslim community,” as shockingly insensitive to the history of the site where their loved ones were slaughtered in the worst terrorist attack by extremist Muslims in America’s history; following the attack, 20,000 body parts were recovered in a nine-month operation to remove 1.8 million tons of rubble from Lower Manhattan.

“Imam Rauf is a Muslim cleric who, immediately after 9/11, blamed the attacks on U.S. treatment of Muslims, asserting that Osama Bin Ladin was ‘made in the U.S.A,'” said Debra Burlingame, co-founder of 9/11 FSSA, whose brother was the pilot of the American Airlines flight which was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon. “We do not accept the Cordoba organization’s view that we need Imam Rauf to lecture us about religious tolerance in a city still dealing with the consequences of the attack that he claims we brought on ourselves.”

Last Monday, representatives of 9/11 FSSA met with Sharif El-Gamal, owner and CEO of Soho Properties, the corporation that purchased the two buildings where the mosque will be built at 43-45 Park Place, and asked him to name the investors in the mosque project. Mr. El-Gamal refused, citing the advice of his attorneys, stating that “this is private property” and that “we can build this ‘as of right.'” The property was purchased with $4.85 million in cash.

Imam Rauf is now publicly stating in a professionally-organized PR campaign that the building will be a community center, “not a mosque.” However, Mr. El-Gamal showed 9/11 FSSA members architectural renderings in which a mosque, located on the top floor of the 15-story building, would have a commanding view of the entire Ground Zero neighborhood.

Equally troubling is the fact that, while the stated purpose of the project is to engage in interfaith dialogue and cultural egalitarianism, Imam Rauf embraces Shariah, the Arabic word for Islamic law, a sociopolitical system of jurisprudence based upon the Koran which supersedes man-made law and which rejects the Constitutional doctrine of the separation of church and state. Islamic countries that embrace Shariah and political Islam are known for brutal policies that discriminate against women, gays, and religious minorities. Shariah law is entirely incompatible with the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment and would violate 1st Amendment protections of speech, assembly and the free exercise of religion.

We feel that the attempt to use our loved ones’ deaths and the painful legacy of 9/11 still felt by New Yorkers to engage in a campaign to reverse America’s core doctrine of religious freedom — and to do so under the guise of interfaith understanding — is a gross insult to the memory of those who were killed on that terrible day.

9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America asks concerned Americans — regardless of race, color, creed, or ethnic origin — to join us in denouncing this effort to chip away at America’s bedrock principle of religious freedom.

  34 comments for “9/11 Families Reject Towering Mosque Planned for Ground Zero Site

  1. Colleen Olson
    May 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    What can we do to prevent this? This is America and I want to keep it AMERICA! Where are the petitions to sign and who are the politicians to call. Lets get up off our hind ends and make sure this does not happen. Thank you Debra Burlingame for being on WCCO today that is how I learned of this site.

    • Anna
      June 7, 2010 at 6:17 am

      [At 3:06 a.m. this morning Anna wrote] Wow to the 9/11 families…keeping it classy by trying to deny Muslim-Americans a place of worship? All Muslims should not be subjected to your blatant prejudice!!

      [At 6:14 a.m. this morning Anna wrote] AMERICA was founded on the constitution which insures equal rights for ALL people, ALL religions. AMERICA is full of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, etc. AMERICA AMERICA AMERICA is supposed to be open and free to all Americans, and believe it or not, there are Muslim-Americans as well. People who think like you are a disgrace to AMERICA and it’s principles.

      [At 6:17 a.m. this morning Anna wrote] BTW, Nice monitoring of the comments, only allowing the blatantly ignorant, anti-Muslim comments to appear. NICE. CENSORSHIP against whatever you don’t agree with, the American way?

      Editor —

      Yes, Anna, we moderate comments here so that the threats (veiled and not so veiled), profane language, and disgusting insults do not appear on this web site. From your above comments, it is obvious that you only came here to misinform (and to not read the facts presented) so I have posted your three comments rolled into one. I could not care less if that satisfies you; go start your own web site or misinform with your comments elsewhere in the future.

  2. D. Young
    May 26, 2010 at 10:17 am

    I wanted to suggest that you start a Facebook page titled ‘No to mega mosque at ground zero”. Getting support on Facebook can make a difference. Also, although the families of 9/11 are struck the hardest by this proposal this concerns all Americans and I would make any mass produced pages or sites reflect that point so you draw more support. Some people who were not directly impacted by 9/11 may shy away because they won’t think they have a right to a strong opinion because they aren’t a family member of a 9/11 victim and this needs all the support it can get…just a thought. Finally, for those who don’t understad why we should be opposed and say that we are “building bridges” I would ask this – would it be okay to build a german “cultural” site at Auschwitz or in Isreal? If you can understand why that would be ignorant why is it so hard to understand why this is ignorant and disrespectful?

  3. TheExpat
    May 26, 2010 at 4:36 am

    Youpeople getting soft in the head letting them to build the damned thing. It’s like spitting on the grave of the 3000 victims.

  4. Norburt Insley
    May 25, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    This must be stopped, this cannot be allowed to be built.
    When will the world realise what Is going on under there noses……WAKE UP before Its too late.

  5. May 25, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Dear friendly democratic people of USA, I live in Europe where the islamization has already gone so far, that free people of Europe no longer can walk around in some cities. They are already lost to “No-Go” areas. Police, Firebrigades and Ambulances are harassed with throwing stones, molotow-coqtails and car-burning on a massive scale.

    Please take lessons, NEVER ever giva anything to muslims. Their plan is not to integrate in your country. Their plan is to destroy your country and to kill you all.

    • gerbilcrusader
      May 25, 2010 at 6:25 pm

      I agree, that is why filipinos, east indians, russians and chinese DO NOT TOLERATE their insurrections and fight and quarantine their attacks. we all know that muslims believe this is the time for their world rule according to their perverted prophecies.
      Most AMERICANS except for suicidal liberals will fight them. Most north, central and south americans will fight them because canadians, americans and latin americans DO NOT ESPOUSE ISLAM. Muslims have a rude awakening if they think they can takeover the AMERICAS. They can prepare for being genocided if they even attempt their garbage in china and russia, they will be extinct. We all must wake up to the fact that MUSLIMS have declared war against all of us since the 7th century and speeding up their attacks now because there are no longer a hitler, imperial japan, soviet union and COMPETANT leaders in AMERICA and EUROPE. There will be another hitler in europe who will rise up to destroy muslims in europe and the middle east, that is when the UNITED STATES OF EUROPE is formed as the 3rd superpower.

  6. May 25, 2010 at 8:14 am

    has ANYONE EVER ASKED THEM WHY????WHY do they want a mosque on the sight where they MURDERED 3,000 people???To me they are rubbing our noses in it!!!IF we don’t STOP THEM NOW America will never be a safe place to live!!!

  7. John Abraham
    May 25, 2010 at 5:39 am

    If a mosque is built, you can pretty much be guaranteed that streets surrounding it will become a no-go area for non-muslims through both implied and explicit intimidation. This proposal should be shot down without even a debate, given how against the grain it is of Manhattan being a global destination that is welcoming of everyone. Cordoning part of it off for one particular group is reprehensible.

  8. May 25, 2010 at 3:07 am

    I feel sorry for all of us because with the fall of USA the rest of the “western” world will collapse rapidly.Astonishing stupidity,ignorance and blindness.

  9. jeff serkin
    May 24, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Putting a mosque near ground zero is like putting a statue of Hitler near the Jewish museum. What about a Historical Center honoring the Emporor of Japan at Pearl Harbor? Maybe we should put giant murals and symbols of killing Native Americans near an Indian Reservation? Someone can put a White Supremicist Meeting Hall in front of the Apollo Theater in Harlem. None of these would ever be considered or permitted. How can a mosque be put near Ground Zero? Have they gone crazy with political correctness? Are we going to let muslims kill us with our freedom of religion? The biggest mistake in our constitution was not making the USA a Christian country. It was Christians who founded this country and now muslims are trying to destroy it. We must stop this insanity. Jeff Serkin

  10. CarolAnn
    May 24, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Arab oil money not only feeds terrorism in numerous ways, it also greases the palms of the liberal media, academia and politicians, so that the world is daily privy to distorted pro-Arab, pro-Muslim, anti-Israel, anti-Christian and MOSTLY ANTI-DEMOCRATIC propaganda. In slow motion, we are watching Western civilization become Islamicized. Someone should get smart and find a way to render Arab oil unusable and be done with their evil.

  11. Richard Schulze
    May 24, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    You can’t tell me the official of NYC couldn’t tie up this ‘project’ for the next 100 years if they really wanted to.

    Editor — Perhaps. Know any there with the moral courage?

  12. Richard Schulze
    May 24, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    This building must have a permit that a “New Yorker” signed off on. From the mayor on down, they want this!

    Editor — They already have rights (perhaps they came with the deed) to 50,000 feet of air space, meaning, to build within those footprint dimensions, i.e. 200′ x 250′ (example). Their obstacle is the 20-year old application to declare the current building historical yet that may be a formality they can readily overcome. If so, the building permits would be routinely reviewed and the zoning authorizes building a structure for religious purposes.

    There is no Constitutional prohibition that we know of and they likely have the legal right to build either a mosque/cultural center there. The question here is a political one.

  13. zbignew
    May 24, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    OLD FAITHFUL: This 152-year-old building near Ground Zero, which an Islamic group wants to tear down to build a 13-story mosque, is under landmark protection.The landmarking issue is a potentially big obstacle for a project that both the city and the mosque’s backers had said could be built “as of right,” with no interference from city land use laws.

    If the commission approves landmark designation, it would be highly unlikely that the building could be torn down to make way for Cordoba House, a proposed 13-story mosque and community center. And until a vote is taken, the building has temporary landmark protection.

    How can we make sure it receives landmark protection?

  14. Roger Dee
    May 24, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    This mosque should never be built at ground zero where the lives of so many were ended so abruptly and horribly by those who believed in the tenants that are taught by Islam. If the imam and his followers want a mosque built, let them place it away from the blood soaked earth of ground zero!

  15. May 24, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Follow the money!! I have asked several politicians and judges and so-called “law experts” to answer this question…. Will in fact…the US Constitution…protect the American people from ever having Shariah Law implemented in these United States?
    I have not heard from ANY of them…NOT A ONE… From Judge Napolitano to Senator Joe Lieberman to those on FOX News to just about anybody and no one will give me an answer. This is a question that needs to be answered. Can Islamist sneak it into operations? Will it be Un-Constitutional? If anybody can secure an answer for me…e-mail it to me and I’ll publish it on the web site. Thank you!!

  16. Monica
    May 24, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Building a Mosque on sacred hollowed ground the self same ground Muslim fanatics mass murdered 3000 Americans is akin to a serial killer keeping trophies of those he killed. That mosque is a sign of Islamic supremacism, it’s a trophy where Muslim can go celebrate the death of 3000 innocent karfirs. They are publicly stating we can destroy your landmarks using violence and weapons of mass destruction and then we’ll build on said land Islamic Supremacists’ structures. Do not let them insult the memories of those the fanatical Islamists killed that day.

  17. Trisha
    May 24, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    A sign says:

  18. mo
    May 24, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    I always walk downtown along the water front and around the area down by ground zero .this year I notice something different there are a lot of muslims in the area I see women now all the time covered up .on saturday I saw at least 20 women down there.we walked down that block where this mosque is going there were a bunch women out there then we walked over to that nice park area by the water there is a pond and the kids playground .three women completely covered up coming walking into the are with bags and sit down there are a bunch of families with there kids watching the ducks in the pond needless to say people started getting a little nervous and the area started to clear out .last sunday there was a women in the full black hajab outfit you could only see her eyes with her husband she put her prayer blanket up against the wall of the jewish museum and started praying this is just a few block south of the world financial center.I found that very strange.why all of a sudden is there a push to move into this area and open two mosque on the same street park place just one block apart ? And there seems to be a lot of cash flowing from somewhere both places have plenty of cash to buy the land.I would bet you some of the money could be track back to the Saudis.I saw and interview done by the CBN with the imam.at the end of that broadcast the news reporter said that the big mosque was planing to open on sept 11,2011 why the hell would the open it on the 10th anniversary .I do not find what they are doing suttle in the least and what the hell is wrong with our elected official are behind this I guess they can’t recognize a wolf in sheeps clothing

  19. Bob Eckerfield
    May 24, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Just think how nice this “community center” will look burning.

    Editor — I let your comment post for a reason, even though some may take your comment as a threat, not as what more likely was a prediction.

    I would caution all those who, like us, this planned ‘Sharia House’ tears at their gut to stick to what it would become. Do not feed these Islamists with propaganda, your words to “prove” they are victims. They are victims no more than the “300 Muslims” who “died on 9/11” (Imam Rauf’s words) were victims. To win the day, we all must stick to the facts and pass those facts far and wide.

  20. henri
    May 24, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Point of view of a french reader: if the US build such a mosque, we will be desperate about the mental sanity of the US people; 3000 of your innocent people have been killed by the islamic ideology and you want to build a monument for those who propagate this religion of supremacism and hate?? In Europe, we need a mentally sane US!

  21. May 24, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    This simply cannot stand. The trick is in the money.

    Paying in cash with that large amount should bring in the IRS at the very least.

  22. MadeinAmerica
    May 24, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Islam is a political ideology, not a religion. Do not be fooled by the patience of Muslims. Their insidious plan will conquer the world at the expense of Christians and Jews ie. the Infidel. Creeping sharia is destroying America and must be curtailed at once.

  23. Larry Sanders
    May 24, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Muslim mosque on Ground Zero is something that should NEVER HAPPEN PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Kirby J. Killman
    May 24, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    As ugly and insensitive as the Muslim plan is to build a mosque at this site, I find the disinterest of American citizens to be even more disgusting. There should be millions of people falling all over themselves to sign this petition. 27,000 at this reading is a joke.

    Editor —

    Despite an initial lack of media coverage outside of New York City, the level of national interest by the citizenry seems to be increasing steadily. Also, the initial story (December 2009 in the NY Times) of an otherwise disused former coat factory being used for Friday prayers, even though Imam Rauf was quoted as having unspecified plans for something grander, was disturbing yet too vague to raise much alarm (some tried, to their credit). We were watching for developments but no word came until the Cordoba Initiative announced its plans less than two weeks ago; they told us and others enough to begin serious research using the clues they provided. Stay tuned; there is much more coming.

    • Gabe Lawrence
      May 24, 2010 at 2:28 pm

      My frustration with all-things-Muslim has me feeling like Kirby Killman feels. Because of that, I want to thank the Editor for replying to Kirby’s point in both a professional and encouraging tone.

  25. Sean Shryne
    May 24, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Building a fifteen story super Mosque on the site of the 9/11 tragedy is a calculated, deliberate, and gross insult.

    I can easily imagine that Muslims worldwide would view such a such a grand Mosque erected on a site made holy to Americans by the death of thousands, at the hands of devoted followers of Islam- as well, a statement of victory.

    • Gabe Lawrence
      May 24, 2010 at 2:29 pm

      …and it wouldn’t stop at just victory…it’s empowerment for them too!!

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