Posts Tagged ‘Burlington Coat Factory’

The anti-Muslim hate movie, The Ground Zero Mosque: The Second Wave of the 9/11 Attacks, is wowing the American right

March 7, 2011

 

Planning for a Muslim community center in lower Manhattan, 2-1/2 blocks from Ground Zero, was proceeding in an orderly fashion. A sponsor had purchased the former Burlington Coat Factory outlet, slightly damaged by debris from the 9/11 attack, and a Muslim Imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, was holding regular Friday prayers while the municipal rules were being followed to get final approval, which came last July, when New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission declared that the building wasn’t a historic landmark. I wrote about the process here.

But the hate-mongers had just barely started their ugly work, Blogger Pamela Geller got traction with her rants equating Islam with 9/11, and now boasts about her “SRO crowd at CPAC [the Conservative Political Action Committee—a powerful force in republican politics] and a packed house at the St. Luke’s Theatre in Manhattan,” for her “documentary,” The Ground Zero Mosque: The Second Wave of the 9/11 Attacks.

The trailer is short, and all fair-minded people should see it, as the guiding force behind opposition to the Park 51 project in lower Manhattan, and to other mosques in California, Tennessee, and around the USA.

 

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President Obama, time to do the right thing about the mosque near Ground Zero

August 18, 2010

Some days ethics backs you into a corner. You have to choose between doing what your inner voice is saying is right—or not. That day is here for President Obama.


He made a stirring statement about religious freedom last Friday at a Ramadan dinner. The next day he equivocated: “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country is about.”


Score a miss for Presidential leadership. His conflicting statements poured fuel on the burning controversy.

· Americans generally believe Muslims have a right to worship, just not there.

· One and one-half billion Muslims thought America was a land of religious freedom, not at war with Islam, but aren’t certain.

· Manhattanites mostly think people ought to be able to do whatever they want.

· Families of 9/11 victims are divided


You can’t please everybody, Mr. President. Time to do the right thing. But what is the right thing? Should a Muslim community center-cum-prayer area be built on the site of a decrepit ex-Burlington Coat Factory, hard by an Off-Track Betting parlor, a bar, a porn shop, and some run-down office buildings 2-1/2 blocks from Ground Zero?


The opponents say it’s a matter of respecting sensitivities of people who lost loved ones on 9/11. (more…)

The mosque at Ground Zero is friendly, unobtrusive, and as American as the 92nd Street Y

June 12, 2010

I went to see for myself what the mosque at Ground Zero is like. Considering the fuss made over the mosque by the New York Post and by the thousands of people who post rabid anti-mosque messages every three minutes on a Facebook group, I thought it would be easy to find; just go to Ground Zero and look around.

Nope, you can’t see it from Ground Zero, and none of the half-dozen locals I asked had any idea what I was talking about. I finally remembered that it was in a former Burlington Coat Factory store. I googled “Burlington Coat Factory Ground Zero New York,” and there it was: 45 Park Place (closed). Two blocks up Church Street from Ground Zero and a half-block into Park Place.

You can’t see the mosque from Ground Zero, and you can’t see Ground Zero from the mosque. We walked in and were greeted by Kemal, the caretaker, who was busy scrubbing the floor. He invited us to take off our shoes and look around. There wasn’t much to see—old drab retail space, completely empty except for the indoor/outdoor carpet that serves as a prayer rug.

The Imam is Feisal Abdul Rauf, a graduate of Columbia University who has worked for twenty years to build bridges between American Muslims and the broad public, and between America and the Muslim world. (more…)

Furor erupts over American Jews’ plan to build a synagogue near Ground Zero

May 12, 2010

Some Americans are up in arms over the prospect of a big new synagogue in the old Burlington Coat Factory site near Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center towers destroyed on 9/11. There’s even a Facebook page called “1,000,000+ people who disapprove of building a synagogue at Ground Zero!” It has 20,389 members, up from about 7,000 two days ago. The word is spreading virally on the internet, and people are thronging to the site to sign up.

The site’s self-description reads,

Jews want to put a SYNAGOGUE WITHIN 600 FEET “GROUND ZERO”! This page’s opinion is this synagogue is a symbol of conquering America; they could have put it somewhere else away from Ground Zero – hallowed ground – but they chose this spot for a reason.


Join us, and show America – and the Jewish world – that is an insult, and cannot stand!


This groups is NOT about attacking Judaism or Jews; it’s about the appropriateness of putting such a building in that location. Also, Obama has nothing to do with it; if you want to blame someone, blame Mayor Bloomberg – he approved of it.

The man leading the effort to build the synagogue is Rabbi Frank Rubenstein, who explained to The New York Times, “We want the world to know we condemn 9/11. In my congregation are many people who died on 9/11.” The Times described the rabbi as following a path of Judaism focused more on spiritual wisdom (more…)