News / USA

Sensitivity vs. Rights in US Mosque Controversy

Islamic Leadership Council Members (from left)  Imam Talib Abdur Rashid, Imam Al-Amim Abdul Latif, Zaheer Uddin at news conference in New York, 1 Sep 2010
Islamic Leadership Council Members (from left) Imam Talib Abdur Rashid, Imam Al-Amim Abdul Latif, Zaheer Uddin at news conference in New York, 1 Sep 2010

The ongoing controversy over a proposed Islamic Center in New York is pitting constitutional rights against the sensitivity of many Americans over human losses caused by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.  The Islamic Leadership Council, a group claiming to represent more than 55 major mosques and Islamic organizations in New York, said American Muslims are no less sensitive than fellow citizens who oppose the Islamic Center.

Imam Al-Amin Abdul Latif of New York's Ash-Shura Mosque told a news conference by local Islamic leaders at City Hall that the construction of the Islamic Center near the site of the 9/11 attacks is not the only issue at stake in the current controversy.

"The broader issue is the issue of ethnic and religious hatred being spread by groups trying to stop the building of mosques and Islamic institutions across the country," said Latif.

Another Imam, Talib Abdur Rashid, said many Americans are ignorant of the fact that hundreds of Muslims were among those who died at the World Trade Center on 9/11.  Several were first responders, such as fire fighters and emergency medical workers, who came to the site before the twin towers collapsed on them.

"We do not believe that we are good enough to die, that we are good enough to minister to others, that we are good enough to respond to tragedy, but we are not good enough to be able to build a place where we can pray, right where we worked and died," said Rashid.

Speaking at a recent New York rally against the proposed Islamic Center, Sudanese immigrant Simon Deng, himself a Muslim, drew cheers when he noted there are already more than 100 mosques in New York.  He spoke on the block separating the World Trade Center and the proposed Islamic Center. "Take this mosque and take it far away from those who died here.  What is your problem by insulting us?  What is your problem by bringing back the pain?"

The Islamic Leadership Council noted it was not Islam, but Muslim extremists, who caused that pain.  The Council also rejected language that distinguishes between Muslims as them and Americans as us.  Its members note there are millions of Muslims in the United States with a history in this country that goes back centuries.

Also addressing the news conference was New York Congressman Charles Rangel, who noted for every group of immigrants that came to the United States, another group did not want them here.  He said the problem of opposition to Islam is not a problem for Muslims, but a problem for America.  Rangel called on Americans to do the right thing by respecting the Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom for all.

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid