Cordoba House: NO mosque near Ground Zero?

09/09/2010 Comments (29)

1 | 2

The situation around Ground Zero may be changing somewhat since I wrote my mega-post series on Cordoba House a few weeks ago.

There will be, it now seems, no “9/11 mosque,” or even “close to 9/11 mosque.” In fact, it looks like there will be no mosque at all. In spite of what the official websites of the Cordoba Initiative and the Park51 project once said, changes in the websites and a new statement by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf indicate a different trajectory for the project.

Whether this a change in tack or a clarification of intent is not entirely clear. Not long ago, as I documented, the Cordoba Initiative and Park51 websites both indicated that the planned facility would include...READ MORE

Filed under ground zero, islam, mosque

The Politics of Blasphemy: Offending Others as Free Speech

09/08/2010 Comments (42)

Blasphemy is in the air, it seems. The last day of September will mark the second annual “International Blasphemy Day,” so designated by the Center For Inquiry, a think tank that promotes science and secularism. Meanwhile, you don’t have to wait till then to find numerous YouTube videos featuring desecration of the Blessed Sacrament. In Spain, as Pat Archbold blogged yesterday, a priest struck a young man for desecrating the Eucharist. The fisticuff made headlines; otherwise, it would be just another desecration.

September 30 was chosen for International Blasphemy Day to commemorate the 2005 publication of controversial cartoons of Muhammad in a Danish newspaper in 2005, and the protests...READ MORE

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Douthat on Moderate Islam & Imam Rouf

08/30/2010 Comments (17)

Just a quick follow-up to last week’s mega-post series on the “Ground Zero Mosque” and Imam Faisal Rouf:

Catholic blogger Ross Douthat recently wrote a couple of measured, sensible posts (post 1, post 2) about Imam Rouf and moderate Islam—at least, I find them measured and sensible, since they coverge nicely with my own take on the subject.

On the tricky business of building bridges and the tendency of such pioneers to seem shifty and two-faced, Douthat writes that some Western critics insist that “moderate Muslims” must prove their “bona fides” by “making a frontal assault on Islamic culture as it currently exists.” Would-be “bridge builders” like Rouf are seen as “suspect,...READ MORE

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Cordoba House: A Closer Look at the "Ground Zero Mosque"


08/24/2010 Comments (29)

Ground Zero, July 2010 (

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Although my normal blogging beat is movies, I’ve been writing 9/11-related pieces since September 2001. I live in New Jersey, but New York is practically my second home city; I went to school there, and I’m there all the time for screenings and such. On September 11, 2001 I watched with my own eyes from my balcony at work across the Hudson in New Jersey as the towers burned and fell.

I didn’t know anyone who died at Ground Zero, but my brother-in-law, whom I mentioned in that first story and in other 9/11 related pieces, was in the dust cloud on that day. Almost exactly five years later, right at the time that numerous cases of 9/11-related respiratory...READ MORE

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Cordoba House: A Closer Look, Part 7

Building Bridges

08/24/2010 Comments (32)

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Previous: The Mosque and the Monastery

Finally, one last point about the Carmelites at Auschwitz is worth noting. The Carmelites were not forcibly expelled; they left in response to objections from Jewish groups—though it was Pope John Paul II, not the Carmelites, who acknowledged the legitimacy of Jewish concerns in this regard, and the nuns apparently took their sweet time about leaving, missing the pope’s deadline by a few years.

The Park51 project should not go forward at 51 Park Way. But what should opponents do about their concerns? The best solution would be if project sponsors came to recognize the insensitivity of their proposal and voluntarily...READ MORE

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Cordoba House: A Closer Look, Part 6

The Mosque and the Monastery

08/24/2010 Comments (2)

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Previous: What’s In a Name?

Attempts to express the insensitivity of the Cordoba project have not always been as effective as possible. Opponents have compared it to a Japanese monument at Pearl Harbor or an American monument at Hiroshima. While these examples illustrate the principle of the need for sensitivity and respect in connection with what may be called sacred sites, as direct analogies they are more misleading than illustrative. Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima were bombed not just by, respectively, Japanese and Americans, but by Japan and America. These were acts of nations, sanctioned by their governments and carried out by their military. By...READ MORE

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Cordoba House: A Closer Look, Part 5

What's in a Name?

08/24/2010 Comment

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Previous: How Close is Too Close?

What about the name Cordoba House? As noted above, the project is being co-sponsored by Rauf’s Cordoba Initiative, and a number of sources report that the project was originally called Cordoba House, but was subsequently changed (perhaps in response to controversy) to the neutral, non-descriptive “Park51,” after the street address. However, it seems project sponsors are using both names—but not interchangeably.

The Park51 website calls the project “the community center at Park51,” but also speaks of a “center for multifaith dialogue and engagement” within the community center called Cordoba House. Perhaps the name...READ MORE

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Cordoba House: A Closer Look, Part 4

How Close is Too Close?

08/24/2010 Comment

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Previous: Location, Location, Location

Advocates attempt to turn this logic on its head, arguing that proximity to the site of the 9/11 attacks makes the site a desirable location for a facility that sponsors say will be devoted to promoting Muslim-West relations. What, they ask, could be a more powerful rebuttal to the radical Islamic narrative about the Great Satan America’s implacable enmity toward Muslims and Islam than for Americans to welcome and accept Muslims here, of all places? What better way to showcase our commitment to religious freedom than to refuse to allow bitterness over the attacks to harden our hearts toward other Muslims who had...READ MORE

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About SDG

Steven D. Greydanus
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Steven D. Greydanus is film critic for the National Catholic Register, creator of Decent Films, and a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Newark. With David DiCerto, he co-hosts the Gabriel Award–winning cable TV show “Reel Faith” for New Evangelization Television. Steven has degrees in media arts and religious studies, and has contributed several entries to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, including “The Church and Film” and a number of filmmaker biographies. He has also written about film for the Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy. He has a BFA in Media Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and an MA in Religious Studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, PA. Steven and his wife Suzanne have seven children.