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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Cordoba House: A Closer Look, Part 3

Location, Location, Location

08/24/2010 Comment

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

Previous: Who is Imam Rauf?

Located a couple of blocks from the former World Trade Center, this site in question is partly occupied by a building that until 2001 was leased to the Burlington Coat Factory. On September 11, the building was damaged by airplane parts falling from the stricken towers. After that, it stood empty until 2009, when it was purchased by a Muslim-owned real estate and development company and began to be used for prayer services for lower Manhattan’s growing Muslim community. Services at the site are led by Imam Rauf. The project will span the lot for the present building and an adjacent building to be purchased.

Opponents argue...READ MORE

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Cordoba House: A Closer Look, Part 2

Who is Imam Rauf?

08/24/2010 Comments (2)

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

Previous: Mosque or Community Center?

Routinely described in the mainstream media as a moderate and a champion of moderate Islam, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf says that his work and organizations are dedicated to “building bridges” between Islam and the West. Critics charge that Rauf is actually a supporter of radical Islam and terrorist violence.

The facts seem to have been somewhat muddled on all sides. The problems start with Rauf’s own penchant for slippery, obfuscatory rhetoric and agenda-laden doublespeak — probably a symptom of his “bridge building” efforts to reach out to multiple constituencies at once. In addition, sympathetic media have engaged in...READ MORE

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Cordoba House: A Closer Look, Part 1

Mosque or Community Center?

08/24/2010 Comment

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

Previous: Introduction

Note (9/9/2010): Since this post was written a few weeks ago, project sponsors appear to have clarified or changed their plans regarding the mosque. See “Cordoba House: NO mosque near Ground Zero?” for the most recent information.

Are they building a mosque? According to the official project website and other reliable sources, the answer is yes, though the mosque will be one part of a much larger project.

The plan is to build a $100 million, 13-story edifice called “Park51” which will reportedly include a range of cultural and recreation facilities, including a gym, swimming pool, basketball court, theater and performing arts...READ MORE

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Where Have You Gone, Gregory Peck?

08/20/2010 Comments (92)

Last weekend saw a lopsided box-office collision of two very different types of action hero: In one corner, The Expendables, an old-fashioned 1980s-style action-fest drenched in testosterone, adrenaline and blood; in the other corner, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, starring Michael Cera as a geeky slacker with mad video-game-style combat skills.

It’s a stark illustration of how much the action landscape has changed. A quarter of a century ago, action heroes were musclebound, lantern-jawed he-men like Schwarzenegger and Stallone who weren’t afraid to get down and dirty. Even more vulnerable heroes like Harrison Ford and Bruce Willis, who actually got hurt or scared and made mistakes, were...READ MORE

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Eat Pray Buy!

Consumer Spirituality in Age of Oprah

08/16/2010 Comments (3)

Will the new Julia Roberts movie Eat Pray Love encourage viewers to buy into spiritual ideas? Or will it just encourage them to buy?

Fans of Liz Gilbert’s “Gnosh-tic lit” memoir can now wear their spirituality on their sleeve … on their whole wardrobe, in fact, not to mention their fragrance and jewelry, plus a raft of other merchandising tie-in products, from wine and tea to a $400 replica day bed like the one Roberts used in Bali.

Hollywood Reporter:

Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling 2006 memoir launched a self-discovery movement that could best be described by its full title: “Eat Pray Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia.”

Although Sony...READ MORE

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About SDG

Steven D. Greydanus
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Deacon 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.