A poll released on Thursday by Time magazine found that many Americans express suspicious views of Islam, and more say that building a Muslim community center and mosque near ground zero in New York City would be an insult to the victims of 9/11 than say it would serve as a symbol of religious tolerance.
BEIRUT — Two Shiite Muslim television stations in Lebanon canceled a controversial program about Jesus on Friday, saying they do not want to stir up sectarian conflict in the country.
The debate has particular resonance in Lebanon, an Arab nation of 4 million people with a grim history of sectarian strife. The country’s population is divided into 18 sects, including Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Christians and Druse.
An attack on a Christian aid group in Afghanistan that left 10 medical workers dead a week ago underscores the perils of faith-based organizations that operate in Muslim nations and the perception that they are promoting a Western agenda.
Six Americans, two Afghans, a German and a Briton working for the International Assistance Mission were gunned down in northern Badakhshan province in what Afghan officials say is the worst such attack in the country’s history. The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying the medical workers were trying to convert Muslims and were carrying Bibles written in Dari, one of the country’s two main languages.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Muslim clergyman who wants to build a cultural center and prayer room two blocks north of ground zero, has repeatedly denounced Islamist terrorism. He admonishes members of his congregation to be, in his words, “both good Americans and good Muslims.” He’s not an ally of Osama bin Laden; he’s an adversary.
Still, it was predictable that some New Yorkers who lost loved ones on 9/11 would object to building a Muslim institution so near the site of their tragedy. They’re entitled to their feelings, and a cultural center that hopes to bridge gaps among Muslims, Christians and Jews needs to take those feelings into account. But they’re not entitled to make their feelings a basis for discriminatory government action.
KABUL — Gunmen killed 10 members of a medical team, including six Americans, traveling in the rugged mountains of northern Afghanistan, demonstrating the reach of insurgents far from their traditional havens and shocking the expatriate community here.
The attack was one of the deadliest on civilian aid workers since the war began in 2001. That it occurred in Badakhshan province, a scenic mountain redoubt considered a peaceful refuge from the war, added to growing concern that the Taliban has seized on northern Afghanistan as its latest front.
Plans to build an Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site moved forward after New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to allow the demolition of a building that would be replaced by a mosque.
The panel denied landmark status to a long-vacant 152-year- old lower Manhattan building on Park Place, formerly a Burlington Coat Factory department store. The unanimous vote cleared a hurdle for the site to be torn down and the mosque, recreation and cultural center to be built.
Earlier today, a New York City panel — the Landmarks Preservation Commission — cleared the way for the Cordoba Initiative to build a community center, which includes a mosque, near Ground Zero. By denying historic preservation status to a building already on the site, the panel allows the mosque to go forward. It has the strong support of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a number of other right-thinking New Yorkers.