There are plans to build a mosque at Ground Zero, and emotions are running high on both sides of this plan. The planned Cordoba House will be a 15-story community center that includes a mosque. Funded with payday advances from the Cordoba Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement, the community center was first announced at a Lower Manhattan Community Board meeting this week.
Mosque at Ground Zero a part of a community building
The plans for a mosque at Ground Zero are not for a purely religious building. Instead, the Cordoba House project will include a performance art center, gymnasium, swimming pool and prayer space. The planned space for the community center and mosque at Ground Zero is the former Burlington Coat Factory building, between West Broadway and Park Place.
Detailed plans for mosque at Ground Zero
The Cordoba Initiative estimates that the community center and mosque at Ground Zero will cost about $100 million. The building would be funded by the Initiative, the American Society for Muslim Advancement and donations. The land for the Cordoba House is already owned by the Cordoba Initiative and does not involve any zoning changes. Even though the building does not require approval by the Community Board, the Initiative chose to discuss the plans at the Community Board Meeting voluntarily. The Cordoba House would be open to all and would aim to help promote Muslim-American understanding through offering needed community services.
Rumors about the mosque at Ground Zero
There have been many rumors flying about the possibility of a mosque at Ground Zero. One rumor states that the building is planned to open on Sept. 11, 2011 (the 10-year anniversary of the attacks). However, the Cordoba House will take between three and five years to build after funding is secured. Groundbreaking for the building may happen soon, but no solid plans for a date have been set. The building will be more than a mosque at ground zero; it will offer community services that are lacking in the mostly business oriented area.
Reactions to the mosque at Ground Zero
The reactions to the community center and mosque at Ground Zero have been understandably mixed. Some friends and family of September 11 victims are decrying the plans as “hypocritical and sacrilegious.” Other New Yorkers, already shaky from recent attempted attacks, are calling the plan “dangerous.” At the same time, other friends and family highlight that 10 percent of the victims of the September 11 attacks were American Muslims. Muslim community leaders respond by pointing out that religious extremists do not represent the feelings or actions of most American Muslims and are just that – extremists. So what do you think? Is this community center an insult or an effort at religious tolerance?