9/11 Families: No Mosque on Our Sacred Ground

There continues to be controversy about the 13-story Mega Mosque to be built in New York City approximately two blocks from Ground Zero, the site of where the World Trade Center used to stand before it was ruthlessly destroyed by Muslim terrorists. Because 3000 people died on September 11th, 2001 at the hands of the Islamic extremists Ground Zero is now considered a cemetery and sacred ground. The Mosque will be called the Cordoba House and will include a community center.

NewsRealBlog interviewed a cross section of family members and friends to hear their views on the plan to build the mega mosque.

Debra Burlingame is the sister of Charles “Chic” Burlingame III, the pilot of the American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. She is a prominent spokesperson for the 9/11 families and a co-founder of Keep America Safe, a website that believes in taking the fight to the terrorists, with Liz Cheney and William Kristol.

Gordon Haberman is father of Andrea who arrived in New York on September 10th for her first business meeting outside of Wisconsin, where she lived. The business meeting took place at the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th. He is a board member of the National Air Disaster Alliance and Foundation.

Alice Hoagland is the mother of Mark Bingham. Mark, along with his fellow passengers on United Airlines Flight 93, tried to retake the cockpit from the terrorists who had murdered the pilots and were careening toward Washington., D.C. Alice helped to found Team Bingham, a nonprofit organization that assists with university tuition and expenses.

Joe Holland is the father of Joseph Holland. Joseph was 32 years old, married, and a new father of ten days. He was attending a meeting on the 92nd floor of the WTC on 9/11/01. Joe has established a memorial in Florida for the 2,983 victims of September 11.

Joseph Salama was Mark Bingham’s good friend and UC Berkeley fraternity brother. Mark was to be an usher in Joseph’s wedding on 9-11-2001. Joseph is a practicing Muslim who believes that “we will and must always celebrate life and freedom, and that good will triumph over evil.”

NewsRealBlog: Why do you think the Mosque/community center is being built?

Debra Burlingame: I am appalled the 9/11 attack, the death of my fellow human beings, is being used to further an all encompassing ideology; sharia law does not allow Islam to be a co-equal with any other religion. It must be the dominant religion. Remember that people who killed my brother believed in that ideology as well.

Gordon Haberman: It is a statement. Islam is trying to dominate and expand. This has to be one of the biggest Mosques-why are they building it in the shadow of the Towers?

NRB: Why are you against it being built?

Burlingame: This is an unbelievable lack of respect for the 9/11 families. There should be an awareness that the people who killed our loved ones will celebrate, propagandize, and view what is being done, what is being built as a triumph to their victory over the infidels on 9/11. These extremists have a history of building Mosques on top of conquest.

Haberman: My initial gut reaction is wow who would have thought this could happen.

Alice Hoagland: I happen to agree with those who object to the Mosque being built in that location. I am afraid that a Mosque built so close to the World Trade Center (WTC) site can easily be viewed as an affront to people who lost their lives on 9/11. For that reason I think it would be better put in another place. It is a pointless insult.

Joe Holland: I see the Mosque as a place where those that killed my son will be praying over his grave.

Joseph Salama: It is in bad taste considering the circumstances. Those close minded fools, who misread the Koran and subject the Muslim world to unnecessary prejudice, cannot and will not, make us hate each other. 13 stories are a bit excessive. It is not appropriate.

NRB: Are you against it being called the Cordoba House?

Burlingame: It is a white wash of history since the supporters of the Mosque claim religious tolerance. Based on a time in the Middle Ages where Cordoba was the capitol of Spain. Yet Jews and Christians had to pay a protection tax back then. Why would they need to be protected if there was religious freedom?

NRB: How do you feel about Mayor Bloomberg and the community board’s support of this building?

Burlingame: It is political correctness. They have to be seen supporting religious tolerance. Do you know we asked the vote to be held until we could make a presentation of the evidence but were ignored?

Holland: I am shocked that Bloomberg is supporting this. The government has to stand up for us.

NRB: What do you suggest doing to stop it being built?

Burlingame: The way to stop this is to get out the information as to the real reason behind this. Then there will be public pressure and public outcry.

NRB: If it can’t be stopped what do you suggest?

Burlingame: The “community center” that is being built is only going to teach about Islam instead of the interfaith dialogue that is being publicized. It is going to be an Islamic Center.

Haberman: They should devote it to who did this and why they did this. Is it going to talk about the death and destruction?

Holland: They should also build a synagogue, a church, a Buddhist Temple, all denominations if that is their objective-interfaith dialogue.

Salama: I think it should be conditioned so that it is a joint project with a synagogue and church on either side of it, that way people will be more united. It should be a Mosque of remorse, regret, dedication, and should never be a symbol of triumph and terror.

NRB: Do you agree with the analogy that a Japanese Temple was and will never be built at Pearl Harbor?

Burlingame: Not only a Temple but a whole cultural center would never be built. When did the burden shift to us, the victims and their families? Americans were killed in one of the most horrific acts done in the name of religion. I deeply resent that people are trying to change the narrative of 9/11 and use it to espouse Sharia Law.

Haberman: That is an interesting analogy. I don’t think the Japanese would have done it or it would have ever been allowed.

NRB: Why is the mass media ignoring the issue?

Burlingame: We are living in a world where the mainstream media is defining what should be reported. I have had dozens and dozens of interviews since 9/11, but I have never in nine years had reporters baiting and arguing with me over the issue of this Mosque at Ground Zero. They are not asking me questions they are debating with me. As journalists they have an obligation to report and print what I said, not to refute what I am saying.

Haberman: The media in general wants to avoid these issues for political correctness.

Hoagland: The mass media tends to have their own bias and that is why I applaud blogs.

NRB: Do you feel most Americans are with you or against you?

Burlingame: I happen to know there are liberals in New York City who are appalled and do not want this project to go forward. People are silent because they are afraid of being accused of being a religious bigot. That is how they muzzle the opposition.

Haberman: It should be a point of contention with New Yorkers. It is not a religious issue it is an emotional issue.

Holland: I was told no union members would work on it.

NRB: Is there anything you would like to add?

Burlingame: Americans need to stand up to defend THEIR values, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and all that the Bill or Rights stand for.

Haberman: I personally took pictures from many different angles of ground zero of that building. It overlooks ground zero at different vantage points. I consider it an inappropriate location.

Holland: I am waiting for the Muslim community to reach out and become more sensitive to the 9/11 family members. They should be speaking out more against this.

Hoagland: This seems like a pointless insult and I hope they take the suggestion and move it elsewhere so it is less obtrusive.

Salama: When I hear it is going to be that tall I question who is funding it and why is it being built that extravagantly. Anyone who would want to build it that size makes me completely suspicious and worried about who is funding it.

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