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The EditorsSeptember 13, 2010

Michael Enright’s face betrayed fear and perplexity as he became the tabloid news embodiment of America’s sudden binge of Islamophobia after his arrest for attempting to murder a Muslim cabbie in New York. Mr. Enright had returned in April from a short tour of duty in Afghanistan as a videographer for an interfaith group. What demons he brought back with him we will never know, but he appears to have carried them to New York. After an afternoon of heavy drinking on Aug. 23, he hailed a cab, questioned the driver about his religion and then began slashing him with a knife.

Most of the voices that have spoken out against the proposed Park51 community center near ground zero in lower Manhattan will deplore Mr. Enright’s attack and then deny that their campaign had anything to do with it. Fair enough. No one will ever be able to say for sure what propelled Mr. Enright. But what the “no mosque” pundits cannot deny is the sour contribution they have made to respectful, rational dialogue in U.S. civic life.

Words have consequences; rhetoric is not disconnected from action. Mr. Enright may be unbalanced, and what little self-restraint he possessed may have been broken by alcohol. But civic leaders promoting intolerance and fear cannot offer even these excuses. The voices raised against Park51, formerly called Cordoba House, which would be run by precisely the kind of moderate Islamic leadership the United States should be encouraging, have stirred up an unpleasant neo-nativist brew across the nation.

Initial reaction to Park51 was generally positive. In December 2009 it was described by its founders as a push-back against radical Islam, and it even received a thumbs-up from the conservative personality Laura Ingraham on a Fox News broadcast: “I can’t find many people who really have a problem with it,” she told a co-founder, Daisy Khan. “I like what you’re trying to do.” But in May the initiative was discovered by Internet provocateurs who have prospered on Islamophobia. It was not long before political opportunists and assorted talk-radio and cable-TV barkers joined in. “There is no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center,” Newt Gingrich said. “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington.” “Permits should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America,” Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association wrote, “let alone the monstrosity planned for Ground Zero. This is for one simple reason: each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government.”

In May a pipe bomb exploded outside a mosque in Jacksonville, Fla. In August a mosque in California was vandalized, and a suspicious fire broke out at the construction site of an Islamic center in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The heated debate over Park51 has now made home-grown hate a national phenomenon.

A few weeks ago it might have been acceptable for people of good will to support the right of Muslim Americans to practice their faith freely while objecting to the location. But to suggest today, as many have, that this proposed facility is insensitive to the personal loss of so many survivors of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, diminishes the luster of freedom for which 3,000 men and women were killed that day and for which the first responders died.

There are valid rebuttals to the case for impropriety. Park51 is not meant to celebrate the triumph of terrorism, but to confront it; it is a community center, not a mosque; it was intended to promote interfaith relations; it is located blocks from the heart of the World Trade Center site, while businesses and storefronts that hardly honor the sacredness of the suffering and loss experienced at ground zero may be found close by.

But now the ugliness has become widespread. People are being assaulted because of who they are, and constitutionally protected attempts to build mosques are being thwarted out of fear and ignorance. America is beginning to look like the crusading enemy of Islam that Al Qaeda claims it is. Political and religious leaders must cease waffling on this issue and unequivocally support both the right of Muslim citizens to build a place of community and worship—open to all—and the appropriateness of building in proximity to a place where cunning and cruelty took the lives of so many. Park51 can be a counterforce here and abroad to a toxic nativism that is propelling a clash of civilizations most Americans find repugnant. If we allow our worst fears and suspicions to deny Muslim Americans associated with the Cordoba Initiative a chance to do the good work they propose to do at Park51, then we are resigning ourselves and our children to a future of testy relations at home and abroad.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Mary Ellen Carroll
13 years 9 months ago
Thank you for speaking up for sanity and common sense.  The best of our American and Christian traditions supports the building of a mosque anywhere in the USA. I find it distressing to hear rabble rousers like Peter King and Rick Lazio arguing against the mosque.  they should know better.  Shame on them and all their ilk.
13 years 9 months ago
Yes, indeed, thank you for your calm, reasoned defense of building the Muslim community center at its chosen spot a couple of blocks from the edge of the World Trade Center campus.  Such public expressions of support are desperately needed now, given the panicky expressions of hate & fear toward all Muslims that are currently swamping our newsprint, airwaves, & internet.
David Pasinski
13 years 9 months ago

Would that Archbishop Dolan would say the same.  Perhaps he could state, " I withdraw my offer to be an arbitrator in this situation because I have a definite point of view.  Those who wish to be a cultural center that contains a place of prayer - a mosque- should not be inhibited anymore than other relgious group. There is really nothing to mediate."

James Collins
13 years 9 months ago
I support the right of the muslims to build the mosque there. However, I also believe it would be very insensitive of them to do so. If they go ahead with it I think they may regret it. It will be a lightning rod for protests every time there is an islamic terrorist action. Your blanket condemnation of everyone who does not support it is every bit as onerous as what you say others are doing.
Igor Driker
13 years 9 months ago
13 years 9 months ago
Having just watched a C-SPAN telecast of a group of religious leaders, (apparently bly hosted by the Muslim Associaation of North America), I agree with the noble and truly American objectives of bringing about mutual understanding and friendship between Muslims, Jews and Catholics through education, information, pursuit of the truth and trust between peoples of all faiths. However, I believe there is enough responsiblity to go around before pointing the most accusative finger at primarily those who have spoken out so harshly and some moderately against the placement of Park51 at a site so near (though blocks away) from ground zero. A large number of those outraged perhaps might not have been affected as they were at the initial shock had there been a campaign that anticipated the reactions of many by explaining and inviting highly visible dialogue of inter-faith groups before the "horse was out of the barn".  I believe it is not too late for that type of education in a pacific and trusting environment to be carried out.  Outright rejection of a religious group without information is posivitely wrong. But we are living in a decade where millions know much about Islam other than the atrocious treatment of women and the tortuorus and horrendous punishments of offenders of the Islam culture which seem, in our culture, to be punishable in more humane ways.  I would like to believe this is, as described, a moderate sect of Muslims but what so many of us know is what we have seen by the steady flow of TV, Print and Internet news that frightens many of us.  In short, Muslims have a responsibility to continue to have dialogue as they did on C-SPAN today to avoid further racial disprect for them as a group and to point out the specific differences between them and their more traditional Islamic neighbors in the Mideast.
William McGeveran
13 years 9 months ago
I think some of the hysteria is on the part of people who believe that Islamophobia has gone wild. or that it is indistinguishable from the belief that those plannng to build this imposing  Islamic Center would be better advised to choose a site not deliberately close to the World Trade Center. That being said, it is obvious that bigotry is bad and to be deplored, and that  ecumenism and freedom of religion are important. I agree we should uphold these ideals, and should be ready  to condemn bigotry and discrimination against a particular religions, in the US or anywhere else. .
13 years 9 months ago
I believe the Golden Rule should be applied now more then ever. As Mr. Gingrich proposes, Let's do unto the Muslims as they would do unto us. OK, Imams, shieks, etc., Open your borders to Christian and Jewish places of worship to be built in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, etc, and we'll let them build their community center near ground zero here in the US of A. Seems fair to me.
Bernard Geisler
13 years 9 months ago

I believe the Golden Rule should be applied now more then ever. As Mr. Gingrich proposes, Let's do unto the Muslims as they would do unto us. - No, I don't think so. Ilk, like Gingrich pick and choose the worst, in their attempt to smear all Muslims.

First, its not all Muslims. Saudi Arabia may limit Christianity but other Muslim countries or societies such as Indonesia do not.

Second, the golden rule to do to others as they do to us does not apply to reprehensible actions. To do so is a perversion of the golden rule. Would you use the golden rule to justify shoving Jews in ovens here simply because the Germans did it?

Third, why in heavens name would any decent person attempt to justify applying reprehensible rules that exist elsewhere? To do so is to lower our standard of freedom and morality to their level. And that is really un-Christian.

This is good article which succinctly points out there was no issue. But then reprehensible Islamaphobic trolls made it so. Sadly, so many get sucked in.
13 years 9 months ago

Please.  The Golden Rule is (more or less) "Do unto others as you WOULD HAVE THEM do unto you."  That means to treat others as you would like to be treated, not as they have treated you.  To twist it the other way is counterproductive and inaccurate.

Karen Tank
13 years 9 months ago
I applaud this article - without equivocation. 
Thomas Stammen
13 years 9 months ago
As Thomas Sowell writes in his August 31 column,

"The proposed mosque near where the World Trade Center was attacked and destroyed, along with thousands of American lives, would be a 15-story middle finger to America.

It takes a high IQ to evade the obvious, so it is not surprising that the intelligentsia are out in force, decrying those who criticize this calculated insult."

This isn't a legal issue or about bigotry, fear or Islamophobia, but about common decency, sensitivity, and wisdom to do the right thing in the shadow of and in light of a catastrophic event, 9/11.  Yes, do unto others…

13 years 9 months ago
New Yorkers know well the peaceful quality of their Moslem neighbors: professionals, shop keepers, cabdrivers, and a Moslem NY State Supreme Court judge. Hundreds of mosques abound in NY and elsewhere for sacred prayer space. We live well together! Bigots of all kinds abound. Many mosque-site opponents are bigots, but hardly all. The public has been saturated by the media, almost daily, to associate the word, "Islam", with violence: 9/11, suicide bombers, death fatwas on writers, punishment by stoning to death and other provisions of shatira. In England, many convicted bombers have emerged from mosques. Moslem efforts have been made to have portions of shatira, esp. in family law, be accepted in place of English law! Alledged terrorists, now under trial, were associated with a mosque in Newburgh, NY. The flowering of Islam is seen in freedom-lacking nations like Saudi Arabia.  

In this context, the mosque people have a word problem, Islam. As to their brand of Islamism, their acceptance would be helped by openly dissociating themselves from some specifics of the other Islam: the fatwahs, barbaric punishments, wife-beating permission. A general declaration of peacefulness would hardly suffice. It is appropriate to ask: who are on the board of directors? where is the money from? how would the center deal with unpeaceful types? Only naivite would hesitate to ask these and other questions.
Clementine AVETA
13 years 9 months ago
I totally disagree with the convenient and carefully-woven excuse of Tolerance, at this point. It is the sour-sweet pill which has brought the western world to its present state of moral chaos. The Roman Catholic Religion is being kicked about like a football, and Catholics have long shut an eye to its systematic thwarting, in the name of Peace and Tolerance. There is so much ground on which an Islamic Centre can be built, in order to respect the Religion of local Muslims; the very fact that so many Americans feel hurt by its prospective location ought to take precedence. Principle dictates precedence. Democracy urges us to accept and co-exist with other beliefs, in our beloved Country; it is not meant to disrupt respect of its Constitutional values, as represented by its brave People. May both sides see Reason. After all, Islam is a guest Religion in our Country.
David Smith
13 years 9 months ago
It's the height - or depth - of self-righteousness to state as though it were an incontrovertible fact that everyone who disagrees with you on this is a bigot and a neo-nativist.
13 years 9 months ago
"Mosque Hysteria" is a finely chiseled and skillfully sculpted editorial presentation as to what the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights imply, no require, regarding the free exercise of religion. However, the Cardoba Initiative, also called Park 51, does rightfully create some wrinkled brows, mine included, prickly and chafing as well to Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam, so to speak.

As far as I'm concerned regarding the revered safeguards of the First Amendment, I'm not sure that the intent of our Founding Fathers and Mothers would agree that the uninhibited exercise of religion means being able to build a church, synagogue, mosque wherever one wants, even if nobody else does! Of course we must respect the rational sensitivities of one another, individually and collectively, in non-discriminatory, mutually reciprocal ways. Resect for the sensitvities of others is not a one-way street! But there are common sense limits. Let me give a simple example which may, or may not apply satisfactorily.

If I were the administrator of a Catholic Hospital and a Jewish or Muslim patient felt uncomfortable with a crucifix on the wall, I would remove it out of respect for the felings of my Jewish or Muslim brother or sister. However, as a Catholic in a non-sectarian hospital with no crucifix on the wall, I would not expect the hospital to place one there to honor my religious sensitivities. That would be irrational, I think.

At the same time, I would expect the Jewish or Muslim brother or sister whose sensitivities I honored would, in turn, honor mine when threatened by bigotry from any source. Bigotry against Christanity is pretty rampant these days, especially towards Catholic Christianity. But that another story.

You see, respect works both ways, and as far as I'm concerned is rooted in the teaching of Jesus who said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!"

Yes, by all means build that Community Center with Mosque,-  contrary to what "Mosque Hysteria" asserts, "It is a community center NOT a mosque" it is  in fact a community center AND mosque. But do so with sensitivity towards the feelings of millions of Americans nationwide. Do not build at the present proposed site which does carry an "in your face" message! The World Trade Center cite is for many a burial ground for almost 3,000 Americans, a sacred place. Let the dead rest in peace! Everyone should respect that. Build near the cite but not at the proposed place. Is  that so hard to accept?

In synthesis, what this national dilemma needs is for another Francis of Assisi to emerge, a Saint who in 1219 won the respect of Sultan Melek-al-Kamil, even offering to the Moslem Sultan a peace proposal which he accepted, but which the Christians rejected! Even so, Melek-al Kamil and St. Francis of Assisi became friends and was escorted out of harms way protected by the Sultan with many gifts from the Sultan. Is there another St. Francis of Assisi out there somewhere to whom we can cry out trustingly, HELP!

Lori Amann-Chetcuti
13 years 9 months ago
"In short, Muslims have a responsibility to continue to have dialogue as they did on C-SPAN today to avoid further racial disprect for them as a group and to point out the specific differences between them and their more traditional Islamic neighbors in the Mideast."

Isn't the point of this center to promote dialogue, Igor?  I sympathize with people who are still hurting over the loss of loved ones on 9/11, but Muslims died in the attack too.  You cannot claim to want genuine dialogue on one hand and do everything to avoid being confronted with those painful memories on the other. 

The surest way to defeat an extremist group is to erode its credibility from within.  The terrorists' power lies in their ability to convince other Musilms that 1) America hates them and 2) the only way to be authentically Muslim is to hate America right back.

Moderate Muslim groups threaten extremists' grip on power.  By asserting themselves, they risk criticism from both Americans AND terrorist groups.  If they are willing to take these kinds of risks, we as a nation, should be able to wrestle with our grief and fear.  
Colin Donovan
13 years 9 months ago
Speaking of hysteria, the liberal hystreria that Islamobigots are the only ones opposed to the mosque, and only they, liberals, uphold the First Amendment, was to be expected. 

But what is to be made of the Moslem voices who call into question the sincerity of the proponents of Park51, the inconsistencies of explanation, the strange, no downright inexplicable, juxtaposition of their stated desire to reach out and dialogue and their absolute refusal to reach out and dialogue, fixating instead on the illusory benefit of some idealized cultural center in an idealized location? Something is simply not right about the Park51 project.
William Lindsey
13 years 9 months ago
I find it heartening that the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue issued a strong statement today  condemning the plan of Florida evangelical pastor Terry Jones to burn copies of the Koran on 11 September, to commemorate the 9/11 attacks in New York. 

The Vatican statement characterizes the plan to burn the Koran as "an outrageous and grave gesture against a book considered sacred by a religious community." It also notes that "[e]ach religious leader and believer is also called to renew the firm condemnation of all forms of violence, in particular those committed in the name of religion."

I hope the ueber-orthodox who claim to hang on every word that comes out of Rome will open their ears and hear this valuable message.

13 years 9 months ago

I would like to respond to the folks who are chastising others about being more tolerant of Islam and in particular, showing tolerance for the "mosque" or whatever edifice the Muslims wish to erect near Ground Zero. I suspect few question that the Muslims have a "right" to erect their mosque at that, or any, location. However, having a right to do a certain "thing" does not make doing that "thing" the "right thing to do." Case in point: Pastor Terry Jones wants to burn Qurans. He absolutely has the right to do that, but the fact that he has the right doesn't make the action itself "right." Imam Rauf says he wants this mosque to be a beacon of peace and good will. Well, it certainly isn't promoting any peace or good will at the moment. And if he and his followers were as sensitive as you "preachers" would have the rest of the US be, he'd pull the plug on this thing or move it to a less contentious location. I hear a lot about how we should be more sensitive and more tolerant of Islam. So, just to get an idea of how "intolerant" we Americans are of Islam I took a look at the FBI web site and garnered some statistics on hate crimes with a religious bias committed over the past several years. The results are pretty interesting. It seems as if the vast majority of religious biased hate crimes are committed against Jews, that for 2008, the last year for which statistics are available, the percentage of anti-Islamic incidents have decreased from the year before, and that the percentage of incidents that are anti-Christian are pretty close to the percentage of anti-Islamic incidents. I don't hear very much preaching about tolerance of Jews or Christians. In any pluralistic society, tolerance and sensitivity must be multi-directional.

Ronald Ruais
13 years 9 months ago
The editorial states "Park51 is not meant to celebrate the triumph of terrorism, but to confront it; it is a community center, not a mosque; it was intended to promote interfaith relations; it is located blocks from the heart of the World Trade Center site,"
I seem to recall a Jesuit saying "consider the source". Please consider the source of the man who made this assertion.

A bit of a truth split into pieces, "located blocks away from...". Please! Yes 2 blocks are block plural but why not include the 'two'.
Patricia Roberts
13 years 9 months ago
Why not make the proposed community center really Interfaith and have Christians and Jews join. Build a place of worship where together we may worship the only true God, Jaweh, Alah.
13 years 9 months ago

Jesus had more than just the Golden Rule to say about problems like this one.  I find it "interesting" that the Gospel for TODAY'S Mass is Luke 6:27-38 (below).  Isn't this a great opportunity for us to figure out what our primary principles are?

Jesus said to his disciples:
"To you who hear I say, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount. 
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.

"Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you."

13 years 9 months ago
Are not all you scholars and observers aware that the name of the new "mosque/rec center" is called Cordoba? Why?  The answer is in the history books. In 711 Islam conquered southern Spain and set up headquarters at  the Visigothic palace at Cordoba. It became the capital of Al Andalus, the state of Islam in Spain... in conquered Muslim/Moorish Spain. They recontructed the palace and made it a mosque. Do you think that's what the Muslims have in mind for New York City? A local capital in a conquered site? Why is it 13 stories high? For offices, meeting rooms, focal point or for  gym equipment? Think about its symbolic meaning and stop being so politically "correct."
LaRue Withers
13 years 9 months ago
You are right on target.  Today I had the misfortune in a "Christian" Bible Study to get involved in a very heated conversation in which some felt that burning the Quran in Florida was the same as Muslims building a mosque two blocks from the former Twin Towers.  (While, as you said, they seem to have no problem at all with unseemly established in the Towers' immediate area.)  The hate that some are dispensing against ALL Muslims is the most putrid, disgusting and un-Christian expression that I have ever witnessed in this country - bar none!  Having said something about "we" burning the Quran in Florida, - what do you mean "we?"  These same people do not even see that when radical Islamists do harm, we blame all of "them." The e-mail that I receive about ALL Muslims and their Quran is unforgivable.  I would like to know if they are willing to take these putrid e-mails to the Muslim physician that most of them use.  People are totally ignoring the purpose of this center - and they do not want to hear it.  I can only imagine what they might say about Muslims burning our Bible.  AT the same time, our value system has become so warped that I feel they would be much more offended by flag-burning.  True Christianity is disappearing from the United States and being displaced by radicals who know  how to hate well and are highly insulted if you point out to them the Sermon on the Mount or Jesus' direction to us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison and take care of the orphans and widows.  Which part of what Jesus said do they think He did not mean?
Christopher Kuczynski
13 years 9 months ago

Thank you to the editors of America for giving us a balanced picture of the controversy over the proposed Park51 Islamic community center and mosque.  At the end of the day, though, I was troubled by an internal contradiction in the editorial and cannot say I fully endorse the editors’ bottom line.


Acknowledging that “[a] few weeks ago it might have been acceptable for people of good will to support the right of Muslim Americans to practice their faith freely while objecting to the location,” the editorial asserts, only three short paragraphs later that “[p]political and religious leaders must cease waffling on this issue and unequivocally support both the right of Muslim citizens to build a place of community and worship—open to all—and the appropriateness of building in proximity to a place where cunning and cruelty took the lives of so many.” 


If persons of good will can acceptably object to the community center’s location, why must religious and political leaders unequivocally support its construction?  The answer the editorial suggests is ultimately a pragmatic one.  Opportunistic politicians and religious bigots have made the conversation about Park51 so toxic that unequivocal support is a way to send a message to the world that America is not like its enemies.


Yet to ask religious and political leaders who, in good conscience, hold a particular position to abandon it leads to the kind of pandering we are all too familiar with in our political process today.  The problem with the critics of the project is that the timing and content of their comments suggest that they are acting not out of conscience, but out of ignorance and bigotry or to gain some political advantage on the left or the right.


            In my view, the City of New York has an obligation to consider only whether this project accords with local laws, and will violate the Constitution if it takes the religious affiliation of the sponsors of the project into account when doing so.  Legally, then, the project may proceed, and the sponsors of the project must determine whether it will.  In doing so, consideration should be given to the needs of the Muslim community and the wider community that will be served by the center, but also to any legitimate concerns that may exist about the propriety of the center’s location in light of the collective trauma that Americans experienced on September 11, 2001.  


It is not the role of all religious and political leaders to endorse the project; their role is to foster a more civil and thoughtful discussion of the issues at stake than we have been hearing.



13 years 9 months ago
During my five years in an Arab country, 1980-85 I experienced Muslim respect for their Holy Book. Newspapers asked that readers clip out any sayings from the Koran and not throw them into the  garbage with the newspaper.   I question whether Christians have as much respect for the words of our Scriptures.  I understand that Saudi Arabia did not have an ambassador to Russia, because they were an atheistic country that didn't recognize God.  I was also told by Muslims that they respect people of the  Sacred Books - the Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Some folks tend to forget that the soldiers we are training in Afghanistan, and Iraq are Muslims wanting to protect their own people from extremists.
Larry Michaelis
13 years 9 months ago

The Enright attach had nothing to with the "mosque hysteria".  That is a sick man, committing a sick attack.  You equivocated your comparison but it still stands.  I think that most people who are against the mosque being built there, would, if it were built, welcome their new neighbors with open arms.  The good will generated by moving the mosque a block or two or three, rightly or wrongly, would go a long way.  We are light years beyond Europe in our beliefs and practices when it comes to freedom of religion.   

Mary Rofe
13 years 9 months ago
Who approved this development application?
They should be the ones held accountable for creating a situation like this.
Quite apart from the sensitivities of the public who understandably regard this whole area as a sacred site, this decision lacks vision and common sense.
People are not perfect!
We need to recognize that this development has been poorly sited and should have been stopped before it got anywhere near this stage.
It smacks of bureaucratic inertia and buck passing to me.
I would be calling your town planning department to account not attacking religion.
As for quoting 'the golden rule' (sic) the dictum requires a sense of the other person as much as recognition of self - christianity does not focus on self as the deserving object of all good but rather points out our unworthiness and need to put ourselves in the other persons place before making judgement.
Mediation is required but more importantly - call to account the public officials who threw fuel into this fire by letting the development get this far.
John Siegmund
13 years 9 months ago
I wish there was this level politician excitement concerning a truthful non-cover up investigation of the 9-11 treason as they have expended over this cultural center. We might have been able to save thousands of lives and our freedoms which are being eroded to keep us "safe".

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