Monday, August 9, 2010

Ad Against Mosque Approved

You have to wonder about the value in things like this. Probably better ways for people to spend their time and money, but the show goes on.

New York City's transit agency has approved a bus advertisement that depicts a plane flying toward the World Trade Center's towers as they burn along with a rendering of a proposed mosque near ground zero.

The ad was paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an organization that opposes radical Islamic influence in the United States. The group's executive director says she doesn't find the ad offensive.

The group sued the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to demand it accept the ad, which was approved Monday.

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz says the agency doesn't endorse the ad's views.

The plan for a mosque just blocks from the World Trade Center site has ignited a national debate about the limits of tolerance and the symbolism of ground zero.

Friday, August 6, 2010

New York Says Thank You Foundation Donates National 9/11 Flag to National 9/11

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum announced that The New York Says Thank You Foundation (NYSTY) has donated The National 9/11 Flag to the museum collection in time for the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The not-for-profit organizations commemorated the gift at an unfurling ceremony overlooking Ground Zero.

Destroyed in the collapse of the World Trade Center and stitched back together by tornado survivors in Greensburg, Kansas, the flag has become a symbol that reinforces the same commitment to service and volunteerism that was felt throughout the Nation and the world on September 12, 2001.

The goal of The National 9/11 Flag Tour is to display this historic flag at leading venues nationwide, to empower local service heroes in all 50 states with the privilege of stitching the flag back to its original 13-stripe format, and to inspire 300 million Americans with the flag’s rich visual history in order to deepen our sense of citizenship and national pride and bolster the spirit of volunteerism on the 9/11 Anniversary and year-round. For more information, to ‚sponsor a stitch‛ or contribute to the restoration effort, individuals and corporations can visit

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Opportunity for Collaboration

With plans for the building of a Mosque moving forward near the WTC site, it is interesting how this is becoming a political issue, not just a religious issue or even about remembrance and tribute. For many Americans, a Mosque near the site of the 9/11 attacks symbolizes infiltration and giving ground to an unknown evil (or often the word terrorist is invoked, which really is for most people a word for an unknown enemy that is most likely Muslim). Is a Mosque really the incubator for terrorists? Is this a question of the chicken or egg? Clearly there are people in the world who want to do evil, and they will do so whether they are Muslim, Christian or agnostic. The real issue here is seizing on an opportunity to bring together two sides and let a community split by the horror and tragedy of 9/11 bring some healing to one of the most diverse and celebrated cities in the world. Diversity is what NYC is all about; a place where the world is on showcase. So, why wouldn't there be a Mosque, let alone near the WTC? Instead of attacking the idea and making it about politics and religion, let's turn this into a story of Americans joining together and building something better.

Landmarks Panel Clears Way for Ground Zero Mosque

A city commission on Tuesday denied landmark status to a building near the World Trade Center site, freeing a group to convert the property into an Islamic community center and mosque that has drawn national opposition.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 9-0, saying the 152-year-old building blocks from the site of the Sept. 11 attacks wasn't special or distinctive enough to meet criteria to qualify as a landmark. Commissioners also said that other buildings from the era were better examples of the building's style.

National and New York politicians and the Anti-Defamation League have come out in recent weeks against plans for the mosque, saying it disrespects the memory of Sept. 11 victims. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who also chairs the foundation building the Sept. 11 memorial, has defended plans for the mosque.

Bloomberg today joined City Council Chair Christine Quinn and several religious leaders to reiterate his support for the mosque, which has drawn criticism from some Republicans and family members of those who died in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Bloomberg said the firefighters and other first responders who died in the attacks had done so to protect religious freedom. Read more here.