TOPIC 1
Should the West welcome new mosques? Should the East welcome other places of worship?
Is it wise or fair for host countries to place conditions and limitations regarding, location, size, height, style, or number of worship centers financed by foreigners or resident minorities? Should the sermons, preaching, and teachings imparted by religious clerics conform to the local culture, values and laws? Do you consider that uniform freedoms or constraints should be agreed upon by all countries without exceptions?

Wassim Al-Adel

Blogger and commentator

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master, that’s all.” At [...]

Sadik Al-Azm

Philisopher / Author Princeton University

While trying to follow, at great distance, the news and sharp controversies about the project to construct an Islamic Center and Mosque near Ground Zero in New York City, another telling occurrence deflected my attention in the direction of Washington, DC. On August 28, a host of right wing Americans, neo-conservative crowds and TeePartyUSA multitudes [...]

Tarek Barakat

Blogger and commentator

I am an Atheist! Well… maybe Agnostic since being an Atheist would require me to know something that I obviously have no ability to know. But you catch my drift. I believe that all religions, no matter how much truth they hold, are man made. Therefore the questions at hand are difficult for me to [...]

Nabil Beitinjaneh

International Consultant

In the 18th century, the town of Sür (Tyre in Lebanon) did not have a single Christian living in it. Jirjis Mishaqa (a Greek Catholic businessman) was persuaded by its two ruling Mutawäli sheikhs to move to the area with his family. When the Christians there had grown in numbers, work was begun on the [...]

Jihad Bitar

Ph.D., Urban Design

One sunny day in mid-September of the year 1998, after a 5 hour night drive I arrived to New York city for the first time. I remember crossing the Brooklyn bridge heading to Manhattan and being amazed by that bridge thinking of the time they built it and how much effort and science was involved. [...]

Elie Elhadj

Ph.D., Author/ Banker

An individual or a group of individuals in all and every country should be able to enjoy the freedom to follow whatever system of belief they might wish to follow. The state, any and every state, should respect and protect all citizens and residents regardless of religion or sect. Western Countries should welcome new mosques [...]

Mona Eltahawy

Journalist and public speaker

I’m a big fan of offense. It was offense that drew me to Park51, the proposed Islamic community centre and mosque in Lower Manhattan, two blocks from Ground Zero. But not for the reasons you think. For once, Muslims are not the ones offended but the ones being accused of offense by choosing to build [...]

Marc Gopin

Director, CRDC George Mason Uinversity

The battle against Islamophobia in America will be a long, hard fought battle that will leave Muslims quite weary, but it has been engaged before and successfully won. Just ask Catholics a hundred years ago, or Jews two hundred years ago. This will require persistence, coalition building, compromise, honesty, an evolution in communication skills, and [...]

Ayman Hakki

Prof. Plastic Surgery Georgetown U.

The Answer to the 9/11 mosque question is simple, but the question is what should actually be done? Let me start by addressing the mosque location issue. The answer’s twofold. A: Muslims should not want a mosque near the 9/11 site. B; Americans should insist we build a Muslim Civic Center right there. That way [...]

Joseph Helou

Research Assistant / Carnegie MEC

The events of 9/11, and their ensuing impact on international relations, changed the face of west-east relations for almost a decade. The Islamic identity of all the 9/11 hijackers, President Bush’s announcement of a “Crusade”, the past administration’s use of ideologically charged language such as “regime Change”, and the American-led wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, [...]

Hussein Ibish

ibishblog.com

The controversial planned Islamic community center in lower Manhattan, a few blocks from the “ground zero” site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks demonstrates a rather large gap between the perceptions of many if not most Western Muslims and their non-Muslim compatriots, and the difficulty of balancing sensitivities and rights. The project itself was an extremely [...]

Hind Kabawat

Conflict Resolution specialist

Arguably the most famous words Jesus ever uttered were “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” That sentiment perfectly expresses the Christian gospel’s message of love, forgiveness and redemption and those were lessons I learned many years ago when my grandfather and grandmother took me as a very young girl to our [...]

Ghassan Karam

Professor Economics

Utopias are perfect societal structures that are goals to be attained. They are dreams that will never be fulfilled whether they are based on Plato’s Republic or Thomas Mores’ ideal economy. These are dreams that provide us with targets to aim for but that we will not attain. If a utopia is to be achieved [...]

Hind Obiedin

Editor AlMaarej

على بعد مائة وخمسين متراً من برجي التجارة العالميين اللذين تمّ تفجيرهما في 11 سبتمبر 2001 ونُسب هذا العمل الإرهابي آنذاك لمنظمة متطرفة هي منظمة القاعدة والتي تدعي الانتماء إلى الإسلام والذي هو منها براء أعلنت مؤسسة إسلامية أمريكية رغبتها في إقامة صرح حضاري كبير له صفة إسلامية، وهو عبارة عن مركز اجتماعي إسلامي متعدد [...]

Nasser Rabbat

Director Islamic Architecture at MIT

I will begin with a critique of the way Islamcomment.com framed its maiden topic of discussion.  First, it bought into the inflammatory sobriquet, The Ground Zero Mosque, to designate what we all now know is neither a mosque nor will it be constructed on Ground Zero.  We should use the proper name for the project, [...]

Taufiq Rahim

Political Analyst / Blogger

“To build a mosque at Ground Zero is a stab in the heart of the families of the innocent victims of those horrific attacks.” These were the words of Sarah Palin in late July, as the so-called ‘ground-zero mosque’ controversy started to swirl into whirlwind. The opposition to the building of a proposed Islamic community center has [...]