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Tariq Ramadan Debates Moustafa Bayoumi on Proposed Islamic Center Near Ground Zero

On the ninth anniversary of 9/11, thousands take to the streets of Lower Manhattan for and against the plans to build an Islamic community center near Ground Zero. We host a different kind of debate. Tariq Ramadan, one the world’s most renowned Muslim scholars who was barred from entering the United States for six years under the Bush administration, says it should be built elsewhere. He debates Mustafa Bayoumi, an associate professor at Brooklyn College and author of How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America.

14 commentaires - “Tariq Ramadan Debates Moustafa Bayoumi on Proposed Islamic Center Near Ground Zero”

  1. And…….since there is a mosque already there, and that would probably remain, moving the Center would give us another one! 🙂 Seriously, some great interfaith and cultural bridges could be built if the Center is moved, a prayer/meditation space for all is opened within, and some politicians/religious leaders could come out and say, “Thank you for respecting the sensitivities of those in disagreement, and because I support the wonderful work you are doing with this Center, here is a $$$ donation. I plan to attend the first day it opens.” After all, we really want nonMuslims rubbing shoulders with Muslims at this Center. We would be awesome witnesses to the truth of The One, InshaAllah! This is our mission; not just to build mosques (the whole earth is a mosque), but to be witnesses:
    أشهد أن لا إله إلاَّ الله و أشهد أن محمد رسول الله “I bear witness that there is no god but God, and I bear witness that Mohammad is the messenger of God.”

  2. There was a lot of repetition with the prof making repeated mention of what he believed was symbolism of sorts. I don’t think the argument was particularly robust and I certainly don’t think we should translocate our subjugated, insecure, and downtrodden European mindsets to the USA.

    Either way, this isn’t an issue on which Europeans should be commenting on in this way when so many Muslim New Yorkers are campaigning FOR the cultural centre.

    I agree with the American professor and feel that ultimately he is better suited to contribute more authentically to the debate

    1. Are you listening to what Prof. Tariq is saying? He is not exporting the European mindset to America but instead urging the Americans to think more comprehensively. He is repeating what apparently you refuse to hear.

      Some American leaders are today talking about proposing an Abrahamic Centre instead of an Islamic Centre. Are they Europeanising America as well. A pity to read from Muslims such worrying comments : if you do not think as I think, so go back home!

      Professor Tariq may surprise you but what if he is right on the long run? Allah a’lam

      Peace be with you

  3. I am very disapointed with Mr. Ramadan Being passive in the face of a chalenge of this magnitude, will set back our community a thousand years. It is the nature of Mankind to be selfish, and there are more people that are like sheep than shepherds. what is gonna stop anyone from opposing a future site anywhere? anyone can call any place sensitive!Laws in America are all set on a precedent. SO by acquiescingto the nay sayers you in fact will be setting a precedent that can create the very zones your afraid off, Islamic free zones. Mr. ramdan,Ion’t know what it is.your passive Naive or just Ignorant of the great importance towards this project. Whatever it is I urge you to stop this what I call surfing dude attitude and face reality, because not building the center will give credence to the enemies of Democracy everywhere, not just in the USA. WHat made this country great is the very fact that it stood up to all chalenges big or small, at any cost, so long as they were in the interest of AMerica. As an American Arab Muslim, and a person that values Democracy and non passitivity towrds Evil. Of course I support your free opinion, but I do not agree with you. Just think about this for a moment: Hitler started by burning the Talmud, later the properties of the Jews, later on he started burning People. Had he been chalenged when he burned holy books, I doubt he would have been able to burn people. Had the powers that later defeated the Nazzis not been passive early on in the fight, there is great chance that the holocost would have been avoided. You see Mr. Ramadan, we can not be passive towards wrong or evil.

    1. Just like how the Prophet (pbuh) was “passive” in his treaties with the Jews of Medina and “passive” with the treaty of Hudaibiyah”?

    2. MashaAllah:

      Most people who do not agree with Dr. Ramadan’s view of how to proceed on the ground zero mosque issue are missing the understanding of Hudaibya and its impact on the overall psyche of the issues involved. Otherwise I might find myself advancing the views espoused by Dr. Ramadan and Prof. Moustafa Bayoumi at different points of the debate.
      I am afraid Dr. Ramadan again has the inside track on how to proceed on the issue at hand.
      For me an additional reason is to rejoice at the way two muslim profs are trying to solve an essentially american problem and would have advanced the american understanding of the issues involved.
      Another way way to look at it would be to prick a few holes in the tension filled balloon to save it from taking off causing too much unnecessary collateral damage.

  4. In This situation, there are not just some racist peopple and populist parties who are making a mediatic war against muslims and Islam ==> There is more, there is a collective trauma deeply anchored inside people hearts, people who really think this is an agression towards americans…
    _ So I think the position of Mr Ramadan is to say: Let’s build the Mosque some where else so that Americans would see that muslims are respecting them and respecting their feeling, so that those people who against the mosque would strat to understand that muslims are not the ennemy and that they understand that musims wants to leave with them in peace. So let the muslims show to americans they respect them and anti-mosque americans would also respect muslims et beguin to start knowing them and understanding them. Later, when americans really understand Islam is not the ennemy, they will fight for the rights of muslims, all together.

  5. Faisel abdu Rauf and his Cordoba Inititive have used space as a mosque since shortly after the horrendous events of 9/11/2001. This space is in the building the Iniative now wishes to renovate to include an Islamic Center and InterFaith Spaces, as well as educational space. New York’s Mayor and other officials have endorsed the plan and have made it clear that the building is not eligible to be placed on a register of protected space because of historical as opponents had hoped the city would do.

    Faisel Abdu Rauf was the first muslim to speak to a nation about the true tenents of Islam in efforts to diffuse tension and to build bridges of understanding between all religions-particularly the Ibrahimic montheism of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. He spoke hours and hours and hours to a television audience who was horror stricken at the carnage committed under the banner of Islam, a religion 99.999% had never heard of, despite the fact that Islam was in North America long before even the English colonists arrived in the 17th century; despite the fact that most of the founding fathers (Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Washington-to name a few) recognized Islam and its contributions throughout the ages and used that knowledge to ensure two things for the emergent nation-state we know now as the US: that any person living here would have the freedom to worship as and where and how they please and that no one or no entity could declare any religion to be the only religion of this nation-state.

    Mayor Bloomberg said the only thing that needs to be said about this rennovation of this Centr: Building it is the only RIGHT thing to do in THAT space.

    I have an idea that Tariq Ramadan either doesn’t understand the nuances of how politics suddenly reared its ugly head surrounding this building, or doesn’t understand the Constitutional right the Initiative and muslims and all who live in the US have and must uphold. Or could it be that he has something else in his thought which he is not making transparent?

    I have great respect for Tariq Ramadan even if there are areas in which I totally disagree with him about, and this issue about moving the Center location to suit others is one area of disgreement I have with him.

    It would be the gravest mistake for anyone in the US to allow a group or groups no matter their ideology or precepts to prevent the Center from being completed on the spot it already inhabits. It needs to and must be there on Park near the area Islamist extremists tried to destroy to protect everyone’s Constitutional rights and to tell the world in no uncertain terms that Islam and Judaism and Christianity and the other religions are indeed welcome in the US and the US will protect all rights to worship where and how and when according to respective beliefs. As Tariq Ramadan often says: THIS is VERY IMPORTANT: The Center Should be There Because it is a Symbol of the Diversity that is the US and that is Islam and her two co-monotheistic religions.

  6. What happened on 9/11 is not an american trauma, it is a global human trauma. Whoever is responsible, in the collective mindset for most people and in the Western media it has been muslims flying in jets into those towers. Being human means having certain beliefs and mindset, right or wrong. Even when or if wrong, those are being lived. The Quran is clear, as are the Hadiths. Muslims will undergo a lot of rejection in societies. The Quran also states, those that are rejected the most are closest to Allah. Another advise most muslim men and women do not seem to get is that in non-islamic countries it is forbidden to kindle hatred against Allah. Islam is not a mere political doctrine, it is a spiritual path. Any muslim has to keep striving to understand the advises written in the Quran, else what is the point. So again a missed chance. Geert Wilders felt so much power overthere, gets his financial support also in the US, while the Dutch people pay 2 million euro’s per year for het securityprotection. If the intention is an interfaith cultural center, why did i not hear anyone speaking out, that grieving Americans had a point, where was the compassion, the empathy, while at the same time asking for support, financially and otherwise to come up with a different location, thus building cohesion among americans. Instead reactions are typical and all about male ego’s even when some of them are women. A Natobase in Afghanistan attacked, people killed because of it. Anyone knowing anything about psychology knows these are all reactive emotional responses. A muslim should know and realize that does not fit a spiritual way of living and is in no way an example of the Greater Jihad, the Inner Transformation of ones self.
    We are put together to learn from eachother according to the Quran. Feeling entitled to whatever is becoming a tiresome childlike tune. Victimisation of Muslims is a dead street. As is written in the Quran, if we do not like our circumstances we have to change within.
    A planet is dying, people are starving and they cannot choose to move anywhere else. And yes muslims have seeded this image of extreme terrorists worldwide, whether understandable or not, thus stigmatizing all muslims.
    As an elder woman i am tired of all these men acting out.
    Yet as is stated in the Quran, when a woman and a man truely become as one, they will change the world, will change humanity. Becoming as one, can only be done when both genders are equal, take responsibility and act as adults. Reactive responses are then no longer a luxury one can afford oneself. In the Islam borders like America or Europe do not exist. We are all one uma and any muslim should speak out to another muslim when they think they are mistaken. Victims can never change perpetrators. Emotions, anger will not change anything. Any muslim has the duty to stand up against dictators. All muslims know they have failed to do so, within their own arab/muslims nations for decades. Blaming those outside your ethnocentric community is far easier than speaking out in your own community, risking rejection by peers and elders. Yet any muslim should muster the courage to stand in truth, as all falsehood will ultimately wither away. This has served Geert Wilders and those behind him well. Easy shots, even when historically untrue. For those who want to believe them, they will serve to poison their hearts even more. But let us not forget the unbearable pain americans suffered because of 9/11 is legitimate. Like all pain in any islamic country people suffered is legitimate. Let us care and heal!!

  7. I am a great fan of Tariq Ramadan’s works and have read many of his books published in English but in this instance I disagree with his position. Although I understand his reasoning for suggesting moving the Islamic Centre to another site in order to show that Muslims are sensitive to their fellow country man -I think this issue has gone beyond these bounds.

    This is now about the right of American Muslims to live in America and practice their faith as equals with all other Americans.

    This issue is more about freedom and religious liberty (which are the fundamental principles upon which America prides itself) than about a building.

    Itis sad and unfortunate this issue has been blown out of all proportion and has created such divided views amongst the American community (greatly fuelled by politically motivated forces).

    It is times like this when long held principles and ideals are tested that good people all over the world should voice their concerns and stand on the side of truth and justice, otherwise mischieve-makers will run riot and corruption will spread!

    1. I think Mr Ramadan understand better than anyone how populist parties can instrumentalize the fact that muslims are building a mosque near Ground Zero.
      _ As he said in an earlier interview, Geert Wilders wan the first one to ask that we have to burn the Quran ==> Then later he retracted from doing it. Yet, the political party of Geert Wilders’ political party (Party for Freedom) has become the party N°1 in Netherlands …
      _ ==> It means, that this guy has just said that he was gonna burn the Quran, and now his party is one of the most important one in Netherlands.
      _ Tariq Ramadan uderstands very well that it may happen in America too ==> So he is trying to say to muslims you shouldnt push hard, because the more you push hard, the more populist parties will gain notoriety in America.
      _So it is a question of sensitivity right, but i also think there is a big risk of the rising of populist parties in America ==> They are gonna use that against muslims. ==> So ramadan is saying to Muslims: do not let them use that against you, you need to struglle for your rights that’s true, but you souldnt also let populist parties to instrumentalize your fondamental rights against you.

  8. I can understand the frustrated/angry reactions above. I think people feel like they loose a natural alliance: you. You will have to do your best (apperently more than in the article/debate) to make it clear it comes from a good place.

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