WSJ op-ed falsely claims Imam Rauf said Ground Zero isn't "hallowed ground"


A September 20 Wall Street Journal op-ed falsely claimed that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said "Ground Zero can't be hallowed ground because there is a strip joint and an off-track betting office nearby." In fact, Rauf was referring to the proposed site for the Islamic community center, which is not at Ground Zero.

WSJ op-ed distorts Rauf's remarks about "hallowed ground"

Fouad Ajami: Rauf "insist[ed] that Ground Zero can't be hallowed ground." In a September 20 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Fouad Ajami, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, wrote:

There is no gain to be had, no hearts and minds to be won, in Imam Rauf insisting that Ground Zero can't be hallowed ground because there is a strip joint and an off-track betting office nearby. This may be true, but it is irrelevant.

A terrible deed took place on that ground nine years ago. Nineteen young Arabs brought death and ruin onto American soil, and discretion has a place of pride in the way the aftermath is handled. "Islam" didn't commit these crimes, but young Arabs and Muslims did.

In fact, Rauf was talking about the Park51 site, not Ground Zero

Rauf said it is "disingenuous" to claim that the block where Park51 will be built "is hallowed ground." From Rauf's September 13 appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations:

QUESTIONER: I'm dealing with an asymmetry whereby the act of putting your center where you are, at the moment appears as a form of a desecration to those people who think it is hallowed ground. How does the process of teaching work when the students take this perception of the teacher to the teaching process the teacher wants to bring to the students?

MR. RAUF: (Brilliant ?) question. First of all, it is absolutely disingenuous, as many have said, that that block is hallowed ground. As Clyde Haberman and many people have educated and taught and tried to teach the public, both Muslim and non-Muslim, that, you know, with a strip joint around the corner, with betting parlors, to claim it is hallowed ground is -- it's hallowed ground in one sense, but, you know, it doesn't make -- it doesn't add. So let's -- let's clarify that misperception.

But the important part of what I'm trying to do, and my work, is that we -- I need a space, I want a space where the voice of the moderates can be amplified. It's not good enough to teach where no students will hear you. We need to create a platform where the voice of moderate Muslims will be amplified. Everybody wants this. Non-Muslims want the voices of moderate Muslims to be amplified, and moderate Muslims want the voices of moderates to be amplified.

Park51 is not at Ground Zero. As a map published by the Wall Street Journal itself shows, the proposed Islamic community center would be located two blocks away from the site where the World Trade Center stood.

Map of Park51 site

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Religion
Wall Street Journal
Fouad Ajami
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