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New York has countless mosques, but recently a plan to build a large mosque and Islamic cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero has sparked controversy. Some conservatives want to ban the construction of the mosque, claiming its an insult to the people who died on September 11th, while libertarians tend to argue that religious freedom is a constitutional right.
In the wake of 9/11, many Muslims have outspokenly condemned violence in the name of their religion. However, critics of the faith, and critics of religion in general, have suggested that the faith can indeed breed extremism, and that many passages in the Koran, if taken literally, seem to even condone the slaughter of non-believers.
It is politically expedient to label an enemy as guilty of terrorism, but for the label to have objective meaning, it must have a definition. A crude definition of terrorism, is that it is the act and strategy of fighting a war by explicitly targeting civilians, where the implicitly better moral alternative is directly engaging the enemy's military. Under this definition, does America have the moral high ground?
Shortly before the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the country's heroin production had seemingly fallen to historically low levels. At the time, the Taliban's official position was that drugs were considered immoral in Islam, and that the government's ban on drug cultivation was working. Shortly after the collapse of the Taliban, the former Head of Drug Control confessed that the Taliban were merely engaged in price hiking, and the ban was a ruse.
Skeptics of the conventional account of the collapse of the twin towers suggest that their fall was not physically possible except by timed explosives.
On August 6 and 9, 1945, the U.S. President Harry S. Truman ordered the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, upon which Japan surrendered, ending World War II. Over 200,000 people died, mostly civilians. It has remained the only time atomic bombs have ever been used in warfare.
Civilian casualties are inevitable in war, but is it an acceptable strategy to explicitly target civilians?
The Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp in Cuba is a POW camp run by the United States. Its critics claim it breaks international law, because its prisoners are abused and held indefinitely without fair trial.
On the day of the 9/11 attacks, George Bush made the statement "The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts". A week later, Bill Maher, host of 'Politically Correct', while agreeing with the president that the terrorists should be hunted down and punished, disagreed that the terrorists were cowardly. This caused a great deal of controversy, and shortly afterward, his show was canceled, arguably making him a modern day martyr of free speech.
The standard account of the September 11th Attacks is that they were orchestrated by Al Qaeda. However, some people, particularly critics of the United States, have argued that the US Government knew about or even planned the attacks.
Satoshi Kanazawa
Repeated carpet bombings of Tokyo in March 1945 did not faze them. The only thing that would convince the Japanese people, and, more importantly, their military leadership, of the utter American technological superiority and the complete futility of resistance were the atomic bombs, which they did not have. They would never have surrendered had we not dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That would have necessitated [a far bloodier] ground invasion of mainland Japan...
Karl Compton
[asking a] well-informed Japanese Army officer in Yokohama, [what] would have been the next major move if the war had continued. "... We would have kept on fighting until all Japanese were killed, but we would not have been defeated," by which he meant that they would not have been disgraced by surrender. ... On the basis of these facts, I cannot believe that, without the atomic bomb, the surrender would have come without a great deal more of costly struggle and bloodshed.
Winston Churchill
There were those who considered that the atomic bomb should never have been used at all. I cannot associate myself with such ideas… I am surprised that very worthy people—but people who in most cases had no intention of proceeding to the Japanese front themselves—should adopt a position that rather than throw this bomb we should have sacrificed a million American and a quarter of a million British lives...
Donald Trump
It's very insensitive and it shouldn't be there. I'm a big believer in freedom of religion, but I think the mosque being in that location is absolutely wrong.
The Economist
...the complaint seems to boil down to a vague sense that doing Muslim stuff near ground zero is an unhappy reminder of terrorism, because the terrorists claimed to be acting in the name of Islam. ... [In any case, it's] impossible to be sensitive both to those who see the mosque as an affront and those who see opposition to it as proof of prejudice, which is why America has a constitution to adjudicate such disputes. And in this [case it] comes down squarely on the side of the mosque-builders.
M. Zuhdi Jasser
...radicalization will only accelerate until the American Muslim community develops a palpable pro-liberty, anti-Islamist response. This war of ideas has been nearly impossible with much of the media, government, and academe unwilling to engage in the tough work of theo-political discussions of necessary Muslim reform. Muslim youth and young adults will continue to be susceptible to the separatist jihadist ideas of radical Islamists unless we provide alternative liberty-based winning ideas...
M. Zuhdi Jasser
I am an American Muslim dedicated to defeating the ideology that fuels global Islamist terror -- political Islam. And I don't see such a "center" actually fighting terrorism or being a very "positive" addition near Ground Zero, no matter how well intentioned. To put it bluntly, Ground Zero is the one place in America where Muslims should think less about teaching Islam and "our good side" and more about being American and fulfilling our responsibilities to confront the ideology of our enemies.
Michael Bloomberg
It is my hope that the mosque will help to bring our city even closer together, and help repudiate the false and repugnant idea that the attacks of 9/11 were in any ways consistent with Islam.

New Comments

0 Points       Capricious       25 Mar 2015     Is Islam fundamentally a peaceful religion? Disagree
Muslims can be peaceful people. Every individual is different.

But their belief or ideology is not so friendly.

I wish I could "save" (moderate) Muslims from their religion.

0 Points       Capricious       25 Mar 2015     Do Muslims have the right to build a mosque near ground zero? Disagree
9/11 was done in the name of Islam. They followed the Quran word to word. Why should we allow this?

0 Points       Capricious       25 Mar 2015     Is it acceptable to target (i.e. kill) civilians in war? Disagree
No effing way.

0 Points       tellvinay2003       14 May 2013     Do Muslims have the right to build a mosque near ground zero? Disagree
Why we want to memorise such disasteraus incident for ever?
Why don't we make a new World Trade Center on the same place and start with new Entusiasm to demolish the fear of terror for coming generation.

1 Point       MTC       23 Feb 2013     Is Islam fundamentally a peaceful religion? Disagree
Obviously not, just look at the people who believe in Islam the most.

0 Points       MTC       23 Feb 2013     Did the US Government play a part in the 9/11 attacks? Disagree
All evidence points to the fact that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Islamist terrorists.

1 Point       Nashhinton       23 Jan 2013     Do Muslims have the right to build a mosque near ground zero? Agree
Yes. Muslims have the right to do what ever their conscience tells them as long as it doesn't force a nonbeliever into submission and compliance to their religious belief. The constitution guarantees religious freedom under the first amendment while promoting secularism and separation between government and religion.

1 Point       Rebekka       16 Jan 2012     Were the atomic bombs dropped on Japan justified? Disagree
To get straight to the point, I firmly disagree. Here, allow me to illustrate for you, a scene.

You are standing in the streets of Hiroshima, 1945. The world has just slipped out of war, but your home country is still fighting against the Americans. Now, you realise that Japan bombed Pearl Harbour, but it was only a phase of the war, correct? You don't feel too terribly upset for the people of Pearl Harbour. It was, after all, a military base. War is war is war. No long-lasting damage was done, the bombs that your country dropped on Pearl Harbour weren't even high power.

Looking up at the clear blue sky above, you see a few plans. Nothing too suspicious, nothing unusual. But upon further inspection, you notice the blue circle and white star symbolic of the nation that your country is at war against. Your eyes widen, you start to run. You've seen this in your nightmares; you know what is going to happen.

"Cover," you think, "I have to find cover..." But it's too late. Your world is thrown into chaos the moment you see the... thing being dropped from the sky. Obviously, the object is a bomb. You run faster and faster, trying to find some form of shelter from what you know is about to come.

It's no use.

The bomb hits the ground, and depending on your location, a number of things happen to you.

1. Within thirty feet of Ground Zero: you are instantly vaporized. You feel nothing, and neither the birds who happened to be flying over Japanese airspace. You (and they) are dead.
2. Within a mile of Ground Zero: you feel a searing pain erupt from your body. You are being burned alive, from the inside. If this is the case, you are lucky. Other people's molecular structures are completely rewritten, often leaving the bodies either disfigured or turned inside out. Either way, there is no hope for you. You are dead.
3. Within three miles of Ground Zero: you start to burn as well. However, you may not be doomed to die soon. No, your skin just turns coal black and shrivels up, your hair is gone. You are carted to a hospital, and you are denied the one thing that you really, truly desire: water. The doctors refuse to give you water, because giving you water will harm your now-brittle skin and organs. Eventually, you get water or you become too dehydrated. Either way, you are dead.
4. Within five miles of Ground Zero: your injuries heal, though you feel weak all the time. Pretty soon, you start to adapt mutations: growing nerves in your hair or fingernails. Your skin turns purple, your veins inflate, your muscles in your arms and legs start contracting on your bones and eventually break them. About a year or so later, you will die.

Did you know that the fallout from the A-Bomb causes leukaemia? Because you are twelve. You were born in 1943, and you are currently living in Fukuoka. Your neighbouring city, Nagasaki, was blown up ten years ago. The sky over the city still glows a hazy orange at night, though it's barely noticeable anymore. When your doctor tells your mother that you have leukaemia, she bursts into tears. You go to a hospital and start chemotherapy, but you know that you are going to die. Six months later, you do. Still twelve. Still innocent. Still young.

So, tell me. Were America's actions really justified? Can you honestly say that they were, now that you've "experienced" only a few of the horrors of the Atomic bombs? The A-Bomb was an untested weapon. Before America dropped it on Japan, he should have at least figured out what kind of power it packed.

Granted, this is coming from a German. A German who has lived in America for most of her memorable life, but a German nonetheless. An Axis Power. So don't believe me, if you don't want to. Go to Japan and see for yourself, in the various Hiroshima and Nagasaki museums.

1 Point       Nashhinton       23 Nov 2011     Is Islam fundamentally a peaceful religion? Disagree
Islamic fundamentalism is a dangerous ideology because it interprets the holy books of Islam literally. The quran and the hadith have many passages that condone unjust violence against the Jews and it justifies the murder of infidels and nonbelievers. Any type of religious fundamentalism, especially the fundamentalist alternatives of monotheistic religions, all teach strict adherence to absurd doctrines and literal interpretations of scriptures while promoting unjust bigotry and cruel opposition to science and civil liberties.

0 Points       Jake Christensen       02 Nov 2011     Were the atomic bombs dropped on Japan justified? General Comment
that is true but i think they would have evacuated most of the citizens because they would have know about urban warfare where as the bombs they knew nothing about and could not evacuate the citizens so it killed more people

0 Points       Jake Christensen       01 Nov 2011     Is it legitimate for the US to label their enemies "terrorists"? General Comment
i agree with you and osama bin laden but we did attack japan and killed thousand with the atom bombs in ww2 and they were citizen too but America hand no remorse about it and we actually celebrated when we drop the bombs on japan plus remember that during that time not all Japanese Americans were spy's but we moved them to basically a mild concentration camp so i believe we should not be able to label others until all of American accepts we were terrorist in ww2 and possibly killed more civilians than any other country in the world

0 Points       Jake Christensen       01 Nov 2011     Were the atomic bombs dropped on Japan justified? Mostly Disagree
yea but the problem with that is that was it in Japanese or was it in English because English was most likely banned from japan in that time also was the source that you got that from was it reviewed by multiple parties or cultures to say it was true or did you make that up

New Editorial Comments

1 Point       iiisahomo       07 Jun 2011     Were the atomic bombs dropped on Japan justified? Editorial Comment
lmao. this just kinda made my day. (:

Terrorism Question Index

Were the atomic bombs dropped on Japan justified?
Should the US close Guantanamo Bay?
Do Muslims have the right to build a mosque near ground zero?
Is Islam fundamentally a peaceful religion?
Did the US Government play a part in the 9/11 attacks?
Were the 9/11 hijackers cowardly?
Is it legitimate for the US to label their enemies "terrorists"?
Did the Taliban ban drug cultivation because it was "un-Islamic"?
Is it acceptable to target (i.e. kill) civilians in war?
Was the collapse of the twin towers only physically possible by controlled demolition?
Can terrorism be dealt with without violence?
Has the US military ever considered terrorizing its own citizens?
Has the money spent on airport security since 9/11 made us safer?