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9/11 Widower Ted Olson Supports 'Ground Zero Mosque'

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After an extended discussion of the Prop 8 ruling, Andrea Mitchell asks attorneyTed Olson, whose wife Barbara was killed in 9/11, how he feels about the Park51 controversy.

Olson agrees with Obama that it should not be blocked:

"We don't want to turn an act of hate against us by extremists into an act of intolerance for people of religious faith."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP... 

In related news, Howard Dean is saying just the opposite, calling it an "affront to people who lost their lives."

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  1. He is so thoughtful, a Republican that should speak out more often in terms of tolerance. So lacking in that party these days.

    Posted by: davefromtampa | Aug 18, 2010 6:20:20 PM


  2. His wifes plane hit the pentagon. I wonder if he'd feel the same if her plane had hit one of the towers.

    Posted by: Eric | Aug 18, 2010 6:32:43 PM


  3. Yes. He would.

    Posted by: nodnarb | Aug 18, 2010 6:37:00 PM


  4. Wow. What a moral coward that Howard Dean is.

    He like the rest of "centrist" Dems love to compromise Americans' rights. He did it with us when he was governor of Vermont, and he wants to do it with the rights of Muslims.

    Thank FSM he isn't in any position that matters. I'm so sick of the spineless Dems who cave into right-wing, anti-human bullshit as soon as they come face to face with it.

    Why are we always running away from, rather than standing up, for our principles?

    Posted by: Chic Aqua | Aug 18, 2010 6:37:37 PM


  5. Oh, and Dean's cowardice is especially glaring when compared to the words of Ted Olson. Good for Ted!

    Posted by: Chic Aqua | Aug 18, 2010 6:38:55 PM


  6. Eric-

    There is already a mosque at the Pentagon!!! Besides, you are missing the point. It's called FREEDOM OF RELIGION!!! There were many Muslim Americans killed at the site as well. Also, the terrorists were NOT Muslim Americans.

    Incidentally, there is a Catholic church two blocks from my nephew's elementary school here in Chicago. Should I call on them to dismantle it because of it's closeness to so many children. Are all Catholics to be blamed and ostracized for the acts of pedophilia by some of it's priest?

    Posted by: Sean | Aug 18, 2010 6:41:02 PM


  7. He's endorsing their right to do it, not whether he believes it's the right thing to do. Big difference, and I don't blame him for not wanting to get involved in this.

    What undercuts say, Ibrahim Ramey's (the director of the civil and human rights division of the muslim american society freedom) argument for the it not only being legal, but an ethically permissable decision (the new mantra of many of its supporters)...is that if you were ask him what his opinion on gay rights are, or even the heads of the muslim american society what their views on lgbt equality are...you would clearly see the inconsistency in their reasoning here that not only is it legal (which they're more than happy to conclude that it's a good thing simply because it's legal), but it's ethically permissable. Rights for some but not for others, and it's very selective about what they say and do in this time...very political and not genuine.

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 18, 2010 6:45:37 PM


  8. OMFG!! REALLY HOWARD DEAN???!!!! WTF? I am shocked by his comments!!! I have long respected this man but his comments disgust me!!!

    Posted by: Sean | Aug 18, 2010 6:45:56 PM


  9. And howard dean is not saying the opposite, as he's addressing the tastelessness and insensitivity of the complete disregard for the causes of 9/11 and those who suffered. Howard Dean is not saying that it's not their right to do it...so no disagreement is happening.

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 18, 2010 6:49:13 PM


  10. Wow, Tank, wrong AGAIN! Ted Olson clearly believes that supporting religious freedom IS the right thing to do.

    Just more logical acrobatics from you.

    Posted by: nodnarb | Aug 18, 2010 6:56:56 PM


  11. But Tank this is still a short-sighted and intolerant view to take!!!! The imam advising the cultural center is a moderate Muslim. Even the Bush administration employed his service for Muslim outreach following 9/11.

    Using the word "tasteless" and "insensitive" is the height of YOU being tasteless and insensitive to not only this country's unalienable right to freedom of religion also the memory of those Muslim Americans who died in those towers and those Muslim American first responders who tried to rescue EVERYONE regardless of race, religion, creed, gender or sexuality. The folks who will be attending this center DID NOT ATTACK OUR COUNTRY!!!!!

    Posted by: Sean | Aug 18, 2010 6:56:57 PM


  12. "Wow, Tank, wrong AGAIN! Ted Olson clearly believes that supporting religious freedom IS the right thing to do."

    So do I. But I also think that fred phelps is an unethical degenerate (as is my right)...apparently you don't to remain consistent (legal=ethical).

    "Just more logical acrobatics from you."

    Nope.

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 18, 2010 6:59:42 PM


  13. Don't bother, Sean. Tank's extreme distaste for Islam colors his thinking on this issue. You can't reason with bigots.

    Posted by: nodnarb | Aug 18, 2010 6:59:42 PM


  14. "The imam advising the cultural center is a moderate Muslim."

    Right. So what? Islam caused 9/11, and though the imam disagrees with those muslims who perpetrated it and their underlying beliefs, they emphasize different aspects of the same religion, and share a religion.

    "Even the Bush administration employed his service for Muslim outreach following 9/11."

    I don't believe muslims should be discriminated against because of faith. But criticism of islam and religion in general, and particularly toxic religious extremism is not discrimination.

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 18, 2010 7:02:12 PM


  15. "I don't believe muslims should be discriminated against because of faith. But criticism of islam and religion in general, and particularly toxic religious extremism is not discrimination."

    And moreso, if you think it is, then you also believe that dr. laura's first amendment rights were being infringed upon somehow...square that with reality.

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 18, 2010 7:04:26 PM


  16. "Islam caused 9/11"

    More shock talk from an unthinking buffoon. Anne Coulter, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Tank... all the same.

    Posted by: nodnarb | Aug 18, 2010 7:06:01 PM


  17. "More shock talk from an unthinking buffoon. Anne Coulter, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Tank... all the same."

    If you're denying that the muslim faith of the terrorists (a different pick and choose version of islam, but islam nonetheless) didn't cause them to commit those atrocities on 9/11, you're an apologist for radical islam. You don't believe that beliefs have consequences in behavior, and deny causality itself by holding religion responsible for what you like and denying its culpability in what you don't.

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 18, 2010 7:08:52 PM


  18. Many innocent Islamic people were killed in the 9/11 attacks. Terrorism is the problem, not religion. The Christian religion perpetrated the Crusades, one of the worst acts of terrorism in history.

    No further away from ground zero than he mosque would be one finds peddlers with tacky t-shirts "in memory of." That offends me far more than a mosque ever would.

    Posted by: justiceontherocks | Aug 18, 2010 7:10:39 PM


  19. Copy/paste job from yesterday? You're like a bad fart that lingers.

    The more you say it will never make it come true.

    Posted by: nodnarb | Aug 18, 2010 7:12:10 PM


  20. Tank -"Islam" did not cause 9/11. A radical, misguided view of the religion did.

    Listen, I am not a religious person at all. I am a twenty-five year veteran of the Culture Wars who has battled with insane, cross-bearing, aborted fetus doll holding religious fanatics at family planning clinics. I have even had encounters with the Westboro nutcases. Heck, I have even had endless debates with more "moderate" evangelicals who spew their own (calmer) brand of hate. That is the price we pay as Americans. People are allowed to be as stupid and wacky as they want to be about religion or whatever else they want to be wacky about (see Glen Beck or Sarah Palin).

    If we go by your logic than all houses of worship of all faiths would be outlawed in this country. And Fox News would be censored!!!

    Posted by: Sean | Aug 18, 2010 7:13:10 PM


  21. that's right, some (not many, but some) of the victims of islamic terrorism are muslims! I don't deny this anymore than I deny that there are gay muslims. Muslims are victims of muslim terrorists often in the world. That doesn't mean that religious faith and islam aren't responsible for those behaviors and the harms it causes, and that all muslims are responsible for the behaviors of members who claim the same faith...they defend it, and as an afterthought condemn the radical elements...or not at all (many don't condemn at all, and are silent). Christianity is a horrible blight on society and civil rights, too (though not all christians believe as the toxic elements do).

    Look, there were some nazis who were opposed to the treatment of jews, religious minorities, roma, and gays and lesbians, racial purity, and ethnic cleansing...does that mean that nazism shouldn't be condemned or criticized? Nope...

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 18, 2010 7:16:37 PM


  22. "Tank -"Islam" did not cause 9/11. A radical, misguided view of the religion did."

    This rests on affirming a logical fallacy...and it's called the no true scotsman fallacy. There is no true islamic faith (no true version) and no true christian faith (no true version)...just people disagreeing with each other and no hope of resolution. Because of that, in any faith, it's the moderate's faith just as much as the fundamentalist's.

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 18, 2010 7:18:33 PM


  23. When all else is lost, invoke Godwin's Law, the final sign of thoughtless reason. Keep being stupid, Tank.

    Posted by: nodnarb | Aug 18, 2010 7:21:17 PM


  24. The whole anti-Islam movement being fomented by the GOP is the most offensive thing I have ever seen them do. They don't deserve to call themselves Americans for the disdain they show their own constitution.

    What a disaster if they somehow took back the White House in two years in the state they're currently in.

    Posted by: Tone | Aug 18, 2010 7:23:53 PM


  25. Tank,

    All I can tell you is that I have many friends brought up in the Muslim faith. I grew up near Dearborn, MI which has the largest Arab and Muslim population in the country. I don't know any that are completely "orthodox" in the practicing of their religion. Some are more religious than others but most are pretty secular. I can only tell you what I have experienced: Islam is taught very differently in this country than it is in the Middle East and North Africa. Yes, they follow many of the same customs, like women having to worship separate from the men for example. But, for the most part they live very modern American lives and the mosques are deeply accepting of this. Of course, just like in most Christian churches and many synagogues homosexuality is frowned upon. But, there are no fatwas or terrorists act supported in these communities. In fact, we have more to fear from the radically religious CHRISTIANS in America than we do American Muslims. Think about all the abortion doctors, gay folks and, yes, Muslims that have been targeted by these people.

    I think that is the context most people are missing from this debate. This is a MODERATE Muslim, AMERICAN community center they want to build. We are not talking about Al Queda or Hamas here.

    Posted by: Sean | Aug 18, 2010 7:27:47 PM


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