9/11 | New York | News | Real Estate | Religion | Ted Olson

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


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."


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

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. It's not godwin's law at all. It would be godwin's law to compare you to hitler erroneously, and then conclude that you have no point because of that false parallel...or conclude that you're wrong simply because you're like hitler. What I was doing was pointing the same reasoning behind your argument to not criticize islam applies to faiths and all ideologies...including nazism...there are some people who aren't extremists or harm people or believe that harming people is right in all ideologies...therefore no ideology should be criticized. That's an invalid argument on purely logical grounds.

    So your accusation is closer to the spirit of godwin's law than my example. But when in doubt and you disagree...apparently for no good reason...just repeat yourself or resort ad hominem attacks...because...when you can't reason your way out of a situation, be irrational...that'll surely...oh, might makes right...

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 18, 2010 7:32:05 PM

  2. I agree, sean. There are some moderate muslims in the world who believe in rights based democracy and just want to live their lives...that doesn't change the situation at all. So what is it about what I've said that you don't understand?

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 18, 2010 7:33:53 PM

  3. Your lack of knowledge about Godwin's Law rivals your lack of knowledge about Islam.

    Do you even read your sentences before you hit Post? They are unreadable! I haven't seen so many leaps in logic and continuity since Inception.

    And LOLZ at "just repeat yourself" which is exactly what you've been doing ad nauseum for two days.

    Posted by: nodnarb | Aug 18, 2010 7:40:15 PM

  4. Alright, since I know that no one can defeat my reasoning on this matter (not here, anyway...and I'd admit it if someone could), I really couldn't care less about this issue even though it's insensitive and tasteless(i.e., I don't care whether the community center mosque is built or not), and that the only people who do are, for the most part, big time idiots and jagoffs...really...the most vocal political opponnents to this are almost all idiots and extremists themselves (gingrich, palin, fischer, and the christofascists)...but there are some muslims who are opposed to it, too...and one of them lost a mother in the attacks...and I don't think she's an idiot because she's morally opposed to this center mosque. Anyway...that's it, and I'll never think about it again.

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 18, 2010 7:52:46 PM

  5. Hey Tank-

    I actually liked talking to you about it. I respect your opinion even though I don't really agree with much of it. We actually probably have the same view on religion anyway. I think has been responsible for way too much pain in the world.

    Anyway, just wanted to say that...

    Posted by: Sean | Aug 18, 2010 7:56:49 PM

  6. LOL! It's like your keyboard is equipped with a pretentious bullshit amplifier. Yes, you're so much smarter than everyone else because you're able to justify your personal prejudice. Good job.

    Posted by: nodnarb | Aug 18, 2010 8:04:38 PM

  7. I don't think Tank is saying they shouldn't be allowed to build their center. He just thinks it's offensive, as he thinks almost all religion is.

    It's kinda the one drop rule for him. One drop of evil sullies it all. Since we know there are buckets full, in all of them, well...

    Perhaps those drawn to faith because of the principles of loving kindness can realize loving kindness can be expressed outside of religion. Or maybe they can create a new religion. As it stands, one cannot escape the old testament in the J/C/I traditions, which justifies all manner of atrocities. I think that what's lost, is that people don't really believe what they say they believe; they just believe the 'good stuff.' Go ahead and believe the good stuff, but call it something else--like personal choice.

    But, yes I'm 100% for the constitution, and think this is being used by a whole bunch right-wing jingos.

    Posted by: anon | Aug 18, 2010 8:08:24 PM

  8. It's interesting to note that a gay blog like Towleroad sees the majority of commenters arguing in favor of equal rights for Muslims (regardless of whether those Muslims would support equal rights or not.)

    But a quick search for "homosexuality" on a site like MuslimMatters sees commenters arguing over the best way to work to take away rights from American gay people.

    Posted by: anonymous | Aug 18, 2010 8:20:50 PM

  9. Just realzed that TANK plays the devil's advocate here just to play it, not to get a discussion going or pose real views. Here's an example:

    Comment - The sky is blue.

    TANK Response - Muslims and Islam caused 9/11 and The Jersey Shore to get another season on MTV.

    If you ignore him, he'll go away...

    Posted by: Hollywood, CA | Aug 18, 2010 8:25:55 PM

  10. Howard Dean didn't really touch upon the right to build the Mosque, but simply that there should be a compromise. Ted Olson is impressing me more and more each day. I believe this is basically yet another idiotic issue being propagated by Faux News and the Democrats are falling right into the trap. First of all, it isn't ground zero - this is private property. They can do what in the frick they want, as long as it meets the zoning requirements. What kills me is the Fox News folks and the religious right would be having a major cow if someone was trying to build some Christian thing and someone even made a passing comment about it not being built. This is religious hypocrisy, pure and simple. There are plenty of self-identified Christian murderers throughout history - why are we singling out Muslims? The democrats need to get off of their collective asses and stand for something and stop backing down to these idiotic Fox News folks. Simply say - this is a 1st amendment and private property issue; the government can't stop it, and move on. Stop allowing yourselves to be sucked into the ridiculous Fox News fake issue. Second, Support Marriage equality and repeal DADT - the democrats need to get a pair and grow a spine. This is ridiculous. Reminds me of being bullied in the school yard. Pitiful!

    Posted by: Mike | Aug 18, 2010 9:01:55 PM

  11. ahhh religions
    "In late October, [1838] Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs issued an official decree, declaring, 'The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State.'"

    Posted by: megamike | Aug 18, 2010 9:11:14 PM

  12. the facts:
    AP fact check: Islam ‘already part of WTC neighborhood’

    Posted by: megamike | Aug 18, 2010 9:12:34 PM

  13. I am torn on this issue. The fear mongering has me question where the money came from, out of my own ignorance.

    Part of me questions why I question where the money came from, but I don't question where the Mormon church or Christianity money comes from.

    Part of me is angry that the group is not creating a public awareness program; why they are building it and trying to sway public opinion, when part of its purpose is to educate.

    Part of me asks why are they so in your face about it, when it is their vary faith that is in question.

    Part of me questions why they can't be so adamant about it?

    Part of me questions why am I so against it?

    All of me, is very very tired of the hate and division that religion creates, simply when gods loves all.

    Posted by: Peter | Aug 18, 2010 9:29:45 PM

  14. omg these threads are soooooo boring .. when are we going to get some more kellan lutz photos

    Posted by: clubboi69 | Aug 18, 2010 9:37:50 PM

  15. Do they have a legal right to build it? Yes. Should they build it with such opposition and anger? No. A good question is why do they want to build there, under the circumstances? If the real desire is to foster understanding and tolerance, they've failed; all this proposal has done is create anger, genuine anguish, even hate.

    As for Bloomberg, he's an obnoxious, disingenuous politician. He knows perfectly well building proposals are routinely blocked and denied, often solely for political reasons; there's a million ways a local government can block a building project outside the courts, including sending in teams of city inspectors with with white gloves and fine tooth combs, to approaching the financial institutions loaning the $ with threats and intimidation. These tactics are employed all the time. And I won't even discuss eminent domain and how it's frequently grossly abused.

    Citizens in Seville, Spain strongly opposed the building of a mosque but the courts refused to block it. As a last resort they brought in a bunch of dead pigs and dropped them off at the proposed location. The mosque wasn't built.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 18, 2010 9:47:41 PM

  16. The mosque proposal isn't a genuine effort at community outreach and interfaith understanding, it's an outright provocation. Dig a little and the real reasons why they're adamant about this location will become obvious. History will show you the way.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 18, 2010 9:56:49 PM

  17. Agree with Sean and Chic Aqua that Howard Dean's comments are very disappointing. I have admired him but find these comments very, well, disappointing.

    Ratbastard, you claim that if we "[d]ig a little" we'll discover "the real reasons why [the community center's developers are] adamant about this location" but yet you fail to identify those "real reasons". Another looney Newt Gingrich "Cordoba" theory, perhaps?

    You also contend that "[i]f the real desire is to foster understanding and tolerance, they've failed; all this proposal has done is create anger, genuine anguish, even hate," yet the community center's developers are not responsible for the anger, anguish or hate. I live a few blocks from the proposed community center and, like the vast majority of my neighbors (and as a person who has a generally negative view of all of the world's major organized religions, including the one in which I was raised), I not only support the right of the center's developers to build the center but also am not in the least offended by their desire to build a place where young members of their community can play basketball and learn to cook and, yes, pray. Had outsiders stayed out of this and had this issue been left to members of our neighborhood and to our community board, there need not have been anguish, anger or hate. The anger, anguish and hate have occurred because of the reprehensible actions of individuals who are very much seeking to foment a clash of civilizations, many of them with a personal (political) interest in doing so and at least one of whom Salon rightly describes as a "viciously anti-Muslim blogger." It is these horrible people who are responsible for the anguish, anger and hate, not people who simply happen to be among the quarter of the world's population who share the same historical faith as the 9/11 hijackers. http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/08/16/ground_zero_mosque_origins

    Posted by: Patric | Aug 19, 2010 1:13:38 AM

  18. as long as Andy keeps posting true republican, conservative statements like those of ted olsen's, i will keep repeating this statement: there is nothing unethical or even insensitive about building a mosque 2 blocks away from ground zero. it was not the whole of islam which brought the towers down. it was 19 radicals. should we object to building a catholic church next to the site of the Alfred P. Murrah building? Timothy McVeigh was raised a roman catholic, after all. should we object to building any type of xtian edifice next to every abortion clinic that has been vandalized or bombed or where an abortion doctor has been slain? it is dismaying to me how, all of a sudden, towleroadies are embracing dick army, rep. peter king, sen. john cornyn, and every right wing yahoo from faux news. though i am loathe to support modern-day repuglicanism, and as i am a dyed-in-the-wool democrat, i still applaud reason. ted olsen has gained my respect as a lone, rational cry in the dismal, oppresive woods of polemics.

    Posted by: nic | Aug 19, 2010 4:04:30 AM

  19. I'm a gay Muslim man of Islamic faith. People who share my faith have every right to construct, and congregate anywhere they want to in this country. No TRUE American would ever hinder the rights of thousands for personal reasons or political gain. Unless______________.

    Posted by: Ishaq | Aug 19, 2010 5:14:13 AM

  20. Please change the headline on this article. It's a former Burlington Coat Factory located two full city blocks from the twin towers site. The use of the term "Ground Zero Mosque" is meant to invoke a negative emotional response, so using it is basically allowing neocons and cultural xenophobes to control the dialogue and win an argument before it's even started.

    Two thirds of NYers feel it's inappropriate (likely based on the use of the term GZM), but two thirds also feel it's proper to allow them to build. (Sienna poll)

    Posted by: Sean Mac | Aug 19, 2010 5:53:44 AM

  21. @ISHAQ, my sympathies are with you. not one of us americans needs to suffer the indignities of racial or sexual profiling. for example, if i were to travel to arizona, should i carry a passport? never mind that my family has been in the south-western united state for hundreds of years. but that makes no difference. if you are an american citizen, you have every right to take advantage of the powers that our constitution affords you. i am sick of gay people who would as soon deny the rights of the constitution to people who look different without understanding that we are they. no matter how one rationalizes it, the 'other' that we fear is always us.

    Posted by: nic | Aug 19, 2010 6:09:54 AM

  22. Imagine if a Gay & Lesbian center was bombed by a right wing catholic extremist and killed 3,000 gays & lesbians and then a decade later a cath church wanted to erect a church on the site.
    franklly I can't defend a religion that still condemns gays to death and treats women like 2nd class citizens.
    Build something INCLUSIVE there not a shrine to a 6th century misogynistic and homophobic religion.

    Posted by: LG Wilson | Aug 19, 2010 7:24:19 AM

  23. The fewer churches, the better.

    Posted by: homoDM | Aug 19, 2010 8:19:11 AM

  24. This is America people. We get to choose for ourselves, not for others. It looks like some of you would like to live under totalitarianism. I may and I do disagree with most religions as they are a means to control free will, subjugate the masses and enrich an established ruling class; that said feel free to choose to be a slave, I could care less. Your freedom ends where mine begins and I can see no reason why they can’t develop a community center in that blighted community. At the very least it will help spur economic activity. Since 9/11 that neighborhood is a rat hole.

    I can’t help but think that this is just another red-haring thrown up by the real perpetrators of the events on September 11, 2001. It saddens me that we are so eager to throw our common man under the bus and piss on our own American values in the name of what? I saw squibs from the towers and tower 7 fell at free-fall, nor was it struck by a plane. Have any of you read the 9/11 report? It’s a disturbing work of fiction. I love my country and I refuse to surrender it to xenophobic stupidity.

    Posted by: Dave | Aug 19, 2010 9:53:24 AM

  25. one Muslim woman writing at the NewYorktimes, a an eloquent, personal voice:

    "Every day I watch . . .this country become . . . more hateful, and yet you tell American Muslims to become more moderate. You speak as if we have not assimilated, but we have, beautifully. American Muslims do not practice polygamy, we are educated, we speak English, our women are active and visible members of society. And through the past 10 years, through all the propaganda and hate and accusations, we have remained in this country and stood our ground, and we have refused to become involved in this so-called "global jihad" against America. We are a vision of moderation itself, even by American standards. . .

    And yet you give in to those who would use their own prejudice to attack us, as if we are the ones who are responsible for 9/11. American Muslims died that day in those towers. We were not the perpetrators, and we have not become the perpetrators. Americans have lost sight of who their real enemy is.

    . . .my family has been in this country for over 300 years. My ancestors fought in the American Revolution, the Civil War, WWI, my grandfather fought in Normandy, my father was in Vietnam. Yet you are telling me to be moderate and assimilate. Into this country which my family has helped to build!
    . . . I cannot fully express in words the frustration I feel."

    Posted by: Trinity | Aug 19, 2010 1:39:46 PM

  26. « | 1 2 3 »

Post a comment


« «Watch: Courage Campaign's Rick Jacobs Confronts Anti-Gay Marriage Crusaders Brian Brown, Bishop Barry Jackson« «