Keith Olbermann | New York | News

Watch: Keith Olbermann on the 'Ground Zero Mosque'


Olbermann sounds off on the distracting controversy over the so-called 'Ground Zero mosque':

"Yet, in a country dedicated to freedom, forces have gathered to blow out of all proportion the construction of a minor community center; to transform it into a training ground for terrorists and an insult to the victims of 9/11 and a tribute to medieval Muslim subjugation of the West. There is no training ground for terrorists. There is no insult to the victims of 9/11. There is no tribute to medieval Muslim subjugation of The West. There is, in fact, no 'Ground Zero mosque.'"

"Despite the nobility of our founding and the indefatigable efforts of all our generations, there have always been those who would happily sacrifice our freedoms, our principles, to ward off the latest unprecedented threat, the latest unbeatable outsiders. Once again, at 45 Park Place, we are being told to sell our birth-right, to feed the maw of xenophobia and vengeance and mob rule. The terrorists who destroyed the buildings from which you could only see 45 Park Place as a dot on the ground, wanted to force us to change our country to become more like the ones they knew. What better way could we honor the dead of the World Trade Center, than to do the terrorists' heavy lifting for them? And do you think 45 Park Place is where it ends?"

A must-watch special comment, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. JJ, you called them insensitive assholes for wanting to merely keep their own property and build a community center. And why else if not for its proximity to ground zero? Its especially offensive considering not only did they not perpetrate 9/11, they were direct victims of it. I read exactly what you said, there was no misunderstanding.

    Posted by: Wes | Aug 17, 2010 1:00:27 PM

  2. I'm sorry, but I am a little tired of being associated with a hate group because I oppose the location of the mosque. The most intolerant people towards gays and lesbians have now decided they can be insensative and I have to like it. They want freedom only for themselves. Would Mr Olbermann condone a Idaho-based right-wing neo nazi church building on the block of the motel where MLK was shot? I think not.

    Posted by: Ryan | Aug 17, 2010 1:26:59 PM

  3. This isn't about valuing the first amendment. Of course they have the right to build a community center and mosque in that location. Anyone who says that those who oppose it going in that area don't believe in the first amendment are just wrong, and are lying. To make that argument is to say that those opposed to proposition 8 don't value the democratic process, and that's simply false.

    The fact is that islam is absolutely and without question responsible for the actions carried out on 9/11. Anyone who denies that the radical strain of islam caused the behavior of the terrorists on 9/11 is simply an apologist for radical islam, and is an utter fool.

    In light of that fact (religious faith causes 9/11), it is highly insensitive to construct a building dedicated to that very faith in that location. It is offensive...but islam, judaism, and christianity are offensive faiths. These are antigay faiths regardless of whether or not some of the faithful aren't antigay (and islam, in light of theocracies which execute people for being gay, is the most radically antigay faith of the abrahamic variety). In light of the fact that it was radical religion that was responsible for the terrorists attacks, and all faithful share on the blame of the consequences of toxic faith (no way to determined which strain's true independently of faith), I would be just as disgusted and offended if it were a christian community center and chapel. So unless Olberman has something more interesting than, "you hate our freedoms if you oppose the mosque," parroting the radical right wing opposition to islam and this mosque based on their favored theocratic, dominionist beliefs....he and the "professional left" really dropped the ball here in condemning everyone who would oppose a goddamn islamic community center and mosque with artless, illogical "generalizations". Because the fundamental argument that he and others are making is that not only do these muslims have the right to build the cordoba house, but that they "SHOULD," because it's good that it's built...and that's where they lose the thread.

    And if this is "America," as obama said in defending this mosque on first amendment rights...why is it that lgbt citizens are literally second class, and such that OBAMA supports it? Is it just "America" (equal, fair and square) when it's religious values on the line, obama? Is that it? Because as far as I'm concerned, we don't live in "America" if civil rights are simply pick and choose, applying to some and not others. So as far as I'm concerned, you appealing to "equality" of civil rights across the board in "America" to defend the first amendment rights of american muslims is inconsistent at best, and a total lie at worst...but likely somewhere in between. Yeah, this is "America," which radical islam caused the atrocities we sustained on 9/11.

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 17, 2010 2:00:39 PM

  4. Guess what? I 'oppose' all mosques and churches. I absolutely despise religion. But I have no right to bully people out of their own property. THAT is what the greatness of America is all about.

    But by all means continue to fall for this blatant political distraction while real issues continue to mount in the background.

    Posted by: Wes | Aug 17, 2010 2:03:37 PM

  5. Since when does 'radical Islam' become any American Muslims? Even peaceful ones who have actually lost people in the tragedy?

    Are we going to protest Dolly Parton for the crusades because she loves Jesus?

    Posted by: Wes | Aug 17, 2010 2:11:57 PM

  6. BTW, these Muslims actually reside there in New York. They are not out-of-towners, as many of those protesting are.

    Posted by: Wes | Aug 17, 2010 2:17:46 PM

  7. Keith,

    We appreciate your continued support of the GLBT agenda for equal rights....HOWEVER, you are dead wrong on this issue.

    No one has told these folks they can't have their center(place of worship)as a definitive. That in itself would be going against the true princple of our founding fathers. We are simply asking them to be decent human beings and respect the fact that the location they have chosen is inappropriate. They should have compassion for the victims and their families if they are practicing the good of the muslim faith. Go across town, to a bourough hell even up four blocks if they want. They do not need to have the center built AT GROUND ZERO. Just like we have local laws in our communities to prevent porn stores from being built next to schools because its INDECENT. This is also a display of indecent taste to choose this location.

    Sorry Keith....

    Posted by: John | Aug 17, 2010 2:24:03 PM

  8. Which is another strawman. Who's saying that all muslims are antigay, antiwoman radical terrorists? Not I. That's the reason why the right wing is wrong about this. That's what they're trying to get people to believe it as a scare tactic to drum up support, and are opposed to islam because of their favored mythology...which is raw bigotry. Both the radical right and radical left are wrong on this issue for different reasons, but both have no difficulty wrapping themselves in the american flag while holding a bible or the constitution to get their extreme message out.

    In fact, I'll go further. There are some muslims who support rights based democracy, civil liberties for women and gays (and everyone), and condemn the behavior of muslim extremists. This is true of christianity and judaism, too.

    The argument, rather, is this:

    Considering that Islam is just as much the faith of the so-called "fundamentalist" as it is the faith of the moderate muslim (as is christianity), though people disagree about what it means to be a muslim (or christian), they all share the responsibility for the consequences of that faith. Since there is nothing that can possibly determine whether or not one's version of islam or christianity is the true interpretation or the right one (just as there's no fact one can point to to believe in the truth of christianity to islam, and vice versa), and no reason issuing from the versions of the faith alone to prefer one version over another, each person who subscribes to the faith and defends it because they believe it's true is responsible for the negative outcomes of that faith that others, who arbitrarily choose different aspects of it to define what it means to be a member of it, carry out in the name of that faith. Also, there's nothing to any religion other than the behavior of those who practice it. There's no meaning to it other than that. Just as all christians share the responsibility for an abortion clinic bombing or doctor assasination carried out because of christianity, all muslims share the responsibility for 9/11.

    And once again, muslims condemn 9/11 just as christians condemn abortion clinic bombings and murders carried out because of christianity. (And no muslim should face persecution because of her or his faith in the united states). But that condemnation doesn't negate their responsibility any more than condemning your own behavior eliminates your responsibility for it. More to the point, each time a religious person defends their faith by saying that not all members of that faith agree with what some members do because of that faith (or more precisely, their interpretation of it), they are trying to have their cake and eat it, too. That reasoning is meant to deny their responsibility (the faith's responsibility in the causal nexus of beliefs/actions) for behaviors that they disagree with that are caused by the faith, while defending and promoting it. But instead of just condemning horrible behavior caused by faith, moderate religionists of every stripe seek to justify faith, take no responsibility for the negative consequences of faith (which they deny it is responsible for), and as an afterthought, condemn the behavior (which is uncaused, apparently) while criticizing others for condemning its cause, and their faith. This is simply because they value their faith above human life; or rather, believe falsely that some lives are more importan than others. The moderate makes human rights a matter of MERE scriptural disagreement in making this claim. Human rights are not determined by the whim of revelation, and this is what the moderate of any religion is essentially reducing them to by making it a matter of one holy book or interpretation over another. This seems an inescapable conclusion based on their positive defense and adoption of faith. In summary, not all faith is toxic, but toxic faith is the responsibility of all faithful. When, if ever, they decide to take responsibility for it is another matter, as most people use their faith to deny their responsibilities to others by justifying the belief that some lives are more important than others

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 17, 2010 2:26:10 PM

  9. John, its not at ground zero. Its blocks away. Ground Zero is not even visible from the site.

    The actual site is formerly Burlington Coat Factory.

    Its really sad to see so many acting like this.

    Posted by: Wes | Aug 17, 2010 2:28:17 PM

  10. what does proximity to do with it? Surely those making the argument for vagueness by saying it's two to three blocks away from ground zero, and asking the rhetorical question of those who oppose it, "how many blocks is enough? 10, 9, 14? Arbitrary, therefore, two blocks away is fine." --wouldn't have a problem with it being on top of ground zero...if they don't believe that two blocks away is offensive, why not one block? Why not at the site itself? The fact is that they do think it's just as appropriate either way...making this "two blocks away" argument a decoy.

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 17, 2010 2:37:24 PM

  11. Thats a bunch of bullshit Tank. In truth, no one should care about this. Another community center for some dumb religion I don't believe in. SO WHAT? I might even have a problem if there was any indication they were 'radical' at all. They're not! The man behind it has gone all over the world trying to convince Muslims how great the religious freedoms of America are (irony!!). This is nothing but a smear on innocent people who are being bullied out of their own community.

    Posted by: Wes | Aug 17, 2010 2:44:03 PM

  12. "I might even have a problem if there was any indication they were 'radical' at all."

    Why? That's just arbitrary. What if they supported 9/11? Do you think that their right to exist at that location should be stripped? No!? So why would you have a problem with it?

    No one "should" care about this? Well, apparently a lot of people do care about this...including yourself and a lot of people on the left and right.

    Now how about an actual argument from you. I think that everyone who participates in an ideology is responsible for the outcomes of that ideology, and I've provided an argument.

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 17, 2010 2:51:38 PM

  13. Subjugating all Muslims to the actions of a relatively handful of radical fascists belies a serious lack of intellect.

    Posted by: nodnarb | Aug 17, 2010 2:57:00 PM

  14. I don't care about the mosque. I care that people are bullying innocent people out of town.

    Yea, and if they were radical terrorist Muslims I'd be with you saying they "shouldn't" build. Since they're not, I don't care. One little fucking bit.

    If your little ideology argument is valid, and it probably is to some extent, then you have to oppose every church and mosque that exists. And in some sense, as I said, I do. I'd love to have a discussion about the merits of religion with these people. I wouldn't love to drive to NYC, in their backyard, and start yelling at them to GTFO.

    Posted by: Wes | Aug 17, 2010 2:58:19 PM

  15. And correction, its not a mosque. Not that it should matter.

    Posted by: Wes | Aug 17, 2010 3:00:18 PM

  16. Muslims have a nasty and shameful history regarding the conquest of land and subjugation of people of differing religions. You people who defend the Muslims and this insensitive choice of location for the mosque are both ignorant and naive. Go get a book on Muslim history and you'll understand what they are trying to do here. They are trying to rub our noses in sh*t.

    I also find it amazing that supposedly humanistic Liberals are defending and/or condoning a religion that routinely oppresses women (the Koran recommends beating them into submission). Clitoral mutilation is still forced upon Muslim girls to cripple their sexual pleasure so that they won't cheat on their men. Talk about insecure!

    Sorry, but not all religions are respectable. I find the Muslim faith in particular to be greatly offensive and inhumane in its practices. Those people are backwards-thinking - the complete opposite of everything progressives fight for. And yet, somehow, Liberals are more offended by Republican conservatism. Just plain crazy.

    Posted by: Joey Allen | Aug 17, 2010 3:18:58 PM

  17. Wow, Joey Allen, I'll have to tell the Muslims I personally know that they are exactly what you said and not the kind, otherwise totally normal American citizens I thought they were.

    BTW, gays are associated with NAMBLA. Ew!

    Posted by: Wes | Aug 17, 2010 3:22:09 PM

  18. Muhammad Ali mutilates little girls? Who knew!

    Posted by: nodnarb | Aug 17, 2010 3:27:13 PM

  19. Joey Allen, do you also oppose the male genital mutilation that most Americans perform on their own children? I oppose genital mutilation for both girls and boys, how about you?

    Posted by: Wes | Aug 17, 2010 3:27:56 PM

  20. Again, I agree with the fact that they have a "right" to build in this location. But I also think that Islamic leaders, if they are truely trying to bridge a gap, why do they insist on moving here? Wouldnt it be a bigger statement to non-muslims if you came out and say you would move elsewhere out of empathy and respect for the victims? A major paper in Israel reported this is actually happening in the next few days - however, the building's owner quickly reported it as false. ....Either way, I dont always agree with his writer, however - I do believe he makes some very interesting points in this WSJ article and ppl should take these under consideration before forming any opinions:

    Posted by: JJ | Aug 17, 2010 3:31:37 PM

  21. They didn't "insist" on moving there, they bought the property and then faced a firestorm of protest after they had already made their plans.

    It is an enormous inconvenience, not to mention offensive, to suggest they leave, especially since they have a community there. The whole point of the community center is to be a center for the community.

    And for what?

    Posted by: Wes | Aug 17, 2010 3:37:43 PM

  22. As a Muslim American, I feel more frustrated than I did prior to the video. Possibly, because of the awareness I get from it and seeing how the greater masses feel about an aspect of who I am ...

    Who ever thought the gay, a minority can also be also bigots.

    Posted by: Hussain | Aug 17, 2010 3:40:21 PM

  23. can also be bigots *

    Posted by: Hussain | Aug 17, 2010 3:44:15 PM

  24. Why does the GOP hate America and its values?

    Posted by: Dave | Aug 17, 2010 3:49:17 PM

  25. Hey Hussain - I wouldnt point the finger and throw around the word "bigot" just bc someone believes that it shouldnt be a political issue - but a matter of common sense and respect for others. Isnt that what your asking for yourself? Respect?

    Posted by: JJ | Aug 17, 2010 3:50:33 PM

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