Two US broadcasters reject ad against mosque near 9/11 site in New York

July 15, 2010

USA/Two major United States broadcasters have rejected an advertisement that urges viewers to protest against a mosque planned two blocks from Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York.  The ad by the National Republican Trust PAC– labeled inflammatory by critics — mixes images of 9/11 and Muslim militants while slamming a controversial proposal to build a mosque and Muslim community center in lower Manhattan.

(Photo: Christian procession near Ground Zero in New York April 2, 2010/Jessica Rinaldi)

“To celebrate that murder of 3,000 Americans, they want to build a monstrous 13-story mosque at Ground Zero,” says the narrator over images of the destroyed World Trade Center. “This ground is sacred, where we weep, they rejoice … that mosque is a monument to their victory.” For the ad, see the YouTube video below.

NBC Universal advertising standards manager Jennifer Riley said the broadcaster didn’t take issue with the content, but rather the vague construction of its narration: “This ad, which ambiguously defines ‘they’ as referenced in the spot, makes it unclear as to whether the reference is to terrorists or to the Islamic religious organization that is sponsoring the building of the mosque.” Read the full story here.

Plans to build a mosque near the site of the September 11 attacks have touched off a firestorm among New Yorkers nearly a decade after Muslim extremists linked to al Qaeda slammed planes into the World Trade Center.

ground zero 2The Cordoba House mosque, part of a Muslim center to be built two blocks from what is now known as Ground Zero proposed as a conciliatory move, was overwhelmingly approved by a local community board in May and supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. 

(Photo: Family members of victims of 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center at commemoration ceremony in New York, September 11, 2009/David Handschuh)

“Government should never — never — be in the business of telling people how they should pray, or where they can pray,” Bloomberg said on Monday. “We want to make sure that everybody from around the world feels comfortable coming here, living here and praying the way they want to pray.”

But the plans are being resisted by some New Yorkers who say a mosque would be inappropriate so close to the place where nearly 3,000 people were killed.  The project was debated on Tuesday at a meeting of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

On his blog Religion and Public Life, religion blogger Mark Silk wrote that the National Republican Trust PAC’s ad “is equivalent to the Jewish community equating all Christians with Nazis: They sent us to the death camps, and now they want to build a church on sacred ground? Where we weep, they rejoice. Join the fight to kill the church!’ The NRTPAC ad is Islamophobia red in tooth and claw.”

What do you think? Would a mosque built close to the Ground Zero site in New York foster understanding among faiths? Or tension?

Below is the YouTube video of the ad:

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