Consistent with the operations of the 29% fringe political elites who have no problem with the Ground Zero mosque, the Associated Press has ordered a full stop on usage of “Ground Zero Mosque.”
We should continue to avoid the phrase “ground zero mosque” or “mosque at ground zero” on all platforms. (We’ve very rarely used this wording, except in slugs, though we sometimes see other news sources using the term.) The site of the proposed Islamic center and mosque is not at ground zero, but two blocks away in a busy commercial area. We should continue to say it’s “near” ground zero, or two blocks away.
There’s just one problem — the Mosque is at Ground Zero. The building in which it will be built was damaged by the landing gear of one of the aircraft that hit the World Trade Center.Not to repeat what we’ve already written, but the fact is that the groups behind the “Ground Zero mosque” / Cordoba House / Park51 chose the site explicitly for its proximity to Ground Zero, and then spent months boasting about it in the press. Those groups are the Cordoba Initiative (run by Feisal Abdul Rauf, the “Ground Zero mosque’s” imam-to-be); the American Society for Muslim Advancement, or ASMA (run by Rauf’s wife, Daisy Khan); and SoHo Properties (run by the aforementioned Sharif el-Gamal, its CEO). Just a few brief but illustrative examples from the principals:
A December 8th, 2009, New York Times article stated, “The location [next to Ground Zero] was precisely a key selling point for the group of Muslims,” and quoted Rauf as noting that they got a property “where a piece of the [9/11] wreckage fell.” ASMA then touted the piece in its 2009 Year End Report. A simple Google search of the Cordoba Initiative’s website reveals the phrase “Ground Zero” to be seeded throughout as a rather inept 1999-era SEO tactic to bring people looking for information about Ground Zero to the mosque promoters’ website. On May 5th and 6th, ASMA’s Daisy Khan was on her Twitter account, boasting first that the “new muslim center near ground zero gets unaminous vote of approval from community board one in downtown nyc,” and then that she had a “Media blitz day for ASMA / Cordoba [on the] muslim commuity center near ground zero.” On June 15th, Daisy Khan told the Washington Post’s Sally Quinn that “a divine hand” led to the Ground Zero proximity.
Following the eruption of popular anger over their plans, the “Ground Zero mosque’s” proponents are attempting to rewrite history. El-Gamal, as seen above, now tells interviewers that there’s no “Ground Zero” at the “Ground Zero mosque,” and Khan’s tweets have the same phrasing, but a rather different emphasis. From July 28th: a “muslim community center NEAR ground zero.”
This list could go on at some length, but this is sufficient to demonstrate that the “Ground Zero mosque’s” stewards aren’t unfairly tarred by the phrase: they wanted it. Everyone discussing this issue should face this fact squarely and honestly. It’s the “Ground Zero mosque” because it was conceived and intended as the “Ground Zero mosque.”