Cordoba Initiative

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Founded in 2004, the Cordoba Initiative is an Islamic organization[1] claiming to be a multi-national, multi-faith organization dedicated to improving Muslim-West relations, [2] the promoter of the controversial Ground Zero Mosque, called Cordoba House, later renamed Park 51.

Significance of the name Cordoba

The initiative claims that the name Cordoba was chosen to symbolize the time in history when Muslims, Jews, and Christians ostensibly lived together in peace and harmony and created a prosperous center of intellectual, spiritual, cultural and commercial life in the city of Cordoba in Southern Spain.[3] Others have pointed out that Cordoba was a city in Andalusia, southern Spain, conquered by Islamic armies in 711 A.D., center of the Islamic Caliphate of Carboba (sometimes spelled Cordova). [4] According to the long-standing Islamic custom of constructing a mosque at the location where a strategic and triumphant battle had been won, the conquerors took the biggest church of the area and turned it into a mosque as a symbol of their conquest. [5] Erick Stakelbeck, an investigative journalist and author, says that Cordoba represents the height of Islam’s advance against the West, and that ever since its fall from Muslim hands, the faithful have yearned for its return to the Islamic fold.[6] Thus, the construction of a mosque at Ground Zero, especially one named Cordoba, which the Cordoba Initiative recommended, some felt “would be a symbolic victory flag for Muslims who seek the destruction of America…and will unquestionably represent victory to the worldwide forces of Radical Islam.” [7]


The declared mission of the Cordoba Initiative, according to their website, is improving Muslim-West relations. The site claims to be modern, with a section called “Voices of Moderation.” A closer look at their description of one of the projects described on their website, The Shariah Index Project, gives this “vision”: • To demystify the notion, meaning and requirements of an Islamic state • To clarify the principles of Shariah in the context of modern society • To provide the general public, opinion leaders, and state officials in both the Muslim world and the West with tools for achieving these principles in practice.[8]


• The Initiative lists the following activities on their website: convening annual meetings of Islamic scholars, media appearances, lectures and publications, creating Cordoba House, shaping a strong and moderate Muslim-American community, building bridges with those of other faiths, combatting “Islamophobia”, and the Shariah Index Project, by which they say they will create a blueprint by which democracy will take place in the Muslim world. .[9] It is best known for planning and advocating the proposed Ground Zero mosque/Islamic center known first as Cordoba House and later as Park 51. Rauf was first in charge of the Ground Zero “Cordoba” project.

Officers The Initiative has three officers: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Chairman; John S. Bennett of the Aspen Institute; and Daisy Khan, the wife of Rauf.[10]


The Cordoba Initiative is the vision of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Imam Feisal brings together leaders across the Muslim-West divide to speak out for innovative, proactive, and positive solutions to shared challenges. In this capacity, Cordoba Initiative can provide novel solutions to those areas where conflict between Islamic and Western communities undermine local and global security.[11]


The Cordoba Initiative is very closely affiliated with the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA). ASMA currently serves as its fiscal agent, and the two organizations share infrastructure, space, utilities, vendor services, and co-sponsorship of programs.[12]


  1. ^ See Affliations Below
  2. ^
  3. ^ "About Us". Cordoba Initiative. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Wikipedia, Cordoba, Andalusia
  5. ^
  6. ^ Erick Stakelbeck, The Terrorist Next Door, Regnery, 2011, p. 25.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Cordoba Initiative Website/Shariah Index Project
  9. ^ Cordoba Initiative Website/Shariah Index Project
  10. ^ The Ground Zero Mosque
  11. ^ "About Us". Cordoba Initiative. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  12. ^ Accessed April 2, 2015.