More than nine years after the attacks of 9/11, it is surprising to learn that suspicion and hostility against people who are Muslim in the United States has continued to grow. Even groups or individuals who are not Muslim but are perceived to be Muslim, because of their ethnicity or clothing, have been victims to this rise in hostility.
On October 11, the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced the launch of a department devoted solely to “addressing the alarming rise of Islamophobic sentiment in American society.” One of the most recent and public forms of anti-Islamic sentiment has emerged this summer during protests over the building of Cordoba House or the “Ground Zero Mosque,” later renamed Park51. Through formal and informal discussion, lectures, debates and opinion columns in The Daily Princetonian, members of the Princeton community have tried to understand why there has been so much opposition not only to Park51, but also to mosques around the country.
In July 2009, a rundown Burlington Coat Factory was purchased and used as an overflow prayer space to another mosque in lower Manhattan, Al Farah, where Feisal Abdul Rauf is the imam.
In December 2009, The New York Times reported that there was interest in building a cultural center on the land that was purchased. Rauf explained that it would send “the opposite statement to what happened on 9/11.” This summer, over a year after its purchase and use as a prayer space, opposition groups and politicians mobilized to publicly protest construction – sometimes using hateful speech against Islam and labeling the religion as inherently
On September 27, a panel discussion about Park51 was held in McCosh 10 with Woodrow Wilson School Professor and Provost Christopher Eisgruber ‘83, Near Eastern Studies Professor Mark Cohen and Associate Professor of Politics Amaney Jamal. All three professors concluded at the end of their talks that Park51 should be built.
[... Continue reading after the jump ... ]