Magazine article Tablet Magazine

Despite Victory, Islamic Center Still Opposed

Magazine article Tablet Magazine

Despite Victory, Islamic Center Still Opposed

Article excerpt

The New York Times reports that the fierce opposition to Park51, the Islamic center to be built two blocks from Ground Zero, can be pinned on a "combination of arguable naA[macron]vete, public-relations missteps and a national political climate in which perhaps no preparation could have headed off controversy." The organizers, it adds, "did little to engage with likely opponents. More strikingly, they did not seek the advice of established Muslim organizations experienced in volatile post-9/11 passions and politics."

Given the context, the pitch of opposition is a bit bizarre. The imam behind the Initiative first tried to buy a space for his mosque on 23rd Street in 1999; he had been preaching sermons of "sweet spirituality" at a Sufi mosque 12 blocks north of Ground Zero until last year; he graduated from Columbia (go Lions!); he broached his plans at a Ramadan break-fast at Gracie Mansion last year.

Yet the controversy does not just come from political movements who find their strongest bases outside the five boroughs. …

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