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(Updated to add the link to my Tim Brown interview and the Q&A with the Park51 developer of the Cordoba House plan.)
Check out my Religion News Service story about Cordoba House, the proposed “Ground Zero mosque.” (A native New Yorker, I can’t help but channel that classic SNL “Coffee Talk” sketch: It’s neither at Ground Zero, nor a mosque. Discuss!) For more on the criticism of this proposal, check out my Q&A with retired NYC firefighter Tim Brown (see photo), one of the opposition leaders to the project. For a counterpoint, check out my colleague Aziz Poonwalla’s Q&A with one of the developers, at Beliefnet’s City of Brass blog.
I’ve spent hours walking around lower Manhattan lately, marveling at all the changes in the past year, let alone decade. Personally, given that my Sept. 11 experience involved frantically waiting for my now-husband to make his way from the ash cloud up to my Morningside Heights apartment, I’m relieved to see that life did, after all, go on down there. Professionally, after talking with the nervous worshippers at Masjid Manhattan, a mosque that has quietly been operating near Ground Zero for years, and meeting with Brown, I wondered how many more shiny new buildings and decades it will take before a visible Muslim organization could move there without much fuss.
Perhaps that will be the real sign that our wounds have healed. On the other hand, where do you draw the line between healing and moving on (but not forgetting)? And on a related note: is Islamophobia easier or harder to overcome in extremely multicultural yet directly-hit New York City than in other mosque-protesting places like Wisconsin and Tennessee?
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.