Response on Park51 By Hafsa Kanjwal

Posted on August 23rd, 2010 | Filed under Faith and Politics, InterViews

It is imperative that we understand the backlash against the Ground Zero Mosque (now renamed Park 51 in hopes to alleviate some of the criticism) in the context of Islamophobia. It is nothing less than that, and even amidst hearing critics say that they find the building of this mosque “offensive”---there is an underlying sentiment that indeed, Islam is offensive. The way this issue has been politicized is not shocking, but it is disappointing. It is ironic that those who are so keen to showcase their American “patriotism” by denouncing the mosque, are derailing a key American principle—the freedom of religion.  This issue goes to the core of what this country was founded upon and what America stands for as a society. If these voices win, the future is bleak.

As I observe the reactions of some of these folks, especially the likes of Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrinch on FOX News, it’s as if they believe Bin Laden himself is building this mosque. Park 51’s developers have repeatedly stated that they want this center to be a place of dialogue, tolerance and inter-religious understanding. For those who wonder where all the “moderate” Muslim voices are—well, here they are. And look at how they’re being curtailed and demonized.

I was also disappointed to see that the ADL, an organization that works to combat anti-Semitism and “all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all” joined voices with the bigots. Their objectionable response warranted Fareed Zakaria, CNN journalist, to return an award that they granted him a few years ago. Zakaria’s response is commendable—I hope that the ADL retracts their statement and  stands up for the civil rights of Muslims, as they would Jews and other minorities.

2 Responses to “Response on Park51 By Hafsa Kanjwal”

  1. […] Response by Hafsa Kanjwal: It is imperative that we understand the backlash against the Ground Zero Mosque (now renamed Park 51 in hopes to alleviate some of the criticism) in the context of Islamophobia. It is nothing less than that, and even amidst hearing critics say that they find the building of this mosque “offensive”–there is an underlying sentiment that indeed, Islam is offensive. The way this issue has been politicized is not shocking, but it is disappointing. Read more here. […]

  2. […] Response by Hafsa Kanjwal: It is imperative that we understand the backlash against the Ground Zero Mosque (now renamed Park 51 in hopes to alleviate some of the criticism) in the context of Islamophobia. It is nothing less than that, and even amidst hearing critics say that they find the building of this mosque “offensive”–there is an underlying sentiment that indeed, Islam is offensive. The way this issue has been politicized is not shocking, but it is disappointing. Read more here. […]