“We have to be able to decode what’s happening and realize that this is religious intolerance on one hand, and it’s [also] good ol’ red-blooded American racial and ethnic bias on the other hand,” said Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid, sitting in his office at the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood Inc. in Harlem.
A controversial nationwide conversation has sparked following the proposal of a Muslim-themed community center two blocks away from Ground Zero. Those in opposition harbor the national pain of the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 nine years ago and feel it is insulting and insensitive to the memory of the near 3,000 people who lost their lives. On the other hand, religious freedom is decreed in the Constitution, therefore, developers of the center at Park 51 have a legal status to build wherever they please.
This conversation has brought protestors from both sides to the street to express their views. It has brought about political lobbying and campaign strategies in order to stir the emotions of those both in opposition and in favor.
Meanwhile, a Time magazine poll published August 19 shows that 25 percent of people in the United States believe that President Barack Obama is a Muslim and only 26 percent of people are in support of the construction of this Muslim community center.