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Park51

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Park 51 is the current name for a proposed Islamic community center and mosque near the World Trade Center site, although not in line of sight of it. Formerly named Cordoba House,[1] it is called the 9-11 Mosque or Ground Zero Mosque by opponents, and is highly controversial. Many of the opponents believe it is disrespectful to the victims of the 9-11 Attack in New York, since radical Islamists belonging to al-Qaeda carried out the attack, to have any Muslim-affiliated sites within the general area of the attacks. While now cleared, some debris and human remains fell in the area of the proposed construction.

Other non-Muslim proponents argue that it is a symbol of religious freedom and freedom of speech, values very much not part of radical Islam. Both sides claim to be fighting radical Islam. Public opinion is generally against it, with a CNN–Opinion Research Corporation poll showing opposition from 70% of Americans polled. [2]

Name

The new name is derived from the address, 51 Park Place.

Cordoba House was controversial because some believed it was a reminder of Muslim conquests of Cordoba, Spain.

Leadership

Leading the program are Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan. Rauf founded the American Society for Muslim Advancement. Rauf has been associated with Hamas, and has, when asked about terrorism, "“The issue of terrorism is a very complex question....I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened, but the United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.”[3]

Support

President Barack Obama, in August 2010, said there was a "right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan".[2]

According to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the following public figures have shown support for the project:[4]

Opposition

Newt Gingrich and John Boehner object strongly.

Opposition splits on no specific lines. While National Review editorially endorsed a boycott of contractors,[3] one of its columnists called such action unwise. [5] Josh Barrow argued that several proposed restrictions are specific to Islam, and are unwise precedents in the particular geography of Lower Manhattan.

References