Hendrik Hertzberg writes about the proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan, a few blocks from Ground Zero:
Like many New Yorkers, the people in charge of Park51, a married couple, are from somewhere else—he from Kuwait, she from Kashmir. Feisal Abdul Rauf is a Columbia grad. He has been the imam of a mosque in Tribeca for close to thirty years. He is the author of a book called “What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America.” He is a vice-chair of the Interfaith Center of New York. “My colleagues and I are the anti-terrorists,” he wrote recently—in the Daily News, no less. He denounces terrorism in general and the 9/11 attacks in particular, often and at length. The F.B.I. tapped him to conduct “sensitivity training” for agents and cops. His wife, Daisy Khan, runs the American Society for Muslim Advancement, which she co-founded with him. It promotes “cultural and religious harmony through interfaith collaboration, youth and women’s empowerment, and arts and cultural exchange.”
As someone who often trolls the right-wing blogs, this proposed center (which sounds a lot like the Jewish Community Center where I used to go to day camp when I was 6) is seen by many as some kind of threat. Coincidentally, these are the same people who talk about how Obama is going to take away their “freedom” and how much they care about the Constitution. Every day that goes by and every issue that comes up just lifts the veil on that charade. America’s right wing is motivated primarily by one thing – an irrational fear of our multicultural society. Everything else is just talk.