The campaign to prevent the construction of a Muslim community center near the site of the World Trade Center attacks is emblematic of an “Islamophobia” that is “a threat to the very fabric of our democratic, pluralistic way of life,” said a prominent scholar of Islam. In an op-ed contribution on CNN.com (July 19), John L. Esposito, the director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, disputed the notion that the construction of the center would be a dishonor to those who died on Sept. 11, 2001. Esposito noted that Cordoba House, as the project is known, would be a community center, not a mosque as has been widely reported, and would be available to all members of the community, not just Muslims. “Mosque construction in the United States has become a catalyst for increased anti-Islam and anti-Muslim sentiment, discrimination and hate crimes in recent years,” he said.
Professor Defends Muslim Center