The searing controversy over the proposed Islamic Center near Ground Zero in New York has exposed deep divisions and unhealed wounds in our country. (The comments on this recent Washington Post article by Eboo Patel illustrate these deep rifts.) Whether the debate stems from bigotry toward Muslims, or insensitivity to the tragedy of 9/11 depends on your perspective-- but emotions are flared and battle lines are being drawn. How can we turn this crisis into an opportunity to find a new way to talk to each other about the issues that are emerging? In our town, public radio station KQED hosted a forum with local religious leaders. Listen to the forum here. How is the controversy playing out in your community? How can we open up a constructive dialogue? Please post your examples and ideas.
The debate continues around the building of an Islamic center two blocks from Ground Zero. According to a New York Times report, the center's organizers reached out to key interfaith leaders, including those from the Jewish Community Center, Trinity Church and the 9-11 victims' families, but they did not anticipate the firestorm in the media that followed. In the midst of this controversy, Not In Our Town offers these stories from communities about interfaith action and understanding. We encourage you to use these films to begin a dialogue in your town and with your firends. Please let us know about the creative ways you develop to start a conversation. A City Unites After Synagogue Arsons Make Our Mosque Safe From Hate