Painful Memory for Muslims: The Outrage Over a Proposed Islamic Center After 9/11

To the 2 males who envisioned it, an Egyptian-American actual property developer and an imam lengthy concerned in interfaith initiatives, Park51 was a easy however crucial venture: a Muslim neighborhood middle, modeled on the Jewish Community Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, with areas for worship, athletics and cultural applications, open to the general public.

But amid lingering tensions and elevated Islamophobia 10 years after 9/11, some politicians and a few households of 9/11 victims opposed the plan to construct the middle a number of blocks from the previous World Trade Center website and known as it a “ground zero mosque.”

Opponents even urged that the venture was meant as a victory marker for Islamic extremists, though Muslims had lengthy been a part of the material of Lower Manhattan and lacked ample area for prayer within the space. The ensuing media melee ultimately scuttled the plans.

Last week, the top of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, apologized in an essay on The group, based to struggle non secular bias, had pushed for a totally different location for the mosque.

Cordoba House, a company based by the imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, welcomed the apology. The developer, Sharif El Gamal, declined to remark. But his sister, Jasmine M. El Gamal, who was a Middle East adviser on the Defense Department in the course of the controversy, had a blended response on Saturday.

“It takes guts to admit a mistake,” she stated. “But the apology has an important missing piece: why the A.D.L. opposed Park51. It was Islamophobia and fear of standing up to it. After 9/11, Muslims were bad for politics.”

Ms. El Gamal, who has written about her experiences as a translator at Guantánamo Bay, stated 9/11 was doubly painful since “Muslims were both targeted by extremists and blamed for extremists.”

“We were, and remain, caught between a rock and a hard place,” she stated, “used as pawns and proxies to make a greater point or start a larger conflict.”