On Building the Cordoba House: A Step Toward Mutual Understanding

Today, Tanenbaum stood alongside the Cordoba Initiative, the American Society for Muslim Advancement, Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer and countless other community and faith groups at a press conference to protest hate and anti-Muslim sentiment (Lots of people call that “Islamophobia” but that term really means fearful of Islam.  We think the real issue is hatred of Islam and Muslim bias.)

The impetus for the conference? The proposed building of the Cordoba House, a Muslim educational, cultural center and mosque being planned for TriBeCa, some blocks from Ground Zero.
 
As we wrote in our a letter supporting the project,
 “[We are] proud to stand beside the Cordoba Initiative as it seeks to establish a bricks-and-mortar space that will promote a thriving and diverse Muslim community in New York City – together with new opportunities for education and coexistence among Muslims and non-Muslims.
 
[We] hope that the TriBeCa Community Board will recognize the value of such a space, as a place that can be a resource for repairing divisions that were created on 9/11 and for helping to establish substantive engagement among Muslim and non-Muslin communities, both in New York City and abroad.” 
While it is not surprising that some are opposed to the Cordoba House’s construction, the level of vitriol aimed at the project and its leaders is very troubling, with Tea Part Express Chairman mark Williams calling it a “monument to terrorism.” Wrote Williams, “"The monument would consist of a Mosque for the worship of the terrorists' monkey-god."

This is precisely the hatred that Tanenbaum battles in all our work. Since 9/11, Muslims have too often faced misinformed stereotypes and blind hate. The Cordoba House would be a place of learning. And Mr. Williams’ comments show just how necessary that is.