Posts Tagged ‘Park 51’

Report from Zuccotti Park, and what’s next for Occupy Wall Street

November 18, 2011

 

I’m back from my annual ballet trip to New York, and back to my computer. Along with four wonderful performances by American Ballet Theater I got to visit Park 51, the Islamic Center three blocks from Ground Zero (about which more soon), and Zuccotti Park, the home of Occupy Wall Street.

Zuccotti Park was a friendly place, surprisingly orderly, contrary to expectations from television. People sweeping, others staffing the free food tent, others reading or cheerfully chatting with visitors like me. There was a library, several pet dogs (apparently OWS is dog-, not cat-friendly) and a few baskets seeking donations. I saw lots of American flags and posters, but nothing ugly or much beyond run-of-the-mill progressive political ideas.

OWS aspired to being a good neighbor (photo): zero tolerance for alcohol, drugs, or abuse of people or public property. Everybody I saw seemed to be compliant with the proclaimed good neighbor policy.

But Mayor Bloomberg decided, reasonably enough, that Occupy Wall Street was becoming a nuisance and a threat to public health, and ordered the NYPD to evict the occupants from the park in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday. Most of OWS went peacefully, if sleepily; about 200 held their ground and were arrested. The park was cleared, cleaned, and the occupiers were readmitted, this time with tents and sleeping bags prohibited.

The police action may have reinvigorated a movement that had begun to bore the media and the public. Yesterday, the two-month anniversary of the start of the protest, the demonstrators (more…)

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The anti-Muslim hate movie, The Ground Zero Mosque: The Second Wave of the 9/11 Attacks, is wowing the American right

March 7, 2011

 

Planning for a Muslim community center in lower Manhattan, 2-1/2 blocks from Ground Zero, was proceeding in an orderly fashion. A sponsor had purchased the former Burlington Coat Factory outlet, slightly damaged by debris from the 9/11 attack, and a Muslim Imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, was holding regular Friday prayers while the municipal rules were being followed to get final approval, which came last July, when New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission declared that the building wasn’t a historic landmark. I wrote about the process here.

But the hate-mongers had just barely started their ugly work, Blogger Pamela Geller got traction with her rants equating Islam with 9/11, and now boasts about her “SRO crowd at CPAC [the Conservative Political Action Committee—a powerful force in republican politics] and a packed house at the St. Luke’s Theatre in Manhattan,” for her “documentary,” The Ground Zero Mosque: The Second Wave of the 9/11 Attacks.

The trailer is short, and all fair-minded people should see it, as the guiding force behind opposition to the Park 51 project in lower Manhattan, and to other mosques in California, Tennessee, and around the USA.

 

Fareed Zakaria says build the Ground Zero mosque

August 11, 2010

I’ve been writing in favor of Park 51, the so-called Ground Zero mosque, because ethics demands that we treat others as we would be treated, and because religious freedom is a precious American birthright.

But sometimes the ethical thing is also the best strategy. Fareed Zakaria, one of America’s most insightful political commentators (and an Indian-born, Yale- and Harvard-educated Muslim) writes in this week’s Newsweek that encouraging groups like the one behind Park 51 is part of a “lasting solution to the problem of Islamic terror.”

Zakaria has been tagged by New York Magazine as a possibility to be the first Muslim Secretary of State. All his columns are worth reading, but this one is a must for understanding the national security reason for supporting Park 51 and other efforts by moderate American Muslims.

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