Daisy Khan is shocked. In a phone conversation with her minutes ago she said she couldn’t believe that what had started out as “a community center for everyone in the neighborhood, to scale up and build up people of all religions has become so skewed. It’s hard for us to imagine we are in the thick of a controversy like this. The Republicans are really going after us.”
Daisy Khan, along with her husband Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is one of the co-founders of Cordoba House, which has proposed to build a mosque more than two blocks from Ground Zero, causing a political and religious furor.
She says she and her husband will not back down. “There is too much at stake,” she says. “Constitutional rights, the development of the Muslims here, how the world is watching the United States. We tell people America upholds religious freedom. We should not compromise those values.”
Khan says that it is “evident that there is still healing that needs to happen. There are bigger issues here and it’s also about how Muslims are perceived. When will Muslims be accepted as plain old Americans?”
Khan says that there are huge ramifications to closing down or being forced to relocate. “We are debating about having a healing dialogue, building bridges and this whole thing has turned into the opposite of what we have envisioned. ” She says that they are now having discussions with 9/11 families. “We will have a dialogue with them. ” But she says, “It is private property. To walk away without taking everything into consideration would be irresponsible.”
Some of the most serious considerations, she says, are the fact that the publicity would hurt Muslims in the rest of the country and that religious freedom is under such serious attack. Not only that, but Khan says that the vilification of the plans for the mosque “have only strengthened our supporters. None of them have caved. They are circling the wagons around us. They know they could be next.” She mentioned supporters of all faiths.
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