The Report - Ground Zero Islamic Centre
The plan to build an Islamic Centre near Ground Zero has polarised the United States and become a key political issue, playing heavily in the mid-term elections. Does it point to a rise in Islamaphobia as some people claim? And what could be the repercussions for America's relationship with Muslims at home and in the rest of the world? In The Report, Linda Pressly traces the development of a controversy that has engulfed New York, and more widely, the nation. Protestors against the development two blocks from where the World Trade Centre once stood voiced their opposition against the proposal on the anniversary of 9/11. They claim it is insensitive to the families who lost loved ones on that day and some go so far as to equate it with another attack on America. President Obama has stepped in to defend the principle of religious freedom and been the target of attacks from the former Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin and the popular conservative movement known as the Tea Party. Muslims in the USA have watched as the story has been all over the talk shows, generated columns of newsprint and been covered all over the world. They are concerned by what they see as a rise in Islamophobia, but don't want to give up on the project because they fear it could lead to mosques being banned elsewhere. The Report hears from some of the main protagonists - including the controversial blogger Pamela Geller who's led the fight against what she insists will be a 'mega mosque'. Members of the Muslim community in New York worry that the ordinary American's view of their religion has been eclipsed by al-Qaeda, a concern which is borne out, in part, by a visit to the site of another proposed mosque around ten miles away from Manhattan in Sheepshead Bay.
- 2010-09-30 20:00:00 - 2010-09-30 20:30:00 on Radio 4 FM, Radio 4 LW,