Tolerance test for New York

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Tolerance test for New York

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The objections to an Islamic centre near Ground Zero should give Muslims pause for thought

When, in early September, the New York Times published a poll in which two-thirds of New Yorkers described themselves as uncomfortable with the location of a Muslim centre downtown, only a few blocks from where terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Centre, I thought the message was clear: even in the most diverse city on the planet, a place that has made room for every language, faith and ethnicity, people are uneasy about Islam.

I would have thought, given that New Yorkers need no lessons in tolerance, that this message, painful as it is, might give Muslims pause. Even as the whole affair has cooled—now that the imam behind the project, Feisal Abdul Rauf, appears to have agreed to shift his Cordoba centre a few blocks away—I would have thought that Muslims, and their allies on the left, might take time to reflect.

But I was wrong. Not only

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Aatish Taseer

Aatish Taseer is a journalist and the author of “Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey through Islamic Lands” (Canongate), from which this article is drawn 

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