Facing and fighting discrimination

The controversy over Park51 has reached a fever pitch. Opinions and concerns from around the country have been expressed, with many falsehoods and stereotypes being propagated along the way. We feel that the voices of Muslim women are lacking in this debate, especially the voices of Muslim women who go to Park51, and as such, we have chosen to express our views on the matter.

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On 9/11, Listening to Muslim womens’ voices

Much has been said about Imam Abdul Rauf, the Imam behind the proposed Park 51 Islamic Cultural Center in New York City, which would stand a few blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks nine years ago today. In the intense controversy surrounding the construction of the community center, he has been called a “radical,” despite ample evidence of his longtime efforts to do interfaith work and bridge misunderstandings between Muslims and other communities.

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The focal point of cross-cultural dialogue

In the years since 9/11, Muslim men and women have responded to nativist hate mongering by working within the American legal framework. Muslim women have made the hijab a civil rights issue; similarly, the fight for the human rights of detainees has been going strong for some time. An additional response – one that is more nuanced to the gendered aspects of the problem – is to use gender and Muslim notions of femininity and masculinity as the focal point of cross-cultural dialogue.

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