There was an interesting echo at the White House when President Barack Obama came out in favour of the proposed Cordoba House Muslim cultural centre near the site of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York (see our news report here). Controversy about the project, which opponents call the “Ground Zero mosque,” has been swirling in New York for weeks and went national recently when Republicans Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich joined the critics’ campaign. But until the annual Iftar dinner he hosted on Friday evening, the president had kept out of what his spokesman called “a matter for New York City and the local community to decide.”
When Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf decided to build a Muslim cultural centre in lower Manhattan, the model he chose couldn’t have been more mainstream American — the Young Men’s Christian Association chapters found in cities across the United States.
Two major United States broadcasters have rejected an advertisement that urges viewers to protest against a mosque planned two blocks from Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York. The ad by the National Republican Trust PAC– labeled inflammatory by critics — mixes images of 9/11 and Muslim militants while slamming a controversial proposal to build a mosque and Muslim community center in lower Manhattan.
France’s plan to ban full face veils, which comes up for a vote in the National Assembly on Tuesday, enjoys 82% popular support in the country, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. Its neighbours also approve — 71% of those polled in Germany, 62% in Britain and 59% in Spain agreed that there should be laws prohibiting the Muslim veils known as niqabs and burqas in public.
(Photo: Lebanese Shi’ite Muslims carry coffin Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah in Beirut, July 6, 2010/Sharif Karim)
Lebanon’s Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah was buried on Tuesday, mourned by hundreds of thousands who paid homage to an early mentor of Hezbollah who became one of Shi’ite Islam’s highest authorities.
The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the authors’ alone. Elizabeth E. Evans is a U.S. freelance journalist living in Glenmoore, PA who writes about religion.