Ground Zero Mosque: Tolerance and Debate

November 22, 2010 | Baruch College, CUNY Lecture Series

Park51, the proposed 13-story Islamic cultural center — dubbed the Ground Zero mosque by the media — has stirred emotions and spawned an ongoing debate over how appropriate it is to have a Muslim center two blocks from the World Trade Center. According to Jonathan Tobin, executive director of Commentary magazine, the controversy has broadened into one that now questions America’s tolerance for Islam in general. “The debate is no longer about what is appropriate or not appropriate,” says Tobin, who participated in a Lillie and Nathan Ackerman Lecture Series panel entitled,” The Ground Zero Mosque: To Build or Not to Build,” sponsored by Baruch College School of Public Affairs. While many of the panelists defended the right to construct the center, Tobin was also concerned about the rights of those who speak out. The debate has “turned into one where virtually anyone who has voiced dissent about this issue has been branded a bigot,” says Tobin.
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