Arun Venugopal is a reporter and the creator of Micropolis, WNYC’s multi-platform series examining race, sexuality, religion, street life and other issues that define New York City. He has been with the station since 2005, and has covered a wide range of stories, including the death of Sean Bell, the controversy over the Park 51 mosque and community center and Occupy Wall Street .
President Bush on Park 51: No Comment
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 02:23 PM
Former president George W. Bush was on the Today Show with Matt Lauer, promoting his new book, Decision Points, and he was pushed to take a stand on Park 51, the Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero. As you may recall, at the peak of the controversy this summer, a number of supporters of Park 51 called on him to speak up, in hopes that he would voice support for the project and perhaps chide the most virulently anti-Islamic speakers.
He didn't then, and he refused to today, saying he didn't want to have his words on the issue -- or any other issue -- constantly compared to those of President Obama. Lauer tried to elicit some response, any response on the issue, but didn't get very far.
LAUER: Well, without saying whether they should build the community center or not, are you disappointed by the increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric in this country that we’ve seen recently?
BUSH: I think most Americans welcome freedom of religion and honor religions. I truly do. And the problem with the arena today is a few loud voices can dominate the discussion and I don’t intend to be one of the voices in the discussion.
See this video clip of the interview, from Think Progress.
The full interview is also worth watching, if only to see Kanye West apologize for calling Bush a racist, once upon a time. I think we need to impose an immediate moratorium on Kanye West apologies.