Debate Over Islamic Center in New York Raises Anti-Muslim Sentiments

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The former Burlington Coat Factory building that will make way for the Cordoba House which some are calling the 'Ground Zero Mosque' is seen in lower Manhattan on July 29, 2010 in New York.
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The proposal for a new Islamic center to be built just two blocks from Ground Zero could move forward, today. New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission will most likely vote against granting protected status to the 152-year-old building, which would allow the proposed center to replace it.

The heated debate over this Islamic center reaches far beyond New York City's borders, however. It has become a national battle, with people and organizations around the country weighing in. Surprising some, the Anti-Defamation League came out against the proposed center last week, saying, "The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process."

In light of this local issue that's quickly morphed into a national cause, we turn to a larger question surrounding the debate: what are our country's views toward Islam, nine years after 9/11? In regard to the extreme opposition to the proposed Islamic center, Hussein Rashid, a religion professor at Hofstra University, believes it is symbolic. Rashid says, "It's 'anti-other people' hysteria... there's no other mechanism to [vent] frustration [against Muslims]."