Copyright © 2003-2011, Aishah Schwartz. Permission granted to circulate among private individuals, groups, or in not-for-profit publications in full text and subject title. All other rights reserved.

September 12, 2010

Muslimah Writers Alliance Credited for Pro-Active Efforts in Response to Park51 Related Islamophobia

It will take the wisdom of Solomon to answer the question "what would be best for the common good" as what may be the final chapter in the Park51 controversy unfolds.

PRLog – Sep 12, 2010 – WASHINGTON, D.C. (MWA-Net) – On September 11, 2010, Sheila Musaji, Founding Editor of The American Muslim (TAM), published an eye-opening follow-up to an extensive list of articles written by American Muslims and Arabs that is well worth the time to absorb, as she attempts to unravel the inauspicious background and 'leadership' of the Cordoba Initiative/Park51 project, which appears now to point in the direction of all things related to money. 

In her opening comments Musaji stated, "For all of us in the American Muslim community who have spent a lot of time defending Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and Daisy Khan, and defending this Cordoba House project because we believed that they were the primary leaders of the project, and because they were under attack unfairly by Islamophobes – it may be that we were misled, or that we at least didn’t understand the structure of this project. What Imam Feisal or the Cordoba Initiative stand for may be irrelevant to the core issues involved.

"Since this project was announced, the American Muslim community has experienced not only an alarming increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric, but has also seen this rhetoric lead to actual acts of intimidation and even violence."

The Islamophobic backlash being a key factor that Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) Director Aishah Schwartz has focused on since mid-August in an article titled, "Park51: Here is the Fruit of Your Labor", wherein she addressed the rise in hate-filled rhetoric and bigotry threatening not only the Muslim community at-large, but also its potential for adversely affecting the Muslim student population recently starting a new school year. 

Opening comments aside, the background and 'leadership' of the Cordoba Initiative/Park51 project unravels as Musaji details with the resourcefulness Schwartz has long admired her for, information that she states had, unfortunately, been previously overlooked as the race to defend the project steamrolled worldwide.

As the tangled web of leadership and lack of transparency is revealed throughout Musaji's extensive article titled, "Cordoba House – Yes!: Park51 – No way?", she credits several individuals and organizations with attempting to respond in a pro-active way to the controversy and Islamophobic media frenzy.

Schwartz's MWA issued request for federal action against Islamophobia was listed, in addition to the efforts of Michael Wolfe and Alex Kronemer's website 'Ground Zero Dialogue' - My Faith My Voice: American Muslim voices PSA's released as a grassroots effort; a CAIR PSA campaign produced a series of separate PSA's; a Majlis Ash-Shura of Metropolitan New York, a coalition of 55 New York City American Muslim organization leaders, issued a statement on combating ethnic and religious intolerance and defending the continued building of mosques in America; a Coalition of African American Muslims (CAAM) held a press conference in Washington, D.C.; ISNA called an emergency meeting of top interfaith leaders to address anti-Muslim fear and intolerance; and CAIR, ISNA, MPAC, etc. issued advisories and community response tips and safety guides.

With questions surrounding leadership and direction for Park51, which remain at the heart of the debate, Musaji acknowledged that the Muslim and Arab communities are now left to deal with the problems unnecessarily raised by the ensuing controversy, stating that the project is, indeed, the catalyst for the subsequent turmoil; dealing with rampant Islamophobia while defending citizen rights.

Musaji added, "The fact that the leadership and vision for the project may not be what we were led to believe only adds one more complication to our situation. Even if this project turns out to be a purely business venture on the part of the actual project leadership, the core issues that the project has raised go well beyond this one project, or the individuals directly involved – that of the legal, civil, and constitutional rights of all Muslims in the United States."

As Musaji suggested, and Schwartz has been asking from the onset, "what would be best for the common good?"

"This will take the wisdom of Solomon to solve," Musaji concludes. 

Cordoba House – Yes!: Park51 – No way? By Sheila Musaji

Muslimah Writers Alliance Director Commends U.S. Officials for Speaking Out Against Quran Burning - Sep. 9, 2010 (Supporting national leadership and reminding community of 9/11 Freedom Coalition Rally in Washington, D.C.)

9/11 Freedom Coalition Launches Petition Calling on President to Enforce Religious Land Use Act - Sep. 2, 2010 (MWA'S participation in proactive coalition with Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), Responsible for Equality and Liberty [R.E.A.L.] and United for Pluralism Rallying in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11)

Muslimah Writers Alliance Director Requests Federal Action Against Islamophobia - Sep. 1, 2010 (Item referred to in Musaji's report)

Muslimah Writers Alliance Announces 'The Non-Islamophobic Muslim News' on Facebook - Aug. 29, 2010 (Pro-Active Facebook platform designed to be a one-stop resource for NON-Islamophobic Muslim News)

Park51: Law Passed 10 Years Ago Trumps Religious Freedom Debate - Aug. 25, 2010 (Highlighting the fact that the debate was never really a debate as the project was protected from its onset by the Religious Land Use Act of 2000)

# # #

Established in 2006, MWA is an internationally-based collaboration of Muslim women writers and advocates working together to counter negative and inaccurate perceptions regarding members of the Muslim community and the Islamic faith.

--- end ---     Visit Press Room

1 comment:

  1. I noticed your blogs several days ago and was interested by its position as a Writers Group blog. I have participated in a Writers Group in my neighborhood for several years and find it a very useful experience. From my experience, Muslims are generally not very interested in writers groups. Your large amount of work in that direction may be exceptional.

    Your writings about the Park51 controversy interest me also. I have posted various comments on it in various online discussions.

    Last night I read a different kind of commentary and discussion about the controversy in

    Link thru

    It includes the following paragraph

    “At the center of the media firestorm is an interesting woman, Daisy Khan, co-visionary of the proposed center. But, her vision and life work have been nearly invisible in recent media accounts. She has been categorized almost exclusively as “the Imam's wife” and quoted because he's out of the country. But, if one pushes aside the media's smothering memes, one can easily find out more about Daisy Khan beyond her role as wife. Why has the mainstream media ignored so much about her life and achievements? It turns out she's an interesting American woman struggling to build new institutions for women to reclaim voice and power.”

    It would seem that you also ignore the anti Islam and anti Muslim woman aspects of the tirade against the Cordoba House developers.