Seven out of every 10 Americans now oppose the mosque to be located inside an Islamic center two blocks from the World Trade Center site in Manhattan. A few months ago, nobody cared. But what's come to be called "the Mosque at Ground Zero" is this month's angriest political issue. Last Friday, President Obama said Muslims have a right to include a mosque in their new community center. On Saturday, he said he did not mean to comment on the "wisdom" of the project, which many interpreted as a retreat from his first remarks. How did that happen? Was it a creation of right-wing Islamophobes? Are politicians now exploiting fears of a highly diverse religion? Have the mainstream media played a paradoxical role by downplaying Islamic extremism?
Justin Elliott, Salon.com (@elliottjustin)
Clifford D. May, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (@CliffordDMay)
Brian Levin, California State University, San Bernardino (@proflevin)
Haris Tarin, Director, Muslim Public Affairs Council's Washington Office