The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines civil rights as individual liberties that are protected by the United States Constitution. The Free Exercise Clause, which accompanies the Establishment cause of the 1st Amendment serves to protect our individual liberty to practice any religion we see fit—a tenet of American society. After all, the established religions in our society promote peace and are examples of inter-community tolerance. Nonetheless, the proposed Park51 community center and prayer space has been attacked by opponents, who believe that it will be a training ground for Islamic extremists.
Modeled after the 92nd Street Y, a renowned Jewish Community center, Park51 was designed to promote inter-community peace in New York City. As further proof of its benign intentions, Park51 was originally titled Cordoba House to emulate the peaceful coexistence between Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Cordoba, Spain between the 8th and 11th centuries. The plan for Park51 includes a 13-story multi-faith community center and prayer space, which will be two blocks away from the World Trade Center site. In addition to a prayer space, the proposed design contains a performing arts center, culinary arts school, swimming pool, September 11 memorial, and 500-seat auditorium. Despite the Muslims’ intentions to build a peaceful community center, their proposed plan has faced backlash from New Yorkers, religious leaders, and politicians.
Opponents of Park51 object to its close proximity to “Ground Zero” and have attacked the proposed design as a training ground for terrorism. CNN polls taken in August 2010 show that 58% of Americans oppose the project. First, Park51 opponents attacked the original name, 1
Cordoba House, which they believed was a tribute to the Muslims conquest of the Spanish city rather than a symbol of inter-community tolerance. Mainly, opponents have condemned the project as a training ground for terrorism...