While the controversy about the proposed Islamic Center in New York City rages on, I am once again deeply moved by the dignity and grace of Imam Fiesal Abdul Rauf and Daisy Khan. They recently spoke at the Open Center in New York City. If you don’t know The Open Center, it is a is a non-profit educational and cultural center offering programs intended to heal the body, nourish the soul and awaken the spirit. I have been to the center and it is one of the most spiritual places I have found in the hustle and bustle of the city.
In the video below, Imam Fiesal Abdul Rauf speaks eloquently about the goals of the Islamic Center. He references that the biggest issue we face as a society is extremism – in ANY religion – and that the goal of his work continues to be to build bridges between faith communities. His movement is to break the cycle of fear and misunderstanding that threatens peace in the world:
His wife, Daisy Khan, passionately speaks of the support that she and her husband have received, including a letter from a 15 year old agnostic girl who prays for less ignorance around the issue. The prayer that Ms. Khan references at the end of her talk is delivered with heart and really moved me. (Ms. Khan is an is Executive Director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), a non-profit organization dedicated to developing an American Muslim identity and to building bridges between the Muslim community and general public through dialogues in faith, identity, culture, and arts):
I have written extensively about the proposed Islamic Center (previously referred to as the Cordoba House.) Needless to say, I will be watching closely as Imam Fiesal Abdul Rauf commences his national tour in 2011 to build support for the project. It will not be a fund raising tour. Sadly, his speaking tour is not open to the public due to the death threats that he has received as a result of this project proposal. The media will be invited to meetings and is welcome to report as they see fit.
(See links below for other blog postings on the subject.)