Guest Voices: Witnessing the first interfaith event at Park51 - On Faith at washingtonpost.com
Though the September 11th Qur’an burning was called off, the anti-Muslim protests at the Park 51 Community Center in Lower Manhattan went on as planned. I could see the police barricade that still cordoned off the whole street as I approached the Center the next day. I was coming to attend a community dialogue and evening screening of a documentary film my company, Unity Productions Foundation (upf.tv), produced a few years ago. The event was intended to be the unofficial launch of the community-based, interfaith work that Park 51 hopes will be the main feature of the eventual Center.
Trying to get out of a light drizzle, I ducked under an awning where three Catholic seminarians stood. They were there to also attend and were waiting for clearance from the police to pass through the barricades. I introduced myself and we talked briefly about recent events and, with a nod to the heavy police presence there, to the growing threats against American Muslims. A trashcan near us was overflowing with some of the pamphlets and placards from yesterday’s angry protests. I wondered what America really stood for nine years after 9/11.