The Common Good

Faith in the Park51 Muslim Community Center

Faith cannot exist without doubt. The lack of certainty enables us to engage in the holy, human endeavor of believing when we do not have empirical proof. Doubt clarifies the scope of our beliefs and also ensures that we are faithful with knowledge of the consequences; blind faith is beautiful in concept but problematic in practice.

When I first heard about the Park51 community center in Lower Manhattan (often mislabeled the "Ground Zero Mosque"), I was full of doubt. Why there? Why so big? Why so expensive? But then I started to learn more. The center was to be overseen by Daisy Khan and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, champions of interfaith outreach and the belief in America as a bastion of religious freedom. I had faith in them as people.

Then I learned more about the project's ambitions, as well as its background. Khan and Rauf had been serving the Muslim community of Lower Manhattan for over a quarter century. Their congregation was impacted by 9/11 as much as any other in New York. They were grieving for the loss of congregants and praying for an end to religiously motivated conflicts. They were also working to promote moderate Islam

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