PEN American Center Supports Park51 Community Center

By Jason Boog Comment

5252_appiah_75x72.jpgPEN American Center president Kwame Anthony Appiah defended the Park51 Community Center today, voicing the literary organization’s support for the proposed project many have labeled “Ground Zero Mosque.”

Here is an excerpt from his statement: “We oppose all efforts to circumscribe this freedom; we deplore the rhetoric of suspicion that seeks to deny our common humanity and shared aspirations; and we emphatically reject the tyranny of fear … None of this is to deny the anguish of those who lost family and friends in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, nor is it to diminish the trauma we experienced and still clearly share. Nevertheless, we are sure no lasting comfort or peace can come from abridging the rights of others or yielding to distrust and fear.”

His remarks also singled out the poetry of Sufi leaders Rumi and Ibn Arabi–arguing “writers have a key place in this moment” that has bitterly divided the United States.