The controversy over the proposed site of the Park51 Islamic Center two blocks from Ground Zero has exposed fault lines in American society. The project has inspired a fervent national debate about religious freedom and tolerance and protecting the sanctity of a site where thousands perished in the World Trade Center attacks.
According to a Time magazine poll conducted last month, 61 percent of 1,000 adults surveyed opposed the project, while 26 percent supported it. Just 23 percent said it would be a symbol of religious tolerance, while 44 percent said it would be an insult to those who died on 9/11. Additionally, 46 percent of those polled believed Islam was more likely than other faiths to encourage violence against non-believers, although only 37 percent said they knew a Muslim American.
Adweek editors Eleftheria Parpis and Brian Morrissey challenged over 30 agencies to apply their communications skills to address the issue. Five did so.
The brief: change the perceptions of ordinary Americans toward Islam and Muslims, and encourage dialog between those who oppose and support the building of the community center. Participants were free to choose whatever media they felt would be most effective in communicating their ideas. Here are the agencies' visions and the summaries of their strategic thinking, in their own words.
GOTHAM, NEW YORK
AGENCYTWOFIFTEEN, SAN FRANCISCO
CONVERSATION, NEW YORK
Continue to next page →