Fact Check from the AP

From Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press: "Fact Check: Islam already part of WTC neighborhood." Useful for anyone having trouble separating what's been claimed with what's actually known about the Park51 Islamic Cultural Center (and New York City, and America in general). I've seen these facts and rebuttals laid out elsewhere, but this brings a lot of important points together in a non-opinion-journalism format -- as "balanced" an accounting as is possible when one side is hysterical claims and the other is a matter of record -- and so I hope it will be widely read. Between this and Justin Elliott's timeline of manufactured outrage at Salon, I don't see any "controversy" left standing. So, inshallah, the day will come soon when it will no longer be necessary to say things like this:

No mosque is going up at ground zero.... The center's location, in a former Burlington Coat Factory store, is already used by the cleric for worship, drawing a spillover from the imam's former main place for prayers, the al-Farah mosque. That mosque, at 245 West Broadway, is about a dozen blocks north of the World Trade Center grounds.

That would be the mosque founded by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf in 1983. The one his community has outgrown after being in the neighborhood for many, many years. Maybe it's just because I live in New York City myself now, but given their long presence "in the shadow" of the former World Trade Center, I find the suggestion that these New Yorkers perceive the September 11 attacks as a "triumph" utterly obscene.

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly is editor-at-large and columnist at Commonweal.

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