August 19, 2010

What We're Reading: Prof. Kumar On Mosque

English Professor Amitava Kumar, whose latest book was recently reviewed in The New York Times, has a piece today on Vanity Fair's website about the Cordoba House, a.k.a. the Ground Zero Mosque. Writes Kumar:

"We were first told in the press that the mosque was going to be built on Ground Zero. Then we learned that it was actually more than two blocks away. It was clarified that it wasn't even going to be simply a mosque, nor would its membership be limited to Muslims. In fact, the building was going to house a community center with a basketball court and a culinary school. Accuracy and truth lay buried deep under the routine invocations of hallowed ground...

"What has really been happening in this debate is the annihilation of the individual. There is no longer a conversation about a particular person; we can talk only about a faith. But is that faith one that is practiced by real people? No, because instead of people, we are always talking only of politics and symbols."