Miss USA thinks New York City’s proposed Islamic cultural center should move, out of respect for “tragedy.”
That’s the word from Gawker, which grabbed the celebrity gossip show Inside Edition’s exclusive scoop. Fakih is in Las Vegas right now preparing for the Miss Universe competition on Monday:
Fakih says she backs President Obama regarding freedom of religion, but says that there should be sensitivity as to where the NYC mosque is built, and that she does not think it is appropriate to be built near Ground Zero.
Rima Fakih: “I totally agree with President Obama with the statement on Constitutional rights of freedom of religion. I also agree that it shouldn’t be so close to the World Trade Center. We should be more concerned with the tragedy than religion.”
Well, in any case, Fakih, the first Arab-American and Muslim woman to win the national Miss USA title, has spoken. By now, many prominent Muslims in America have weighed in on the topic. Opponents called the proposed, privately owned building a “WTC Mega Mosque,” and an insult to the memory of those who died on Sept. 11.
Miss USA is no stranger to Islamophobic, race-baiting controversy. Back when she was crowned in May, the usual right-wing attackers piled on about the new pageant queen, whose campaign was backed by what critics called an “Islamic terrorist” group. Right-wing commentator Debbie Schlussel said Fakih had “extremist and deadly ties.” At least now she showed them.
To date, the ranks of principled political leaders who’ve tried to inject sense into the vitriolic debate remain thin.