Recently, URI was invited by Religious Freedom USA founder Frank Fredericks to offer our support for the Park 51 project in New York, a project that is dedicated to “pluralism, service, arts and culture, education and empowerment, appreciation for our city and a deep respect for our planet.” Plans for Park 51 include a Muslim prayer center as well as the Cordoba House, a center for multifaith dialogue and engagement under the leadership of Imam Feisal Abdul-Rauf, a progressive Muslim leader and strong advocate for interfaith understanding in the United States.
URI global staff responded to this call by posting one-minute videos of support for the project on the Religious Freedom website. We will continue to invite our respected colleagues on the Global Council to also respond with their own messages of support.
On August 25th, the Standing Committee, on behalf of the URI Global Council (our global Board of Trustees) unanimously agreed to become a partner of Religious Freedom USA, in support of more respectful discourse about the proposed Cordoba House, with the understanding that religious freedom is a core American value that must be brought into the discussion.
Please see the videos posted thus far by Rev. Canon Charles P. Gibbs, Executive Director of URI, and Sarah Talcott Blair, Director of Youth Programs. Stay tuned for additional responses.