Who exactly is Feisal Abdul Rauf? This is the question countless people are asking themselves, in the wake of the Park 51 founder’s skyrocketing national profile. The din over the Ground Zero Mosque has somewhat subsided but the Islamophobic hysteria that it produced remains radioactive.
The renaming of the Center is a particularly eye-catching facet of this enterprise. The Cordoba House, named for Al-Andalus’s achievements in erudition and cultural pluralism, is now the rather legalistic Park 51 Center, shearing off the historical allusions to past Islamic civilizations.