Park51 Mosque Protest Image

The Heart of the Mosque Debate: Community Safety

It has been extremely challenging to cover the deluge of news surrounding our neighborhood in the past few months.

When we started this site, we intended for it to be a community-building place online: a place where we could discuss with pride the rebuilding of the new World Trade Center and the metamorphosis it will surely bring to our area.

However, we could not have anticipated the national response towards the development of the Park51 mosque, a development connected — in ways other than geography — to the greater rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. Issues of ‘fundamental rights’ and ‘racism’ have sprung up, and our readers (and the nation as a whole) remain divided.

Ideological debates aside, some troubling events from this weekend leave us with another important question: How can we be protected and made safe from opponents targeting the mosque in our area?

In the video above (shared with us via Facebook), protesters lambast a person they wrongly believe is a Muslim.

Racial profiling and police profiling in our area has been recorded in negligible amounts. A recent New York Times article published a map of police stops in the city; stops in our area were nearly non-existent.

How will the environment and political tension surrounding the mosque change our neighborhood’s safety? Sure, we don’t live on Ground Zero, but this is an area where we walk for our groceries, for our subways and in September, this is the route some of us take to bring our children to school.

I’m not sure if all in the community share the same concerns as some. If the plans for Park51 go through — and they are as iconic as the developers plan — will this mean we as a community should start to get used to constant protests? If so, how long will they last? Who will help to protect residents of Lower Manhattan from the national scrutiny?

These are questions I feel are not being asked enough. I hope that someone out there is concerned not with the political, or the religious, but the safety ramifications this might cause our community.

About Lizbeth

Elizabeth has been a resident of Battery Park City since 1985, where she and her sister were beneficiaries of the neighborhood’s first school bus stop. She loves to travel, but loves even more to come home. The Battery Park Esplanade is her favorite neighborhood fixture, where you’ll often find her soaking up the sun, rollerblading, or simply enjoying the view.