Since first proposed in early May, Park51—also known as the “ground zero mosque”— has stirred up controversy and a national debate over its plan to build a Muslim community center two blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks. The debate isn’t going away. President Obama came out this week expressing his support for the plan and his belief that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. Underpinning all of this is a commitment to religious tolerance as a paramount value, something which religious scholar and atheist Sam Harris says we should re-examine. Harris and religious scholar Reza Aslan join Patt for a conversation about America’s pluralistic values and what this debate says about the state of religion and religious tolerance in our nation today.
*According to a recent Siena College poll, 63% of New Yorkers oppose the construction of the mosque and 64% of New Yorkers believe that they have a constitutional right to build there.
Sam Harris, co-founder & CEO of Project Reason; author of the books, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation; his upcoming book out in October, is The Moral
Reza Aslan, editor at the Daily Beast and internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions; his latest book is Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism In the Age of Globalization