The national conversation on the Park 51 Islamic Community Center has taken a turn for the worst. Fear, ignorance, prejudice, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and racism have reared their ugly heads and meaningful conversation is no where to be found. Where do people turn to put the Park 51 controversy into context?
Jack Shaheen is the author of the groundbreaking work “Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People,” and the author of “Guilty: Hollywood’s Verdict on Arabs after 9/11,” the winner of the 2009 Forward Magazine social sciences book of the year. He is a professor emeritus of Mass Communication at Southern Illinois University and a winner of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Shaheen has been following the recent developments on Park 51 and I caught up with him to see what he had to say.