Co-founder of ‘Ground Zero’ Islamic center to speak in Philly

A Northwest Philadelphia interfaith group will bring one of the leading proponents for an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site to Philadelphia next month.

Daisy Khan will be the keynote speaker for Neighborhood Interfaith Movement’s MLK Day event on January 16 at the Arch Street Presbyterian Church located in Center City (map).

Khan is the wife of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who has been the public face behind the American Society for Muslim Advancement’s plan to create Park51, an Islamic center two blocks from 9/11’s Ground Zero. Khan and her husband co-founded ASMA in 1997.

The project became a flashpoint of controversy last year, as many voices nationally objected to the idea as an “insult” to the memory of the 9/11 victims at the World Trade Towers.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

The group that is hosting Khan is the Neighborhood Interfaith Movement (NIM) is based in Mount Airy. The idea to bring Khan to speak is in keeping with NIM’s mission to promote better relations among faiths, said NIM’s executive director, Rabbi George Stern. NIM is an alliance of 58 Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Unitarian congregations.

“There is no better time than Martin Luther King Day to try to open people’s hearts and minds to difference and motivate them to do the hard work of communicating across great distances,” he said. “In a nutshell, that is the work we do.”

The Jan. 16 event will be NIM’s 28th Annual Interfaith Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The program is titled “We’ll Walk Hand In Hand” and will feature a speech by Khan, followed by responses from a diverse interfaith panel, city youth reading the words of Martin Luther King and music from three city choirs.


Related links:

New York Times profile of Daisy Khan

AP Story details timeline for building Islamic center

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal