Muslim Public Relations


The following is a Facebook note Brock wrote yesterday. It's too good not to share.
Building a mosque and an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero is a no-win situation for everyone involved.

I understand the arguments for building the mosque at Ground Zero. I agree with them all, including the statement: “It’s the right thing to do.” I don’t agree with the minority of Americans who display anti-Muslim sentiments and are currently protesting mosque projects around the nation. It’s wrong to blame an entire faith for the exploits of extremist fundamentalists.

Unfortunately, an SRI poll found that 61 percent of New Yorkers oppose the proposed multi-story Muslim cultural center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero. Calling that 61 percent “bigots” would be a huge mistake. There could be several reasons for why they don’t want the mosque there. For some, it might be out of respect for the dead. For others, they could have a hard time distinguishing the version of Islam practiced by the strong majority of Muslims with that of Jihadists. And a few probably are bigots.

We can talk about how wrong that 61 percent is; after all, there were practicing Muslims counted among the dead on September 11. Islam is, at its foundation, a religion of peace. It’s wrong to hate others because they are different from you. These are all great rebuttals that we can shout from the top of the Empire State Building, but it won’t matter. Nobody likes being told they are wrong, especially with regards to a deep, healing wound. It’s like going to a funeral and telling the new widow she should have chosen a nicer casket.

The ACLU would like us to believe that the problem with that 61 percent is religious intolerance. “We congratulate the Landmarks Preservation Commission for promoting our nation’s core values and not letting bias get in the way of the rule of law,” they said in a statement. “The free exercise of religion is one of America’s most fundamental freedoms.” While I do not disagree with these statements, 61 percent is still a large number to lecture on fundamental freedoms of Americans, especially when compared with the meager 26 percent supporting the mosque. Muslims don’t have a “religious intolerance” problem—they have a public relations problem.

Is the mosque worth it? Never mind the rights and wrongs in this story. If the mosque gets built as planned, eight out of ten New Yorkers will see it as an “unacceptably insensitive” statement by the Muslim faith. Only two out of ten agree the cultural center would serve as a monument to religious tolerance. If the mosque is built, the ACLU and Islam will have their political victory. But a majority of New Yorkers and, I believe, Americans, will see Muslims as insensitive. Opposition will rise to Muslims in the United States. In short, the mosque at Ground Zero might actually foment the same religious intolerance the ACLU feels it has won a victory over. Political wins are not public wins.

But the most interesting statistic of all is that only a little more than half of all New Yorkers have been following news about the mosque closely. This provides a precious window of opportunity that moderate Muslims everywhere can use to their advantage.

The best scenario for Muslims, from a public relations standpoint, would be to not build the mosque. It would not show a sign of weakness—it would be a sign of respect. Imagine how the 61 percent would feel towards Muslims if they read this statement on the front page of the New York Times tomorrow morning:

“After careful consideration of the opinion of the people of the New York, we have decided to withdraw our plans to build the mosque and Islamic Cultural Center. We are extremely grateful to live in the United States where religious freedom is a core value of its people, and thank Americans all across the nation who supported the building of this beautiful symbol of religious tolerance. With heavy hearts we recognize the fact that, nine years ago, our great nation was brutally and maliciously attacked by terrorists who repugnantly and deceitfully professed to be members of the Muslim faith, a faith centered on peace.

This attack caused deep wounds in all of us, wounds that we share without regard to ethnicity or religion. For many of us, these wounds are just now beginning to heal, and we respect the healing process that is taking place in this nation. To some, the line between true practitioners of Islam and extremist imposters is blurred. It is out of love and respect for those Americans that we have decided to build our mosque and cultural center 3 miles away from the hallowed earth of Ground Zero.

We are united here with Jews, Christians, and all other religions under one common banner—the Star-Spangled Banner. And together, out of the ashes of terrorism, we will work to build a stronger society based on the principles of mutual love and understanding, and in so doing we will heal the wounds within our hearts.”

Muslims would win so much more than a political victory with a statement like this. Politicians could never denounce them. Public opinion would shift incredibly with regards to the mosque. The 61 percent who are against the mosque would feel love and respect from this gesture by the Muslim community. And by “admitting” the line is blurry, Muslims would actually distance themselves from extremists in the very minds of the people who can’t tell the difference.

We strive too much in this country for political victories because they give us the ability to say, “I’m right and you are wrong.” But the true victories lie in creating situations where both the opposing sides win. By choosing not to build the mosque from a public relations standpoint, the Muslim community could create a win-win situation.


  1. I love what he wrote! I agree. I was REALLY worried about the situation when a bunch of people in UT were telling me that a mosque was going to be built ON Ground Zero (now THAT wouldn't be an appropriate memorial) Leave it to Utahns to ezaggerate... But just having it in the neighborhood- I think that would be fine. But your husband is so right- the Muslims do need to work on PR, because right now the only news out there is about the extremists. I guess that's where their lack of central leadership becomes a problem for them, because who's going to direct it?
    Thanks for sharing! Your hubby is very eloquent.


© Raesevelt All rights reserved . Design by Blog Milk Powered by Blogger