On May 28, 2010 the conservative Washington Times newspaper ran an editorial in opposition to what they called the “9/11 Mosque,” the proposed Muslim cultural center set to be built blocks from the site of the World Trade Center.
It marked the beginning of a long summer plagued by the heated rhetoric of conservative icons like Newt Gingrich, Pamela Geller and Sarah Palin. All of them wasted no time offering their own condemnations of the center on their own blogs or Facebook profiles. Candidates running for federal office as far away as North Carolina campaigned almost exclusively on their opposition to the “ground zero mosque.” Fox News devoted hours of airtime to opponents of the center to peddle their talking points. And thousands of hateful, vitriolic emails came pouring into the offices of Park 51, the center.
All of those emails landed in the inbox of Aylin Karamehmetoglu, the newly hired Chief of Staff at the Cordoba Initiative, the non-profit organization behind the cultural center.
Karamehmetoglu, a 2007 Stony Brook University graduate, began at Cordoba in early June of 2010 and was immediately placed at the forefront the center’s biggest challenge: defending itself from relentless and largely false attacks from a constituency proven to be impervious to rational argument.
Click through for the full story by Editor in Chief Adam Peck.