Listeners Weigh In On Controversial Islamic Center

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Listeners respond to our program examining controversies over mosques around the country. And after our conversation with author Melanie Thernstrom, we hear from others who have learned to live with chronic pain.


It's Wednesday, and today we read from your emails and Web comments.

People continue to debate the proposal to build an Islamic community center near Ground Zero in New York, and both sides filled our inbox.

Faoziba Hubeshi(ph) argued in an email: I'm a practicing Muslim. I do not see that building a mosque in Park 51 will attire any positive results to either the American Muslims or the American community. Nine-eleven has left behind thousands of people dead in Ground Zero, and many more dead and wounded in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Ground Zero has sparked a war, and the victims who have paid the price of this war had nothing to do with the events of 9/11. I do not see why this particular spot is picked to build a mosque. Do we have that many worshipers in New York that there is no other place to build a mosque other than Park 51?

Another listener, Amir Tariq(ph) in North Carolina, thinks that building the Islamic center could be an opportunity for outreach. The Islamic Association of Raleigh has never had much opposition for anything, even when we had a large expansion twice. The main reason the community accepts it so well is because this mosque puts a large effort into reaching out to the community, and education for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This so-called Ground Zero mosque can achieve the same type of acceptance if it were built there simply because if it really does reach to the community, people will see the way Muslims really are, and how the mosque plays a role in educating people for the better.

Many of you also shared your stories of living with chronic pain. For Virginia Chattam(ph) in San Francisco, one big problem is the negative perception many people have about her disease. There is so much bad press on chronic pain and migraines. I cringe when watching TV, and people say, oh, she has a migraine, as a joke, or insinuating he or she is faking the illness to get out a situation. Just see the movie "Julie and Julia." It's hard to be taken seriously.

Bob, in Oregon, also suffers from chronic pain - for more than 10 years now. His doctors told him it was a psychological problem, that it was all in his head. Then, last year, a muscle biopsy was done, and it turns out there is a physical base for my pain. I have a very rare muscle disease. The psychological stuff helps, but only goes so far.

You can download the podcast if you missed any of those programs. Just go to Click on TALK OF THE NATION for details. While you're there, sign up for our newsletter. We'll send you a daily update of what's coming up on the show, and how to get in on the conversation. And if you're on Twitter, you can follow me there @nealconan, all one word.

As always, if you have comments, questions or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is Please let us know where you're writing from, and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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