Live Chat: Meet the Man Behind the Mosque

Share:

September 27, 2011

Remember the so-called “Ground Zero mosque”?

For a few weeks in 2010, it was the country’s biggest news story, a lightning rod in America’s struggle to reconcile itself with the presence of Islam almost a decade after 9/11.

For Sharif El-Gamal — the developer behind the mosque and community center — the story is just beginning. The project — which he has named Park51 — opened its doors with a temporary space just last week.

So what does he have to say about the rancorous national controversy that’s engulfed the project? Why did he want to build it in the first place? And what’s next for the project — and for Sharif?

The Man Behind the Mosque producer Dan Reed followed El-Gamal over several months as he battled to garner support and funds for the project. Now it’s your turn. Sharif and Dan will be joining us for a live chat at 10am ET on Wednesday, September 28.

We’ll also be joined by New York Times reporter Anne Barnard, who has covered the Park51 project for over a year. She’s a frequent contributor to the City Room blog, our partner on today’s chat.

Submit your questions in chat box below anytime, and join us at 10am for the live chat.

El-Gamal is the chairman and CEO of Soho Properties, a Manhattan-based real estate firm that purchased property in lower Manhattan where he intends to build a mosque and community center.

Producer and director of The Man Behind the Mosque, Reed is a freelance filmmaker and writer whose previous documentaries include the Peabody Award-winning film The Valley about the Kosovo war, Terror in Mumbai, and, for FRONTLINE, Battle for Haiti.

Our guest questioner Anne Barnard is an award-winning reporter at the New York Times, where she has covered the Park51 story for over a year. She recently returned from reporting in Libya. Previously she covered the Middle East for The Boston Globe, including covering the Iraq War while living in Baghdad full-time for almost two years.


In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

The Doctor is Out: Texas Community Worries About Future Without Local Healthcare
The problem the residents of Bowie, TX, face is one that has become more prevalent around the U.S. as at least 136 rural hospitals have closed in the last decade.
June 18, 2021
America’s Legacy of Racist Killings: Key Takeaways from ‘Un(re)solved’
Civil rights era cold case killings. A federal effort to right past wrongs. What a FRONTLINE investigation reveals about the lives lost and the search for justice.
June 17, 2021
Last Responders — Coroners, Funeral Workers and Others — Say They Faced Risks as COVID Spread
Although the CDC maintains the risk of contracting COVID-19 from a dead body is low, there is no U.S. government agency tracking infection rates among last responders: medical examiners, coroners, embalmers, funeral directors and other trained mortuary workers. Workers told FRONTLINE they believe they’re highly exposed.
June 17, 2021
Former Worker Sues Tampa Lead Smelter Over Son’s Exposure
The worker alleges dusty conditions at Gopher Resource, Florida’s only lead factory, resulted in his son’s lead exposure.
June 2, 2021