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Essay 2 student example coded

Page history last edited by Brad F 9 years, 8 months ago


In the summer of 2010, a debate was undertaken as to whether an Islam community center should be approved to be built in the vicinity of ground zero. This project, Park 51, proposed to build a place for Muslim Americans to worship, relax, engage in recreation activities, hold events and more. It did not take long for this proposal to turn controversial. This paper will look at three articles concerning the Park51 proposal: Shabina S. Khatri’s “Do You Need a Muslim Friend”, “Ground Zero mosque not About tolerance” by Phil Hotsenpillar and Omid Safi’s “Park51 Controversy Requires Less Heat, More Light”.

            Khatri uses several rhetorical appeals to convey her message in favor of building the Park51 Islamic center. Khatri appeals to logos by listing off a few overlooked facts that would support the building of the center, one of which being any American citizen’s right to the First Amendment, and another being that the center is open to all residents of New York, as it includes an interfaith prayer room. However, the author states, “But logic is not going to work when emotions run so high. We need another strategy” (Khatri 1). As the previous quote suggests, the article does not rely on an appeal to logos but rather engages the reader by appealing to ethos and pathos. Khatri entices the reader’s emotions (an appeal to pathos) and establishes her ethos by sharing a personal story. In this story, the author shares a letter that a friend of hers had written to her. Her friend thanks her in the letter for being a good friend in addition to helping him see past prejudice against Muslims. Khatri reveals she is Muslim herself (an appeal to ethos) and proposes that the prejudice against followers of Islam would greatly decrease if more Americans had Muslim friends. The author utilizes several stasis arguments in her work. First, she proposes that if more Americans expose themselves to followers of Islam, they would lose prejudice against Muslims and overcome negative feelings regarding the Park 51 project. This is a proposal argument as well as a cause and effect argument, stating that befriending a Muslim American will decrease prejudice. Overall, the argument uses valid and thoughtful points, but Khatari’s claims have faults and limitations. Let me explain. Khatri states that prejudice can be decreased by educating one’s self about the building at the center of the debate, and by meeting and relating to a Muslim person so one can learn what Islam is all about. The implication is that Islam is a religion that promotes positive values like other religions. Although this proposal is made in good faith, it is not always possible to meet, let alone relate to, Muslims depending on the location of the reader. In small towns predominately composed of one ethnicity or religion (often where prejudice is highest), it may not be possible to meet followers of Islam, or people may not care to meet people unlike themselves. Although the proposal is good in theory, it is not universally practical for all United States citizens. Even if such a proposal was taken to heart by all readers, it seems like a solution that would take too long to achieve, given the immediacy of the debate. Making friends takes time. Perhaps longer than changing one's opinion on an civic debate.  Also it is not guaranteed that two people making good-faith efforts to meet will get along or see eye to eye on political issues, just as it cannot be guaranteed that two people on a first date will end up together in the long term. This weakens her argument and shows that the article is perhaps targeted towards citizens of larger, more diverse cities where such multiethnic interaction is more common and easily facilitated.  Overall, this article is not practical to all. If someone is able to befriend a Muslim American and in return become a better person, it is certainly a good thing; however, this is not an ultimate solution to the issue of discrimination against Muslim Americans in the Park51 case.

            The second article “Ground Zero mosque not About tolerance” by Phil Hostenpillar, takes a very different stand than Khatri. Hostenpillar is against Park51 and uses several strong appeals to ethos and pathos in his argument, including a personal annecdote where he reveals that he knew people who lost family members in the 9/11 attack. He pleads with his readers that Ground Zero should be left alone as the sacred burial ground of many U.S. citizens and also states that there are many other mosques in the general area where followers of Islam can worship. Hostenpillar uses a definition stasis argument by defining what he feels tolerance really means. He states “Tolerance, which is a two-way street called respect, is an important attribute - important to our country… But, tolerance without wisdom and discernment will breed more violence and a lack of common ground. If the Muslim community is serious about building bridges then they will respect the place that has been consecrated by the sacrifice of thousands of Americans” (Hostenpillar 1). He feels that the Muslim Americans are the ones who are not being tolerant because they wish to build on such a sacred area of New York City.  The author also uses a stasis argument of evaluation, saying that the Islamic center should not be built as a show of respect for those who lost their lives on that tragic day, implying that its construction is disrespectful. Yet another argument used by Hosterpillar is a comparison. In his argument he compares building a mosque near ground zero to building a 9/11 memorial in Mecca (a holy city of pilgrimage for Muslims worldwide). The point of the comparison is to suggest that both ideas, the actual Park51 proposal and his own hypothetical proposal for Mecca, are outlandish and impractical, ideas that people should naturally find inappropriate. Despite the obvious problems with his comparison, Hostenpillar’s argument is a strong one for his intended audienceit is clear that he is appealing to conservative, Christian Americans, as he clearly identifies himself as a Christian in his argument, and his insistence in calling the Park51 building "the Ground Zero Mosque" shows his slight anti-Muslim bias, when you consider the connotation of that phrase. To a more general audience, however, his point is not as well established. Hostenpillar never states the exact location of the Islamic center, making it sound like a mosque is to be built exactly where the Twin Towers once stood. He makes an assumption that the reader does not have a background on the issue and he uses this to his advantage in his argument. He also makes a complicated definition argument when he states that “our freedoms are being used against us." He means to say that because we embrace free speech and expression as an American value (perhaps too much?), some people are allowed to exercise that right at the expense of others who might be hurt. But this is a problematic and controversial statement. With this statement, Hostenpillar may insult Muslim Americans once again because he implies they are people not included in the "us" of his sentence, and therefore that they are in effect "hijacking" American's freedoms like a weapon. He continuously implies in his wording that the Muslim community in New York is not part of the "American" identity, and that they did not share in "the sacrifice of thousands of Americans." Too often he implies that they are the cause of that injury or guilty by association. Nevertheless, it seems clear he is not actually interested in addressing a Muslim audience, despite his proposal, so the complications and problems of his claims would probably go unnoticed by his intended audience.

            The last article, “Park51 Controversy Requires Less Heat, More Light” by Omid Safi, takes a similar stance as the first article and one that is completely different from the second. Safi appeals to ethos by quoting the mayor of New York City about the Park 51 debate and also writing as a well-informed citizen. The logos of the argument depends on facts pertaining to the location of the proposed Islam center and Safi establishes pathos by reminding readers of the rights that American citizens are entitled to, whether they be Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, and so on. Freedom is an emphasized value in this article, specifically the fact that Muslim Americans are heavily discriminated against.   The writer claims that Americans need to realize that Muslim Americans are just as much of American citizens as any other religion and that building a center for these citizens should in no way, be offensive to other Americans, regardless of location. Safi claims that Muslim Americans are discriminated in this country, directly and indirectly. In the article he states, “The key to rising above this mad, sense-less, and utterly manufactured controversy is to remove it from the singular focus on Islamophobia, and instead place it… in the much longer and broader context of American religious history”(Safi 1). He also claims that the building of Park51 would not show progress against Islamophobia but that “It is about competing and contentious visions of America. It is about what kind of a society we wish to be, and to become” (Safi 1). The author relates to his audience by creating unity with the reader as an American citizen. We later find out that Safi is Muslim himself when he uses the word “we” when referring to Muslim Americans. He is well informed on the topic and makes an assumption that most citizens have an irrational fear he refers to as “Islamophobia”. Although some Americans may feel this way, it is not right to assume that most Americans hold this view. Other than that, Safi does a good job connecting to his audience. Safi builds of the idea of equality and explains that Muslims deserve the same rights as every other religious group in America. Overall, the subtopics coincide with the argument as a whole to complete his article.

            As displayed through this rhetorical analysis, there were many stances on the Park 51 issue, and many strategies in which author’s conveyed their messages. In the end, Park 51 was built and little news regarding the mosque/Islam center has been reported.

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