by Zoe Pollock

Azziz Poonawalla over at Belief Net has his final word on the Park 51 mosque, after conceding that "part of the problem is how few Muslim American voices there are in the debate:"

American Muslims are mostly an optimistic bunch. We can concede there are prejudices at work against us here, but that's part of the mix I described above. We have to be pragmatic and remember that every group before us, the Jews, the Catholics, etc had to face pretty much the same gauntlet prior to acceptance. I think the danger is that American Muslims will perceive unequal treatment and withdraw from civic engagement. The question isn't why we are facing this hostility but rather whether that hostility makes our attempts at assimilation moot. That's a debate we don't want to be having, but is being forced upon us. I hope that as a community of communities, Muslim Americans don't become disheartened and lose that essential optimism that really makes us American. Unfortunately, with precisely half of the American political landscape opposed to us, it's going to be a tough fight ahead to stay optimistic.

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