MIAMI — After more than a year of controversy, Park 51, the Islamic Community Center located two blocks from the site of  the World Trade Center, opened its door. The storm of contention was absent, as was the overhyped religious component, the mosque. What the 2010 controversy demonstrated, was that that almost ten years after 9/11 American Muslims as a group are still held in deep suspicion as being un-American. 

The Rev. Dr. David D. Grafton will speak on the topic, “Challenges and Opportunities for the Muslim American Community Within Civil Society,” at a Nov. 13 public forum as part of a Clergy Dialog Interfaith Weekend being hosted by the Miami Conference of Christians and Jews.

Grafton is an associate professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at The Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

“For the American Muslims with which I have worked over the last year, there is a great deal of despondency over vocal segments of society that continue to paint American Muslims in broad strokes,” Grafton said in a statement announcing the forum.

“Yet, American Muslims constitute over 68 different ethnic communities, including the largest single group, which is composed of African Americans,” Grafton said.

The forum will offer an opportunity to explore different traditions and learn from one another, according to the organizers. It is being presented as part of a series of free lectures on “Changing Religious Identities in 21st Century America” by MCCJ, which was founded in 1935 as the Miami branch of the National Coalition of Christians and Jews. 

Grafton will speak at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, at Miami Shores Presbyterian Church, 602 NE 96th St., in Miami-Dade County.

For more information, call Roberta Shevin, MCCJ executive director, at 305-755-1606 or visit miamiccj.org

Photo: David Grafton