9/11 Anniversary: Al Qaeda’s Failure on Wall Street

The World Trade Center was never seen as an overly attractive piece of architecture, but as a symbol of American economic might, it was undeniably powerful. Never mind that it was built just as New York was imploding financially in the mid-1970s; it still stood as a set of dual icons representing the economic primacy not just of the United States, but of Wall Street and the entire financial industry.

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Behind the Mosque Controversy, a Rich History of Both Coexistence and Conflict

Over the past two months, the planned construction of a Muslim cultural center in the vicinity of the World Trade Center site has become the fulcrum of an acrimonious debate about religion, freedom of expression, and the place of Islam in the United States. You would have had to be living off-the-grid somewhere not to have noticed the hundreds of opinion pieces, thousands of blogs, and considerable airtime on television and radio. As characterized by Newt Gingrich, the planned center is no less than the latest chapter in a war of civilizations: "America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization."

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The Battle Of The Experts

New crises produce new experts. A high-profile trial means that we'll see defense attorneys and prosecutors airing their differences on CNN. An election logjam means we'll hear from political consultants and campaign reporters. The events of September 11 dramatically altered the news agenda. Americans now care about Islam, and a group of scholars has emerged to explain it to them. A Princeton professor talks with Charlie Rose on PBS; a Johns Hopkins academic sits next to Dan Rather during the CBS nightly news; a Georgetown teacher entertains questions on CNN. Since the attacks of September 11, these scholars are in the spotlight, and at stake is not only whether the West can come to terms with Islam, but whether the world can prevent the destruction of suicidal extremism.

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