We regard freedom of religion as a cornerstone of the American democracy, and that freedom must include the right of all Americans – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths – to build community centers and houses of worship.
If we tried to use any legal maneuver to prevent this community center from being built, we would be laughed out of court.
We categorically reject appeals to bigotry on the basis of religion, and condemn those whose opposition to this proposed Islamic Center is a manifestation of such bigotry.
Bigotry is bad, mmkay?
However, there are understandably strong passions and keen sensitivities surrounding the World Trade Center site. We are ever mindful of the tragedy which befell our nation there, the pain we all still feel – and especially the anguish of the families and friends of those who were killed on September 11, 2001.
If the events of 9/11 have made someone feel squicked by Islam, that feeling should not be classified as bigotry.
The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process.
We are as high as a kite.
Therefore, under these unique circumstances,
Our opinion regarding 9/11, like the Supreme Court’s opinion regarding the 2000 Presidential election, should never be used as a precedent for anything else.
we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found.
Not that we’re offering to draw you a map or anything.
In recommending that a different location be found for the Islamic Center, we are mindful that some legitimate questions have been raised about who is providing the funding to build it, and what connections, if any, its leaders might have with groups whose ideologies stand in contradiction to our shared values. These questions deserve a response, and we hope those backing the project will be transparent and forthcoming.
We have no evidence that the Islamic Center is run by terrorists, but we’re not above insinuating that such evidence might exist. We call ourselves the “Anti-Defamation League” but we’re not above defaming the Islamic Center’s leaders and donors.
But regardless of how they respond, the issue at stake is a broader one.
We actually don’t care whether or not the Islamic Center is run by terrorists. We just wanted to blow some smoke about that.
Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site,
Then again, they may not.
and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam.
If so, we will strive to prevent anyone from receiving that message.
The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong.
Did we mention that bigotry is bad?
But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right.
We must perform a delicate balancing act between the feelings of people who, since 9/11, have become squicked by Islam (in a totally non-bigoted way), and the feelings of those “Islamic moderates” whom we used to call upon to denounce Muslim extremists. For an Islamic Center three blocks away from Ground Zero, that balance favors the non-bigots. Maybe this Center could be built four blocks away. Or maybe fourteen blocks away. Or maybe in Brooklyn. Then again, maybe not in Brooklyn.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.
God help us.
Brooklyn link via agrumer
“Translation” genre canonized by John Gruber