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The Anti-Defamation League Gets It Right on 9/11 Mosque

Posted on August 2 2010 3:00 pm
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The Anti-Defamation League has gone on record to criticize the building of the proposed mosque and community center complex, known as Cordoba House, near Ground Zero. It did the right thing, for all of the reasons that I have discussed in previous posts.

The issue is not religious tolerance, freedom of religion or bigotry, as the apologists for Cordoba House would have us believe. Rather, the issue is the real intent of those who insist that Cordoba House be constructed near what many Americans consider to be a sacred memorial site.

Why are the leaders of Cordoba House not leveling with us about where their funding is coming from? What exactly are their plans for segregating by gender some facilities in the community center?  Does Feisal Abdul Rauf, the voice of Cordoba House, still believe that sharia is consistent with the principles of our Declaration of Independence and that the 9/11 attacks were “a reaction against the U.S. government politically?” Why go out of the way to hurt the sensibilities of the survivors of 9/11 and the families of those who did not survive when there is already another mosque and Islamic center (the Assafa Islamic Center) being built in lower Manhattan without any protests?

Here are excerpts of what the ADL said about its decision to oppose this particular project:

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.

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.

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.  But regardless of how they respond, the issue at stake is a broader one.

Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam.  The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong.  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.

Instead of addressing the Anti-Defamation League’s concerns on their merits, Joe Klein has now gone after the ADL  for taking a principled stand. Klein, who accused the ADL of really being the “Defamation League,” said in his Swampland blog:

The journey of the (Anti-)Defamation League from beacon of tolerance to slightly potty geyser of toxic foolishness continues apace…[Abe]Foxman has hit the jackpot, joining the intolerant know-nothings who are seeking to block the establishment of a mosque–actually an Islamic center– near Ground Zero.
Unless Klein is willing to debate Foxman (the president of ADL), Newt Gingrich, or other opponents of Cordoba House whom he accuses of being “intolerant know-nothings” – a more apt description of Joe Klein himself – he should return to the swampland from whence he came.
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