by Eric Martin
The ADL on the contemplated expansion of the mosque near the World Trade Center:
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.
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.
The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process. Therefore, under these unique circumstances, we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found.
I've read this about five times now, and I still don't see how they get from the premises in paragraphs 1 and 2 to the conclusions in paragraph 4.
The third paragraph is the weakest of bridges in this regard, not only because paragraph 4 betrays the principles extolled in the first two (though that does sort of give the game away), but for the simple fact that many of the families and friends of those killed believe that the mosque would be a testament to American values triumphing over ignorance.
Myself included. Not to mention, undoubtedly, some of the Muslim victims' friends and loved ones. They count too.
After all, why do some passions and sensitivities get valued over others and, if we must choose, why should we choose to give priority to those responses informed by divisiveness, bigotry and ignorance?
This is shameful for the ADL. Absolutely shameful.
UPDATE: Newt Gingrich doubles down on the hate. Matt Yglesias:
Team Gingrich gets both dumber and more offensive chatting with Salon’s Justin Elliot:
Newt Ginrich’s spokesman told Salon in a phone interview today that building a mosque at Ground Zero “would be like putting a statue of Mussolini or Marx at Arlington National Cemetery.”
Asked what the 19th century German philosopher had ever done to America, Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler said: “Well let’s go with Lenin then.” Tyler explained that he was talking about Lenin, who died in 1924, as representative of the Cold War and ideologies opposed to America.
And here we actually get to the nub of the problem...[T]he issue here is whether or not we should be defining Islam, as such, as an “ideolog[y] opposed to America” comparable to the ideology that powered the Soviet Union. I say “no,” Team Newt says yes. That’s both repugnant and strategically disastrous.
Newt, the sensible centrist ideas man.