I am deeply disappointed by the Anti-Defamation League, a group which was founded to fight vicious bigotry and religious intolerance, specifically that against Jews.
The venerable organization has now made common cause with the bigots and demagogues who are fighting plans by a group of New York Muslims to build a community near (not at) Ground Zero. The ADL’s statement is careful in its wording, acknowledging that the Cordoba Initiative has the “right” to build near the site of the Twin Towers. (BTW, the Cordoba Initiative has been in the vicinity of Ground Zero for years.) Nevertheless, it provides cover to bigots and opportunists who are using the controversy for political gain (think Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich):
“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,” the statement reads.
“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,” it says.
What is not right is for the ADL to join with those who smear all Muslims as somehow associated with suicidal jihadists. That’s the very definition of prejudice.
As a Christian, I want nothing to do with murders like Scott Roeder, who killed a Kansas abortion doctor and claimed he did it in God’s name. If anyone associated my Christianity with his, I’d be quite offended. But the ADL has joined with those who associate all Muslims with the 9/11 wackos.
As Trevor Swoverland wrote in the Duluth Tribune:
The Cordoba Initiative is dedicated to the promotion of human rights and democracy in the Muslim world, as well fostering understanding between mainstream Muslims and broader American society. The founder, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, has been an outspoken critic of terrorism and violence and a vocal advocate for the integration of Muslims into American society. The center would be a powerful statement to would-be terrorists and their companions that Muslims in America are fully American, and that terrorists will not define Islam here. What a powerful repudiation of terrorist ideology; it seems patently absurd to demand such a stand from American Muslims and then shout them down when they take it.
The ADL’s motto reads, in part, “to secure justice and fair treatment for all.” There is nothing in its position on the Cordoba mosque that does service to justice or fair treatment.