Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Who else will speak up for the Muslim Community Center in New York?

Who Else Will Speak Up?
New York Times Editorial, August 31, 2010

The hate-filled signs carried recently by protesters trying to halt plans to build an Islamic center and mosque in Lower Manhattan were chilling. We were cheered to see people willing to challenge their taunts and champion tolerance and the First Amendment. But opportunistic politicians are continuing to foment this noxious anger. It is a dangerous pursuit.

Already New Yorkers have seen a troubled young man slash a Muslim taxi driver with a knife. A zealot in Florida is threatening to burn a stack of Korans on the anniversary of Sept. 11. Where does this end?

The country needs strong and sane voices to push back against the hatred and irrational fears. President Obama made a passionate defense of the mosque, but only once. Most Democratic politicians are ducking. So far, the leader with the courage to make the case repeatedly is Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

He has said firmly that the developers have a right to build and that New York needs a powerful memorial to those who died, surrounded by a living city. He has rejected efforts to move the mosque, noting that for opponents no distance will be far enough. At a Ramadan iftar dinner last week, Mr. Bloomberg declared that “Islam did not attack the World Trade Center — Al Qaeda did.”

Later, the mayor invited the wounded taxi driver, Ahmed Sharif, to City Hall. Then he went on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” to remind non-New Yorkers that “there’s already another mosque down there within four blocks of the World Trade Center. There’s porno places; there’s fast-food places. It’s a vibrant community. It’s New York.” Surely, Mr. Bloomberg isn’t the only politician left out there with courage and good sense.

Sen. Orrin Hatch: ‘I’d Be The First To Stand Up For Their Rights’ To Build A Mosque Near Ground Zero - Thinkprogress.com
Maddow: Islamic Center Opponents Could Be Stoking Anti-Muslim Attacks - Huffington Post
Ground Zero Muslim center may get public financing - Reuters

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