The mosque “at” Ground Zero: the Anti-Defamation League sides with the bigots

The Anti-Defamation League has in the past stood against, not only anti-Semitism, but against all kinds of racial and religious bigotry. Those days sadly are gone. In a shameful statement the ADL summed up its position this way:

“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.”

So if you are a victim and you blame Islam—not al Qaeda—for 9/11, we should honor your bigotry by preventing American Muslims from building a community center/mosque 2-1/2 blocks from Ground Zero. For a Jewish group to make such a statement is remarkable, and especially reprehensible. It wasn’t long ago that Jews too were told to be unobtrusive because their presence where they were unwanted would cause pain to some. And blacks were told to stay away from lunch counters because their presence would cause pain to some.

It’s far better to honor American values of religious freedom and diversity than to worry about the pain bigots may feel.

What about taste? Is it tasteful to build a mosque in the shadow of Ground Zero? I’ve written here about how unobtrusive the location is. Nate Silver, the paragon of precise political analysis in his blog, writes today about just exactly how removed visually the building will be. And while he’s at it Nate explains clearly why you should take polling on the issue very skeptically.

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7 Responses to “The mosque “at” Ground Zero: the Anti-Defamation League sides with the bigots”

  1. Ed Stern Says:

    Bob, yesterday’s Washington Jewish Week (newspaper) makes the same case you did, criticizing ADL, in an editorial at

  2. Ethics Bob Says:

    Thanks, Ed. This subject is worth yet another post. Stay tuned.

  3. jlue Says:

    It disturbs that those who are against the mosque being built near ground zero are automatically labeled “bigot”. Today, in America, it seems that anyone who cannot answer the honest questions that are posed resort to name calling and labeling with ‘political’ epithets. There are some honest questions that should be answered by those in favor of the building of the mosque. 1. Why this location and not somewhere further away from the site of 9/11? 2. Who is financing the building? 3. Why such a tall tower if a worship center is all that is needed? 4. If Islam is wanting to show tolerance and respect, why not respect the wishes of the families of the majority of the victims? 5. Why aren’t the Iman’s statements being publized and explained? 6. Explain the name Cordoba House? These questions are legitimate and deserve to be answered. Honest dialogue and intellectual honesty requires them to be answered. Only after they are answered does anyone have the right to call those opposing the building a derogatory name.

  4. Ethics Bob Says:

    I sure don’t label anyone in opposition as a bigot. Jack Marshall ( certainly isn’t a bigot, nor are many of the people who oppose the project. But for heaven’s sakes, man, listen to the arguments against: “they” killed 3000 Americans, the project will be a victory monument for Islam, etc. Most of the vocal opponents—including politicians from all over the country—are appealing to hatred.

    Your questions are reasonable. I’ll try to answer:

    1. Why this location and not somewhere further away from the site of 9/11?
    The building was vacant and cheap. Imam Rauf wanted it near there because it’s convenient to his congregation and because he wanted to use the proximity to Ground Zero as part of a bridge-building between young Muslims and Western culture.

    2. Who is financing the building?
    Financing isn’t complete—Rauf says he has only a small part of the necessary funding. In America, houses of worship don’t normally divulge their list of contributors.

    3. Why such a tall tower if a worship center is all that is needed?
    It’s not that tall—10-15 stories is quite nominal for that part of town. It will be shielded from Ground Zero by taller buildings. The worship center is only a small part of the complex—it’s to be a community center with lots of facilities.

    4. If Islam is wanting to show tolerance and respect, why not respect the wishes of the families of the majority of the victims?
    I can’t speak for Rauf on this. I expect he’d say that he’s been using the existing building as a mosque for several years without any complaint, and expected no serious opposition to a community center that he modeled after the 92nd St Y. Now he’s got a big (for him) investment in money, time, and permitting. It would set him back years to start over.

    5. Why aren’t the Iman’s statements being publicized and explained?
    Rauf has made many public statements and written at least one book. It’s called What’s Right with Islam, and I recommend it.

    6. Explain the name Cordoba House?
    Cordoba is the Spanish city where Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived in harmony under the Caliphate of the 8th-10th centuries. Jews call it the “Golden Age of Spanish Jewry.”

  5. jlue Says:

    Thank you for attempting to answer. That is certainly more than most do.

    As for Cordoba House, here is a more complete answer:

    Cordoba was, of course, the seat of the caliphate established in what is now modern Spain after the Islamic invasion from North Africa in the 8th century A.D. The medieval occupation of Spain – “al-Andalus” – is considered by Islamic theorists to have been an inevitable step in the manifest destiny of Islam, and its eventual reversal through the lengthy European “Reconquista” a tragic but temporary triumph of the infidels. The great mosque at Cordoba was built on the foundation of a Christian cathedral, and when Europeans retook Cordoba in the 13th century they turned the magnificent mosque back into a cathedral. Cordoba,” in Islamic symbolic terms, means Islamic rule in the West.

    The name has significance. I understand it has been changed recently there in NY since this has become widely known on the internet that Muslims build a Mosque to celebrate a military victory.

    Newt Gingrich has a good suggestion that should end controversy if this is to be an interfaith symbol; include a church, a synogogue, and a mosque in the building.

    While I realize they do not divulge their list of contributors, since we are at war with the radical element of Islamic Jihadist, I would suggest that divulging would be a wise thing to do. This would be a ‘good faith’ move on his behalf.

    Here is another source of what has been written by the Imam.

    Check here for another perspective on what Imam has written.

  6. Ethics Bob Says:

    Two points: The mosque isn’t an extension of wahhabiism, nor is Rauf a Wahhabi. And the definition of Cordoba is arguable. Jews refer to life in the Caliphate as the Golden Age of Spanish Jewry. Muslims, starting with Mohammed, believed in letting Jews and Christians practice their religion.and all three thrived in Cordoba under the caliphate.

  7. jlue Says:

    I believe that I read where you stated that you are a Jew or Hebrew and I commend you for your kindness toward those of Arabic or Islamic heritage. I pray for Jewish people and for those who are living in Israel. I pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May God bless you.

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