Attention: Imam Feisal Rauf, Daisy Khan and the Leadership of Park51
We, the undersigned*, are members of the North American Jewish community; many of us work on behalf of our community in a professional capacity as rabbis, academics, activists, scholars and educators.
As members of another American minority group, we deeply value the constitutional right to religious freedom and are appalled by the anti-Muslim sentiments that have surfaced in opposition to the building of Park51. Our religious tradition commands us, 'Justice, justice you shall pursue,' and in this vein we e join other Jewish organizations and individuals in standing in solidarity with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and Daisy Khan in their worthy cause to create an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan.
We were dismayed by comments made by fellow citizens, select elected leaders and especially by some from our own Jewish American community, particularly disheartening was the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) position. We were disappointed to see a Jewish American organization established in the early 20th century to fight 'anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry' and to protect 'democratic ideals and civil rights for all," fail to act in alignment with the values outlined in its charter. As you well know, no community is a monolith or speaks in one voice, and the Jewish American community is no exception. At times we may disagree with our co-religionists and sometimes we must do so in public. This is one of those times.
And thus, while we cannot claim to be the voice of all Jewish Americans, please know many of us celebrated the Landmarks Commission's decision against granting special landmark status to 54 Park Place and stood proud upon hearing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg remarks made on Governor's Island.
As Jews in America we are familiar with discrimination and believe we possess a special responsibility to respond to bigotry against other minority groups. We have also seen how the constitutional right to religious freedom and the nature of religious pluralism in this country can secure a place for us all to practice our traditions in peace and to care for our communities. We cherish the right to do so not only for ourselves but for our neighbors and fellow citizens as well.
We wish you Mabruk and Mazal Tov on passing through this difficult key stage and we look forward to the day when Park51 will open its doors.
[*Any listing of institutions is for identification purposes only.]
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