B’nai B’rith International’s thoughts and prayers, as always, are with the victims and families of the World Trade Center terror attacks. Everything related to the proposed Park51 must proceed with utmost sensitivity and support to everyone most directly impacted by the attacks.
The freedom to worship is at the very foundation of our nation’s strengths, and that is why B’nai B’rith supports the right to build the Muslim cultural center. We must cherish and nurture our nation’s unique commitment to religious freedom. However, that does not mean there aren’t key issues that need to be addressed regarding the center. It is incumbent on the mosque’s backers to detail the project’s funders. This project must be above board in every way if it is to accomplish its goals of truly being a neighborhood center open to all. Only then can it truly fulfill its mission of interfaith comity. In conjunction with that, it is our sincere hope that the leadership of the Park51 will seek every opportunity to repudiate terror.
One place to start: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf should publicly condemn the terrorist group Hamas, which commits acts of terror against Israel and Jews, calls for Israel’s destruction, and consistently refers to Jews as “pigs and monkeys.” Terrorism is not a “complex question” as Rauf has said. Interfaith unity depends on such a public statement.
We should work across religious lines to ensure that an Islamic center near Ground Zero can stand as its own monument and testament to tolerance and diversity—two defining characteristics of this nation.