We American Jews, the children of immigrants, hold a special place in our hearts for the plights and rights of minorities. We who have known poverty, hunger, and despair, answer the call of tikun olam and give disproportionately to charitable endeavors, Jewish and secular. When one minority group suffers, we Jews, the victims of intolerance, suffer along with them — and fight for their rights, just as we would fight for our own.
Thus, it is not a surprise that the American-Jewish community, so wed to the ideals of social justice, religious tolerance, and engagement with minorities, should stand up and embrace the rights of the New York Muslim community to erect “Cordoba House,” a community center and mosque near Ground Zero. (“Zero tolerance? Mosque debate masks complexity of Jewish-Muslim affairs,” Aug. 5) How can we be true to our ideals and standards of religious freedoms, if we do not stand up for the religious rights of others? Right?
We should be the champions of religious tolerance, but not for those who demand our submission to their laws.
We should advocate for interfaith cooperation, but only with those who partner with us in an honest dialogue designed to build trust.
We should fight to protect the First Amendment, but not at the price of insensitivity to the sacredness of hallowed ground.
Muslims — like Jews and Christians — should have the right to build places of worship without fetters, but not if the objective is the celebration of their terrifyingly triumphant attack on American soil.
One does not have to agree with Newt Gingrich’s politics to agree with the following statement he made July 21: “‘Cordoba House’ is a deliberately insulting term. It refers to Cordoba, Spain, the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex.”
One visit to Jerusalem makes it clear why he is right. Sitting at the very top of the Temple Mount, towering over this city that is holy to Christians, Jews, and Muslims, is the Dome of the Rock. Not merely a place of prayer and community activity, it is a triumphant symbol of the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem in 638 CE.
I believe we are experiencing an Islamist cultural/political offensive that is designed to destroy Western civilization. Therefore I believe that building a mosque near Ground Zero is not about religious freedom; it is about the naive self-deception of good people — Christians, Jews, and others — who do not recognize Muslim triumphalism when it stares them in the face.
Susan B. Sandler