Ground Zero, where the Towers fell on 9/11, is--ought to be treated as--as sacred site: a place where we are all to be reminded of the pointless loss and human suffering that hatred and political opportunism can create. It was thus particularly contemptible when Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Palin, and a raft of hateful right-wing nutjob political and media hacks, campaigned against the building of a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero: as if no Muslim suffered and died in the Towers that day! What arrogance!
So I was really, really happy to get this note from the J Street folks who are working to create more effective interfaith dialogue [redacted].
The best part?
Dr Coyote --
Yesterday, J Street New York City supporters and I delivered over 10,000 of your signatures in support of the Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan to a critical hearing of New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission.
The response by our community to our call to action on this issue was overwhelming and demonstrated that J Street supporters clearly understand that tolerance and religious freedom are not only essential values, but that sacrificing them weakens us in the fight against extremism.
And I've got great news -- despite the outcry against the project, the Commission voted 9-0 to allow it to proceed.
Yesterday, after the vote, Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a stirring defense of the project and religious freedom on Governor's Island with the Statue of Liberty in the background.
Mayor Bloomberg was joined by a group of interfaith leaders as he gave his remarks in front of the Statue of Liberty:
Every local official I spoke with at the hearing truly appreciated our support for the project.
I also had an emotional moment with the Community Center's lead developer -- Sharif El-Gamal -- who couldn't help but give me a hug, even though we'd never met before!
For those of you that stood with us, thank you so much. Our voices are so needed in the national political debate and within the American Jewish community.
If you would like to support J Street financially, allowing us to keep standing up for our values, click here to make a gift.
Until next time,
V.P., Communications and New Media
August 4, 2010