Recently “Blatant Discrimination” (Letters, Sept. 3) totally mischaracterized ADL’s position on the proposed NY Islamic center. From the start ADL stated that the consortium has every right to build in the location they own and have chosen. ADL leads in the effort to protect religious freedom in America, always and in this instance.
The center’s organizers viewed their proposed location as helping to promote healing. ADL thought this goal might be undermined by the location. We did not “take a lead role in fighting against this center.” We asked a question regarding the effectiveness of the consortium’s choice.
Good people can disagree, but this issue has fallen prey to ideologues on all sides. For some it has been an opportunity to smear all Muslims and Islam. ADL condemns such appeals to bigotry as un-American and wrong. Others have used this occasion to label all who questioned the center as bigots or supporters of bigotry. This too is demagoguery, and the enemy of dialogue and reflection.
The ADL has never “equated all Muslims with the terrorists responsible for the Trade Center disaster” and would never do so. In fact, ADL has consistently spoken out for the protection of Muslim rights in America, and spearheads a consortium to champion the rights of Muslim communities across the country to build their places of worship.
Withdrawing support for ADL rejects the long history of ADL’s good work locally and nationally. Our local Pacific Northwest ADL office investigates and exposes extremism, educates law enforcement, and handles victim complaints of anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination. We lobby to protect civil rights and advocate for religious freedom. We promote diversity and respect in schools with programs and resources to help create learning environments where all feel valued and appreciated.
For the record, ADL is not a membership organization. Our donors contribute because they want to ensure that our community is safe and inclusive for all, regardless of race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or ability. They know they can count on ADL to pursue this vision every day. We urge your readers to continue with us in supporting ADL.
Pam Schwartz, Chair
Linda Clifton, Immediate Past Chair
Bill Mowat, Incoming Chair
William Goldberg, Secretary
Mark Schuster, Treasurer
R Broh Landsman