I was deeply saddened by the Anti-Defamation League’s position against the construction of the Sufi community center in downtown Manhattan.
The hostile reaction that has met the plans for the Cordoba Center should come as no surprise. Some of the arguments even sound reasonable but that does not make them acceptable. ADL National Director Abe Foxman recommends that the community center should be allowed to exist but at a distance from the World Trade Center site. Indeed, in our society we have sought to ensure a minimum level of decorum around mourning and treatment of the dead, even when it interferes with other core principles.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is not attempting to erect a statue of Osama Bin Laden or to spew hatred. His message appears to be one more of dialogue and reconciliation. All Muslims did not seek to destroy the Towers and kill Americans. Many stand as proud Americans.
The Jewish people share collective trauma, and Foxman’s response demonstrates that the Holocaust continues to shape our collective psyches.
Many complain that they do not hear moderate Muslims rebuking their radical co-religionists. Let’s demonstrate what a truly free society looks and acts like. German society has not shied away from confronting the Holocaust. One cannot walk through Berlin without being assaulted by memorials to the past. Give a Muslim population that chance to come face to face with these issues on a daily basis.
The true travesty regarding how we are honoring the memory of those who perished on 9/11 has been this country’s inability to build anything at the site. Blocking the building of this project would be the ultimate affront to those who have died. My America is a place where we work to find ways to come together. My Judaism is one where we work toward healing the world. Healing comes through interacting and confronting each other’s narrative, all of which have some truth. The ADL can have its view. But it’s not the collective Jewish view.