Home > Interfaith > ADL spearheads group to fight bias against building mosques

ADL spearheads group to fight bias against building mosques

September 7, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

NEW YORK (Press Release) –Concerned with a disturbing rise in discrimination against Muslims trying to legally build or expand their houses of worship — mosques– across the United States, interfaith and religious leaders have formed a coalition to assist those Muslim communities confronting opposition.

 The Interfaith Coalition on Mosques (ICOM), comprised of individuals and organizations from different faith traditions – Christian, Jewish and Muslim – will provide support and stand with Muslims when their rights are being violated.

“We believe the best way to uphold America’s democratic values is to ensure that Muslims can exercise the same religious freedom enjoyed by everyone in America.  They deserve nothing less than to have a place of worship like everyone else,” ICOM said in its Statement of Purpose. “While we are extremely concerned about discrimination against mosque building in America, we will also recognize that local governments have legitimate concerns regarding zoning planning issues within the framework of current federal, state and local laws.”

From Florida to California, ugly rhetoric has replaced civil dialogue at local government planning meetings and community debates over proposals by Muslims citizens to exercise the rights guaranteed to everyone in America.  “The level of hostility, fear mongering and hate speech is unacceptable and un-American,” the coalition stated.

Working under the sponsorship of the Anti-Defamation League, which initiated the concept, ICOM will carefully monitor incidents of mosque discrimination around the country, gather facts and analyze the information, and speak out when appropriate to help Muslim communities who are encountering prejudice. “We will not take political sides. We will not make decisions based on ideology,” the coalition said in its statement.

Charter members of the group, which is still in formation, are:
 
Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, Chair of Islamic Studies, American University

Dr. Saud Anwar, founder and co-chair of American Muslim Peace Initiative (AMPI)

Rabbi Elliott Cosgrove, Senior Rabbi, Park Avenue Synagogue

Abraham H. Foxman, National Director, Anti-Defamation League

Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of the Interfaith Alliance

Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, founder of Center for Leadership and Learning (CLAL), former chairman, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, Executive Vice President, Auburn Theological Seminary

Bishop Paul Peter Jesup, American Representative for the Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephalus Church

Dr. Richard Land, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention

Msgr. Guy A. Massie, Vicar for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Affairs, Monsignor, Diocese of Brooklyn

Dr. Eboo Patel, founder and director, Interfaith Youth Core; member of Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Father Robert Robbins, Director, Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Archdiocese of New York 
 
Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg, Director of Interfaith Affairs for ADL, will coordinate the coalition’s operations.  He will receive complaints about mosque discrimination from ICOM members, ADL’s regional offices, the media, and other credible sources.  ADL experts will investigate each complaint and produce a report that will be shared with ICOM members.  The coalition, which will operate by consensus, will discuss appropriate action to be taken.

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Preceding provided by the Anti-Defamation League

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