Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tolerance Prevails in New York

On Tuesday, August 3, 2010, the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission approved the building of a mosque two blocks away from ground zero. According to New York Times, the Commission voted 9 to 0 to deny historic protection to the building in Lower Manhattan where the mosque will be built. I commend New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Commission for promoting freedom of religion.

When the 9/11 terror attacks occurred nine years ago, I was working in Washington, D.C. I was horrified and frightened. I, like all Americans, deeply mourn the tragic loss of thousands innocence lives and strongly sympathize with the victims' families.

As we all know, the criminals who committed those senseless atrocities were members of a fanatical, foreign fringe terrorist group, Al Qaeda. The Al Qaeda terrorists do not represent most Muslims throughout the world. They certainly do not represent peaceful, law abiding American Muslims.

It is morally wrong and unconstitutional to punish all Muslims for the crimes of a small deviant minority. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states that, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." Denying Muslims the right to build a mosque violates freedom of speech and religion. Innuendo and unsubstantiated generalizations are not an adequate basis to deprive citizens of their constitutional rights.

Allowing the mosque to built is a triumph for democracy and the United States Constitution. Healing cannot be rooted in prejudice and bigotry.

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