The thirteen-story, $100 million Islamic center and mosque planned for 45-47 Park Place, two blocks north of the World Trade Center site has stirred a swell commentary across the U.S., with notable politicians and influential organizations weighing in -- even as plans for construction move forward. Tuesday, New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission is expected to approve demolition plans for the 152-year-old building currently occupying the plot.
Last week the Anti-Defamation League, the nation's leading Jewish civil rights group, released a statement opposing the proposed plans as "counterproductive to the healing process," while denouncing the "bigotry some have expressed in attacking" center proponents as "unfair" and "wrong".
The statement suggests both finding another location for the center and inquiring into its funding, stating, "questions have been raised about who is providing the funding to build it, and what connections, if any, its leaders might have with groups whose ideologies stand in contradiction to our shared values."
"Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam," the ADL statement says, adding, "But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right."
"In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right," the statement says.
In July, Big Think interviewed Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, in an interview covering a range of issues from the evolution of anti-Semitism to September 11, 2001, saying, "9-11 didn’t start with box cutters or flying planes as missiles, it started with words denigrating Americans, demeaning Americans, our values, and everything else."