Huffpost New York

Anti-Defamation League Comes Out Against Ground Zero Mosque

Posted: Updated:

So much for religious tolerance.

The Anti-Defamation League has joined the likes of Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Rick Lazio, and a slew of other Conservative protesters in standing against the building of a mosque in the vicinity of the World Trade Center site.

In a statement issued by the Jewish organization, the group claims that while "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," it is ultimately "not a question of rights, but a question of what is right."

Moreover, despite "the bigotry some have expressed in attacking" those behind the building of the mosque (which the ADL deems "unfair" and "wrong"), it is their judgment that "building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain - unnecessarily - and that is not right."

While the ADL rarely shies away from controversy, news of their opposition left many journalists and pundits stunned.

As Tablet's Marc Tracy puts it:

Founded in 1913, the ADL, in its words, "fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all." Except when it does the precise opposite.

Read on for the full release:

We regard freedom of religion as a cornerstone of the American democracy, and that freedom must include the right of all Americans - Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths - to build community centers and houses of worship.

We categorically reject appeals to bigotry on the basis of religion, and condemn those whose opposition to this proposed Islamic Center is a manifestation of such bigotry.

However, there are understandably strong passions and keen sensitivities surrounding the World Trade Center site. We are ever mindful of the tragedy which befell our nation there, the pain we all still feel - and especially the anguish of the families and friends of those who were killed on September 11, 2001.

The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process. Therefore, under these unique circumstances, we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found.

In recommending that a different location be found for the Islamic Center, we are mindful that some legitimate 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. These questions deserve a response, and we hope those backing the project will be transparent and forthcoming. But regardless of how they respond, the issue at stake is a broader one.

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 bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. 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.