As we have previously announced, Religious Freedom USA is set to hold the Liberty Walk, a rally in support for Park51, the proposed Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan. But much more is at stake here than many people realize. This is not simply another rally in support of Park51. We seek to spark a movement of support across the country for religious freedom. Since launching Religious Freedom USA, we have realized that what is at stake is no longer simply Park51, a few blocks, or Lower Manhattan. This is really about how we as Americans answer the question we have yet to pose in the post-9/11 era. Does religious freedom also apply to Muslim Americans, as well as all Americans of faith? Our answer must be yes.
This is not merely a campaign issue between Democrats and Republicans, nor is it so epic to be a considered battle between "Islam" and "Western Civilization." It is about Americans upholding American values. We must speak to fear with freedom, to hate with love, to anger with compassion.
We also hope that this interfaith rally can inspire similar rallies. The issue of religious freedom is not purely one for New Yorkers. Houses of worship and community centers across the country have become protested and contested. American citizens are being told that because of their faith, they are not wanted. It is our responsibility to challenge stereotypes about Muslim Americans, have conversations with those who harbor such fear, and take steps to building lasting alliances between religious communities, in each community across America.
It is with this sense of patriotism that we invite our fellow New Yorkers and Americans from coast to coast to walk with us this Sunday at the Liberty Walk. If you are moved to join, at 3pm this Sunday we will feature an hour of speakers at St Peter's Church (22 Barclay Street), walk around the World Trade Center between 4:30pm and 5:30pm, and at 5pm we will sing the American National Anthem in front of Park51 (51 Park Place). Please join us, but don't bring any signs. Rather, bring American flags to demonstrate your support for religious freedom. There has never been a more vital time to stand in support of such an essential American right.
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