The dispute over the mosque is a lot like a hypothetical German-American march. Just as it would be wrong to treat all German-Americans as if they are Nazis, so too is it wrong to treat all Muslims as if they support terrorism.
I see myself evolving into a new kind of Muslim, helping to shape an American Islam imbued with democratic values, constitutional rights, women's rights and religious tolerance, a role model for the world.
The signs are out. The protesters are screaming. The foam forms around the mouths: "You can't worship like that here!" Wait: am I talking about the NYC mosque protests or Westboro Baptist Church protests?
Until we rebuild the World Trade Center and properly memorialize the the victims of 9/11, the tragedies of that day will continue to linger on through irrational, unfettered, inconvenient, and hateful ruptures of the past into the present.
One day, I promise you, we will be as ashamed of the way American Muslims are viewed and treated in 2010 as we are of Japanese internment and Jim Crow. America's promise is meant for everyone or we are not America.
The way that this whole issue has been framed is that "those" Muslims are coming here to build a mosque on "our" Ground Zero, our hallowed grounds. How to break it to these critics? Those Muslims are the US!
It has been said that liberty is a political good that's easier to win than to maintain; easier to unlearn than to learn. To judge by events of the last three months, we have gone a long way toward unlearning the habits of religious freedom.
Check out this uber-creepy Tea Party email, released by no less than teaparty.org. In it, the Tea Party folks argue that America is exclusively "Judeo-Christian" and that Islam should be "expelled from our shores." And that's just for starters.
We Jews have too much at stake to risk siding with those who would prefer some and despise others. Our history tells us such people are not our allies. Our hope tells us that they will ultimately not prevail.