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!
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.
It is my sincere hope that by releasing this audio recording and transcript of our recent conversation, those who honestly seek understanding about the Islamic center and the good leaders behind it will find it.