The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is a Jewish organization that describes itself as the "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency". They've done some great work, particularly with discrimination issues, humanitarian atrocities, and inter-religious relations. But they seem to be veering away from their stated purpose.
In a press release put out by the ADL on Wednesday, they say:
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.So, the organization whose sole purpose is to try to promote harmony between different groups and religions is expressly opposing the construction of the mosque on the grounds that it will cause people pain — people, by the way, who can't differentiate between fundamentalist Islamic terrorists and Muslim Americans.
Now, I understand the argument not to build the mosque there. Because the perpetrators of the tragedy were Muslim, people do associate the religion with what happened. But the argument is not reasonably founded, and more importantly, should certainly not be coming from the ADL. If this is really how the organization feels (and they've made other serious blunders in the years since their eminent leader Lenny Zakim passed away), they should have just kept quiet. It's counter-productive, endorses bigotry, and undermines their entire mission. It's a shame that an organization with such a high-minded purpose is losing face so rapidly.
Images: ADL logo (panhandlepros.com)