July 31st, 2010 09:51 EST
Jewish Anti-Defamation League to Retract Statement?
A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy group today called on the Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to retract its statement against the construction of an Islamic community center in New York City.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the ADL acknowledged that Muslims have the right to build the center, that the planned 13-story building is designed to send a "positive message about Islam" and that "bigotry" has been expressed by opponents, but that "ultimately this is not a question of rights."
A number of commentators have slammed the ADL for apparently caving in to a vocal smear campaign waged against the center by anti-Muslim bigots.
"It is shocking that a group claiming to seek `justice and fair treatment for all` would side with those engaged in one of the most egregious Islamophobic smear campaigns in recent memory," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "We ask the ADL to reconsider and retract this ill-considered and divisive statement. With its shameful statement, the ADL is exploiting and fueling the rising level of anti-Islam sentiment in our society."
Awad urged ADL members to contact the Jewish group`s leaders to express their opposition to the statement against the Islamic community center.
He added that officials of a Texas mosque targeted by arson and hate graffiti say the attacks may be linked to the New York City mosque controversy. Awad also noted opposition to the construction or expansion of mosques nationwide and a planned "Burn the Koran Day" in Florida.
Today, Tea Party supporters are holding a hate rally outside a mosque in California. A proposal to build a new mosque in the area allegedly resulted in a phone threat targeting the city council.
The anonymous message left at the Valley News suggested that a reporter "tell the City Council to back off on this (mosque proposal) as much as possible." The caller said there could be "some major problems if they keep pursuing this mosque in Temecula."
Earlier this week, CAIR condemned hate vandalism of a synagogue in Olney, Md., and expressed solidarity with the congregants.