I just walked in after a long weekend and a morning assignment and one of the first things I see is a new statement about the proposed downtown Islamic center from a group of New York’s religious leaders.
It’s basically a call for civility.
I’m sure you’re getting tired of hearing about this (and so am I), but here is the statement:
JOINT STATEMENT FROM NEW YORK RELIGIOUS LEADERS
New York has a long and proud history of dialogue and respect among the various faith groups that live together in this magnificent city. It is especially troubling, then, whenever religion is seen as a source of misunderstanding and disagreement. As religious people, Muslims, Jews and Christians know that at the heart of each of our faiths is the promotion of peace and understanding among all God’s children. Consequently, there can be no place for religious bias of any kind – including anti-Semitism, anti-Christianity, or anti-Islam — in any of our communities.
Public discussions about the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero have recently become an unfortunate source of tension and animosity here in New York City. As leaders in our religious communities, we join together to voice our shared concern for the way in which New Yorkers have become polarized on this issue. All of us must ensure that our conversations on this matter remain civil, that our approaches to each other are marked with respect, and that our hearts stay free of bitterness.
As religious leaders, we stand ready to assist in facilitating a dialogue that will not only lead to a resolution of the current dispute, but also lay the foundation for a new and deeper understanding among us all.
Imam Shamsi Ali
Director, Jamaica Muslim Center, New York
Rev. Dr. A. R. Bernard
President, The Council of Churches of the City of New York
The Most Reverend Nicholas A. DiMarzio,
Bishop of Brooklyn
Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn
The Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York
Rabbi Yaakov Kermaier
President, New York Board of Rabbis
Imam Izak-EL M. Pasha
Masjid Malcolm Shabazz, New York
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik
Executive Vice President, New York Board of Rabbis