My mom's long time colleague and fellow Sociology Professor, Shirley Kolack, was married to Sol Kolack, the New England Director of the Anti-Defamation League. Sol, who passed away a few years ago at age 80 but whose image and principles are still vivid in my memory, stood for everything this inexplicable decision by the ADL does not: equality in law and culture for all religions and faiths. (Debate Heating Up on Plans for Mosque Near Ground Zero, New York Times, July 30, 2010)
While I can understand and appreciate a desire to be sensitive to the families of the nearly 3,000 victims forever lost at the site, we have to remember that the attack itself was committed by radical Muslim extremists against us and our way of life, which includes at its core religious pluralism and diversity. The hundred or so Muslims who also died in the attacks, who make up about a percent of the victims, and the families who loved them should not be forgotten.
Abraham H. Foxman's decision to endorse the Palin/Gingrich position opposing a Islamic Center near ground zero goes far beyond the professed goal of being sensitive to the majority of the victims and approaches the realm of religious intolerance that the ADL was formed to fight. Kudos to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican, for standing up for the principle of religious freedom, which may have just become another sad victim of that horrible day in 2001.