Local officials in New York should be praised for standing up for that right in the face of political pressure, and for honoring the core American principle that all of us should be able to worship freely without government interference.
Unfortunately, resistance and outright hostility to mosques continues to flare up around the country. While we must remain mindful of the pain that many still experience in the aftermath of 9/11, we must boldly oppose religious discrimination rooted in cultural stereotyping, and resist those who seek to trade away our most precious values for political advantage.
We must let our political leaders know that discrimination is a losing proposition, and that adhering to the Constitution is not optional. Throughout our history, Jews, Protestants, Catholics and Muslims have all been victims of fear and discrimination. In the end, tolerance and fairness have generally prevailed. So should it here.
The American Civil Liberties Union has and will continue to defend the right of all religious denominations — from majority faiths to unpopular religions — to establish places of worship, and for Americans to pray, or not, as they choose. For it is the American way — as our first president so eloquently stated — “which gives to bigotry no sanction.”
Olivia Turner, executive director
ACLU of Alabama