The American Friends Service Committee, the social justice organization of the Quakers, has issued a statement in support of the proposed Islamic cultural center in New York City. They recognize the profound hurt to individuals and our nation from the attack on the World Trade Center nine years ago this month…
We were here in New York City on September 11th, 2001, and mourned with the loved ones of individuals of all faiths who were killed or injured, reaching out to that of God in each and every one. We experienced the loss of a sense of security and well-being. We, too, experience the pain and grief that remain. We have worked steadfastly with victims in the aftermath, and have challenged actions that lead to further loss of life. We concern ourselves with the threat of harm when those on different sides of disputes cast “the other” in the role of the despised and deny their voice, their humanity, and their rights. We call now, as we did then, for the end to the cycle of violence.
They offer a vision for healing the conflict here and around the world.
Of the possibility of an Islamic Community Center near the site of the World Trade Towers, or a different place of the Center’s Board’s choosing, we harbor no suspicion. We dare to imagine the site of the World Trade Towers surrounded by the evidence of our nation’s commitment to religious freedom, and our nation’s pluralism.
Quakers came to the New World before it was America, and have given their lives for the freedom of religion we cherish–here and around the world. There is no better refutation of Muslim extremism than the right of Americans to practice their religion in freedom and dignity. American Muslims are an example to the world of the benefits of a civil society. The Quaker voice is one of quiet decency. It may not be easy to hear over the marching bands and hymnalizing of the self-appointed defenders of ‘faith’. But you don’t get more American than the Society of Friends– a religious minority protecting the rights of us all.