NYCLU, ACLU Applaud Approval of NYC Islamic Cultural Center for Upholding Values of Freedom and Tolerance

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August 3, 2010 —  The New York Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union today praised the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission for standing up for the principles of religious freedom and tolerance in approving a proposal to build a 13-story Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site in New York City.

The following statement was released by the NYCLU and the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief:

“We congratulate the Landmarks Preservation Commission for promoting our nation’s core values and not letting bias get in the way of the rule of law.

“The free exercise of religion is one of America’s most fundamental freedoms. For hundreds of years, our pluralism and tolerance have sustained and strengthened our nation. On 9/11, religious extremists opposed to that very pluralism killed 3,000 Americans. Those fanatics would want nothing more than for our nation to turn its back on the very ideals that make this country so great.

“For those who have sought to ban the construction of the cultural center, we must remember that our precious ideals extend to all Americans, regardless of creed or color. We see the center as a monument to pluralism, symbolic of America's commitment to religious freedom.

“Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Community Board 1 should all be commended for standing strong and supporting the cultural center in the face of pressure.”