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Letter: Principled Voices Must Counter Anti-Muslim Hostility (Buffalo News)

To the Editor:

The rise in anti-Muslim hostility across the country is deeply troubling, but compromising core American values is no way to remedy it.

In calling on Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to relocate the Park51 community center, The News pays short shrift to the principles of religious liberty and tolerance that make America great.

Suggesting that we’d all be better off if law-abiding Muslims sacrificed their constitutional right to religious liberty, at least while within two blocks of ground zero, leaves the impression that all Muslims are terrorists. This bogus collective guilt, spread over the airwaves by those exploiting the pain of 9/11 to grab headlines and votes, is what fuels animosity toward Islam across the country.

Throughout our history, many religious groups, including Catholics, Protestants and Jews, have endured bigotry and discrimination. Tolerance and fairness have generally prevailed, but only after principled voices transcended fear and hatred.

Ending the hatred and discrimination now confronting Muslims in America requires vigilantly defending our fundamental values, not shrinking away from them to avoid a controversy.

John A. Curr III
Executive Director Western Regional Office New York Civil Liberties Union

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