Tolerance of unpopular ideas and the people who espouse them is a fundamental American value, one regrettably threatened by attempts to block the creation of an Islamic community center and mosque in lower Manhattan, Common Cause and other organizations and individuals argue in a statement released today.
"The politicians and commentators leading the fight against the center are stoking a mob mentality that could scarcely be more un-American; they seek to make enemies out of their fellow countrymen," the statement asserts.
"The statement seeks to reaffirm America's national commitment to freedom of thought and expression," said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause. "We believe adherence to those values is an important weapon in the fight against terrorism here and around the world."
Posted today on Common Cause's web site, (http://www.commoncause.org/IslamicCenter), the statement already has been co-signed by an array of political, civic and religious leaders and other concerned Americans. Additional signatures are welcome and will be posted as they're received.
The signers include:
Bob Edgar, President, Common Cause
Tom Andrews, Win Without War
Rev. Jonathan Barton, General Minister, Virginia Council of Churches
Becca Doten, Member, Democratic National Committee
Maureen Fiedler, SL, Host of Interfaith Voices on public radio
Curtis Gans, Director, American University Center for the Study of the American Electorate, Center for Democracy and Election Management
Jack Gould, Issues Chair, Common Cause Nebraska
Scott Harshbarger, Senior Counsel to the Firm, Proskauer
Charles C. Haynes, Director, Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum (title listed for identification purposes only)
Stephen Heintz, President, Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Margel Lindzey Highet
Mark C. Johnson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
James R. Jones
Susan Liss, Brennan Center for Justice
Amin Mahmoud, The Alliance of Egyptian Americans
Kevin Martin, Executive Director, Peace Action
Donald E. Messer, President Emeritus, Iliff School of Theology
Sara R. Nichols
Richard L. Ottinger, Dean Emeritus, Pace Law School
Robert M. Pennoyer
Dr. David W. Randle, President & CEO, UCC WHALE Center
Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Arkansas Interfaith Alliance
Defending Dissent Foundation
The Shalom Center
Office: Common Cause National
Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.