A month after the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the “nation’s premier civil rights” agency (in their words), came out against building an Islamic community center blocks away from Ground Zero because “building [it] in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain,” the ADL is now condemning the anti-Muslim stabbing that occurred in New York City Aug. 25.
The ADL statement condemned the attack “in the strongest terms,” saying that the incident was “especially disturbing” because it occurred “amid an atmosphere of elevated anti-Muslim sentiment surrounding the Ground Zero controversy.”
When the ADL came out against the proposed Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan, it took pains to say that the group “categorically reject[s] appeals to bigotry on the basis of religion.” But no matter the ADL’s intent, their statement against the Muslim center contributed to the very same “elevated anti-Muslim sentiment” that is no doubt connected to the stabbing of Ahmed Sharif, a New York City taxi driver. The ADL should look in the mirror before it begins to lecture others on anti-Muslim sentiment.
It’s true that the ADL statement against the Park51 project was mild compared to the hateful rhetoric coming from the likes of Pamela Geller, Newt Gingrich and Rick Lazio. However, the ADL’s statement can only be read as holding the whole of Islam and Muslims as somehow responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001. The only reason why the proposed center would “offend” the sensitivities of the victims of 9/11 is if the ADL concludes that Islam attacked the United States on that day.
It is the height of hypocrisy for the ADL to condemn the stabbing of Sharif and the general hate of Muslims engulfing the United States without looking at their statement against Park51 again and realizing that they have played a central role in legitimizing that anti-Muslim sentiment. Their gentile opposition to the project has emboldened the hate-mongers on the right that are aiming to shut this project, and proposals to build mosques around the country, down.