We live in a pluralistic society with a guaranteed freedom to worship according to our own beliefs. This in itself is a remarkable right that should never be taken for granted. Somehow, that has become confused with the notion of each religion accommodating itself to other religions as a show of brotherhood. This is both unnecessary and nonsensical as some religions are totally antithetical to each other and should not pretend to compromise their own beliefs iln a misguided semblance of unity. Worshipping together under one roof does not eliminate our differences, nor does it accomplish anything more than window dressing for the naive.
Instead, if religious leaders want to show respect for other religions, they should be outspoken about that principle. When the elders of their own religions call for the destruction of people of another faith, those “interfaith” leaders should pronounce their abhorrence of such ideas in unequivocal voices of objection and indicate that we Americans honor the rights of all to live and worship peacefully. Thus, if Iman Rauf wants to create an interfaith center at Ground Zero, he should not be welcoming Jews and Christians to pray with him in a place where they are considered infidels. He should instead denounce the proclamations of the Iranian ayatollahs and those who follow their directives, denounce suicide bombing, denounce terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, explaining that they are anathema to civilized people who believe in the democratic values of tolerance and freedom of religion. He should repudiate Iran’s vow to destroy the Jewish state and Jews everywhere and he should condemn the anti-Christian hatred that has escalated throughout the Arab world. He should publicly refuse to accept money from theocracies that support such views and export their terrorists to promulgate them.
American Muslims should be aggrieved by the murder of 3,000 people in the name of their religion and should disassociate themselves from the supporters of 9/11, primarily Saudi Arabia, a large contributor to the 96th Street Mosque and to the religious training of most of the Muslim prison chaplains in our own country. Rather than waffling on the issue of American complicity in Muslim rage, American imams should forcefully condemn the Islamic call for jihad emanating from so many mosques around the world. There are dozens of theocratic countries where sharia is the law but those Moslems choosing to live in the United States and other western countries should recognize that we are proudly and willfully governed by secular law. Rather than pursue a chimerical notion of praying together, American Muslim imams can show their interfaith respect by distancing themselves morally and financially from the breeders of hate and violence.+
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