New York, NY, September 8, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has condemned plans for a Koran burning in Gainesville, Florida and a rally in lower Manhattan featuring anti-Muslim speakers timed to coincide with the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
"The Dove World Outreach Center's threat to burn thousands of copies of the Koran is outrageous and horrific and must be forcefully condemned by all Americans," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The tragedy of September 11 should never be exploited, and we should not let bigots defile the memory of the victims of 9/11 with offensive rhetoric and hate speech. That stands against everything this country and our long tradition of religious freedom represents."
In Florida, with the message of "We Will Not Remain Silent in the Face of Religious Intolerance," the League spearheaded an interfaith coalition against religious intolerance in response to the threatened mass burning of thousands of copies of the Koran by Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center. In an advertisement in the Gainesville Sun, the coalition stated, "There is no room for hatred in our society."
"As ardent advocates of religious expression and freedom for all Americans – whether in the majority or minority – we firmly reject anti-Muslim bigotry," the ad read. Signatories to the ad are the Rev. Dr. Michael Collins, University Lutheran Church and Campus Center; Keith Dvorchik, Executive Director of the University of Florida Hillel; the Rev. Meredith Garmon of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville; Father Roland Julien of St. Patrick's Catholic Church; Rabbi David Kaiman of Congregation B'nai Israel; Pastor Gregory C. Magruder of Parkview Baptist Church; the Rev. Jim Merritt of Trinity Metropolitan Community Church; the Rev. Larry Reimer of The United Church of Gainesville; and Rabbi Andrew L. Rosenkranz, ADL Florida Regional Director.
The League has spoken out strongly against the planned Sept. 11 protest of the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero sponsored by Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), which is slated to include remarks from the outspoken anti-Muslim Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, and others, calling the rally "un-American."
"This is not a place for political demonstrations, for advocacy, especially on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks," said Mr. Foxman. "This is a place for memory, for families to be together and to remember their loved ones on that solemn day."