NY Bishop Mark Sisk on Islamic Center

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Received by email

August 24, 2010

Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Diocese of New York

I am writing to tell you that I wholeheartedly join other religious and civic leaders in calling on all parties involved in the dispute over the planned lower Manhattan Islamic community center and mosque to convert a situation that has sadly become ever more divisive into, as Archbishop Timothy Dolan recently stated, “an opportunity for a civil, rational, loving, respectful discussion.”


The plan to build this center is, without doubt, an emotionally highly-charged issue. But as a nation with tolerance and religious freedom at its very foundation, we must not let our emotions lead us into the error of persecuting or condemning an entire religion for the sins of its most misguided adherents.

The worldwide Islamic community is no more inclined to violence that any other. Within it, however, a struggle is going on – between the majority who seek to follow a moderate, loving religion and the few who would transform it into an intolerant theocracy intent on persecuting anyone, Muslim or otherwise, with whom they disagree. We should all, as Christians, reach out in friendship and love to the peaceful Islamic majority and do all in our power to build and strengthen bridges between our faiths. We should also all remember that the violence and hateful behavior of the extremist are not confined to any one religion. Over the centuries we Christians have numbered more than a few among us who have perpetrated unspeakable atrocities in Christ’s name.

I must admit that I also have a more personal connection with this issue. At the Episcopal Diocese of New York we know the leaders of this project, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan. We know that they are loving, gentle people, who epitomize Islamic moderation. We know that as Sufis, they are members of an Islamic sect that teaches a universal belief in man’s relationship to God that is not dissimilar from mystic elements in certain strains of Judaism and Christianity. Feisal Abdul Rauf and Daisy Khan are, without question, people to whom Christians of good will should reach out with the hand of hospitality and friendship, as they reach out to us. I understand and support their desire to build an Islamic center, intended in part to promote understanding and tolerance among different religions.

For these reasons I applaud the positions taken by Governor Patterson, Mayor Bloomberg and others and look forward to furthering the efforts to resolve this issue. I am convinced, aided and guided by the One God who is creator of all, that people of goodwill can find a solution that will strengthen, rather than divide, the human condition,

The Right Reverend Mark S. Sisk

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tgflux
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tgflux

the number has been greatly exaggerated by muslims

This seems to be the essence of your arguments, anthony. "Muslims---All of 'em---Always Lie." "Muslims---All of 'em---Always Bad." "Muslims---All of 'em---Always Out to GET Us!"

You see an undifferentiated mass of Evil-Doers.

I see the Image of God, in all their diversity. Capable of doing GOOD, as well as evil.

I see the two young men who helped *me* (female-bodied GenderQueer, FWIW) move last summer---hours and hours of heavy-lifting!---who did it for nothing more than helping a friend of a friend. They weren't "muslims" . . . they were Haithm and Abdul!

Your family history gives you a unique perspective, of course. So does mine. So does theirs. So do ALL of ours.

It's what you DO w/ your family background, that measures---if I may quote a certain Christian---the "content of our character".

JC Fisher

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anthony alumotta
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anthony alumotta

I mention the confirmed number because ever since 9/11 the number has been greatly exaggerated by muslims. I leave it to others to form their own opinions for this deceit. It has been used again in the mosque controversy, as it has since 9/11, to portray the muslim community as victims.As in , 'okay the hijackers were muslims but, see, muslims were killed also.' As if the fact that muslims were killed lessens the significance that the attack was carried out by muslims.

My point is, 28-50 died. For their families surely a tragedy. But a very, very small percentage when measured against the 3000 non-muslims who persished,

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Emma Pease
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Emma Pease

Strictly speaking the two other mosques aren't closer. However many Muslims work closer and some may well live closer. Is it insensitive to wear hijab near the former WTC or to be known to be doing one of the daily prayers near there? Would an Ahmadi mosque be ok or an Ismaili mosque?

Muslims make up about .5% of the US population so if the number killed reflected their representation in the population there should only be 15 or so killed. However New York City does have a higher proportion of Muslims. More importantly each of those killed whether Muslim or Christian or atheist or Jew or whatever was an individual who presumably left relatives and friends mourning them

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Dä'ved Äyan | David Allen
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Dä'ved Äyan | David Allen

Between 28 and 56. That seems about right considering the general population. Is that not enough to have lost their lives? Should there have been more for the comment to be valid?

Is the US Pentagon site less "sacred ground" than the WTC site? Are you lot aware that Muslims worship in a chapel a mere few dozen feet from that sacred ground?

Do you know that Park51 was on the books to be planned and built for months, was published public knowledge and no one cared until it became the ideal right-wing-nutcase blabbering point for the upcoming election?

Did you know that there seem to be two muslin mosques that are much closer to the WTC site than the Park51 property? Why is no one closing them down?

Why is nothing else in the area not an affront to sacred ground? Not fast food joints. Not untold retail outlets. Not sidewalk souvenir venders hawking wares. Not even strip clubs. Why?

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anthony alumotta
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anthony alumotta

LKT, actually when it comes to 'infidels' Sunni and shia islam are remarkably monolithic. In fact, indistinguishable. This is the problem in the West, many people like yourself and the good Bishop hold remarkably incorrect assumptions erroneous assumptions' about islam which have no basis in reality.

Emma, according to the best information available, the number of confirmed muslim deaths attributable to 9/11 is between 28 and 56. Out of almost 3000.

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