Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance President, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, expressed his disappointment today about a statement released by the Anti-Defamation League on the proposed Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan near the site of Ground Zero.

It was with a great deal of sorrow that I read the carefully constructed statement from the Anti-Defamation League on the proposed mosque in lower Manhattan. As an organization that for nearly 100 years has helped set the standard for fighting defamation and securing justice and fair treatment for all, it is disappointing to see the ADL arrived at this conclusion.

The Interfaith Alliance’s work is driven by the fundamental principle that protecting religious freedom is most critical in times of crisis. And those who claim to defend religious freedom can not turn their back on it when faced with controversy. It is unfair to prejudge the impact this center can have on reconciliation before it is even built. And we must remember that just because someone prays in a mosque, that does not make them any less of a citizen than you or me.

We agree with the ADL that there is a need for transparency about who is funding the effort to build this Islamic center. At the same time, we should also ask who is funding the attacks against the construction of the center.

We must never bow to bigotry within the US, just as we would never bow to tyranny from the outside.

Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.