As tolerance center opens, director says Islamic center should be built away from 9-11 site.
The latest Jewish organization to weigh in on the Ground Zero mosque controversy is opposed to the project, siding with the Anti-Defamation League in what had been a lonely stand against the proposed $100 million Cordoba House on Park Place.
The executive director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance in Manhattan, Rabbi Meyer May said on Thursday it was insensitive to build the center near the site of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. “Religious freedom does not mean being insensitive...or an idiot,” May told Crain's New York Business, which reported the organization's position on Friday. “Religion is supposed to be beautiful. Why create pain in the name of religion?”
But May said the view of The Simon Wiesenthal Center is not necessarily that of the Museum of Tolerance. “We don't want to politicize the museum,” he told Crain's.
After the ADL announced its position last Friday that New York City would be better served if an alternate location for Cordoba House could be found, the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York came out wit statements supporting the center at its current location, if the sponsors -- the Cordoba Initiave and the American Society for Muslim Advancement -- denounce terrorism and provide an accounting of the center's funding.
The Wiesenthal Center has been accused of intolerance itself for building its Jerusalem Museum of Tolerance on land that was once a Muslim cemetery. Israeli courts have upheld the center's right to build there.
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