Washington DC: NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, today strongly reaffirmed our support for the building of the Manhattan mosque and community center that have drawn opposition due to their location two blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks. We also strongly denounce the religious intolerance and political opportunism of many who oppose their construction.
In labeling the 9/11 attacks a religious event, building opponents have elected to attack an entire faith tradition. This is despite the fact that both President George W. Bush and President Obama have repeatedly reminded us that combating terrorism is not a war against Islam. Instead of promoting religious liberty, a number of politicians have chosen fear-mongering and intolerance for their own political gains.
In supporting construction, Sister Simone Campbell, NETWORK’s Executive Director, stated: “A bedrock principle of our nation is the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of religious expression. We are a strong country when everyone can worship (or not) in their own way. Much of the opposition to the mosque has encouraged a climate of fear and intolerance, but my Christian faith teaches that Jesus challenged us to ‘fear not.’ He also repeatedly engaged with the stranger—the Samaritan, Centurion and many others. The strength of our faith and the strength of our nation depend on our capacity to live according to their values of fairness and compassion. We will only have peace when we learn to reject ugly stereotypes and to live with mutual respect. ”
NETWORK—a Catholic leader in the global movement for justice and peace—educates, organizes and lobbies for economic and social transformation. Founded in 1971 by 47 Catholic sisters, NETWORK is supported by thousands of groups and individuals committed to working for social and economic justice. For more information, see www.networklobby.org .