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 celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.