To the Editor:
Re "Ground zero tolerance," Editorial, Aug. 11
In your criticism of the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center for our position on the mosque near ground zero, The Times inappropriately charges that we are linking all Muslims to Al Qaeda.
That is a gross misrepresentation of our stand on the issue. We take seriously our commitment to combat all forms of bigotry, including that against Muslims -- particularly since 9/11, and especially the charge that all Muslims are terrorists. Our educational programs promote respect and understanding and reach out to people of all faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds.
Our raising questions about the wisdom of building the mosque in the shadow of ground zero is based on the issue of sensitivity to the victims of 9/11 and their families.
We believe unequivocally that the Cordoba Initiative has the right to build there, but we also believe that the goal of reconciliation and healing, which is a stated purpose of the project, would not be well served because of the pain it would cause to many of the victims and their families.
Good people can legitimately disagree about what is the best approach on this issue. It is wrong, however, to castigate the intent and motives of two organizations that have a long and successful record of commitment to fighting the kind of bigotry that we are now accused of abetting.
Abraham H. Foxman
ADL National Director
Dean & Founder
Simon Wiesenthal Center