Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Who Else Will Speak Up?

New York Times
August 30, 2010

The hate-filled signs carried recently by protesters trying to halt plans to build an Islamic center and mosque in Lower Manhattan were chilling. We were cheered to see people willing to challenge their taunts and champion tolerance and the First Amendment. But opportunistic politicians are continuing to foment this noxious anger. It is a dangerous pursuit.

Already New Yorkers have seen a troubled young man slash a Muslim taxi driver with a knife. A zealot in Florida is threatening to burn a stack of Korans on the anniversary of Sept. 11. Where does this end?

The country needs strong and sane voices to push back against the hatred and irrational fears. President Obama made a passionate defense of the mosque, but only once. Most Democratic politicians are ducking. So far, the leader with the courage to make the case repeatedly is Mayor Michael Bloomberg.