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Letter: Elected Officials Should Set Example

(This letter is in response to a letter to the editor, “Hannon Opposes Mosque Near Ground Zero” from Senator Kemp Hannon that was printed in the Friday, Aug. 27 edition of the Levittown Tribune.)

I am responding to the letter from Sen. Kemp Hannon in the August 27, 2010 edition in which he opposes the building of the mosque near Ground Zero. He states that the land surrounding Ground Zero should “remain sacred” to honor those who lost loved ones on Sept. 11. However, it is well known that this area already contains many businesses that might be described as less than sacred.

According to the Daily News, on August 16, 2010 they noted that the area contains bars, strip clubs, peep shows and off-track betting shops. Why is it then that the construction of a religious center should be drawing such venom and creating so much controversy? The Muslim religion does not condone mass killing nor does any other religion. The members of Al Qaeda who perpetrated these crimes were certainly not practicing Muslims. Saying you are a member of a certain religious sect and actually following those doctrines are two separate things. As it has been said, going to church on Sunday does not make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a mechanic. Associating an entire religion with a small group of radicals shows ignorance and narrowness that we as a nation have fought for many years to overcome. The only people in this country who can say they are not immigrants are Native Americans. The rest of us have roots in other nations and over the years all of these cultures and religions have blended together to make a wonderful patchwork quilt of American culture. There were times when all of our forefathers were considered newcomers and might have been maligned because of it but our Constitution guarantees religious freedom and that is a tenet of which we should all be proud. I am ashamed that our elected officials who should be leaders and setting an example for the people they represent are lowering themselves to enjoin in this conversation of bigotry and hatred.

Kristin Gornell