At a press conference Friday morning, religious leaders from a variety of faiths gathered at the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles to express support for the building of an Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan, two blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center. The project, often referred to as the Mosque at Ground Zero, has been at the center of a political and media frenzy since late July.
The leaders’ statement, released at the event, was drafted by the Muslim Public Affairs Council and signed by 71 religious leaders and clergy, including eight Jewish leaders, from across Greater Los Angeles, and it offered a strong rebuttal to those who oppose the center.
“We support the building of the Islamic Center … in lower Manhattan, and other mosques and community centers across the nation,” the one-page statement says. Standing outside the Los Angeles Islamic Center, Reverend Anne Felton Hines, minister of Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church in Canoga Park, read the statement, which acknowledges the impact of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 on people of all faiths, yet affirms “the right of Muslim Americans to build a house of worship like any other American, at any location according to local ordinances and U.S. law.”
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