For Release: September 13, 2010
ORTHODOX UNION LEADERS COMMENT ON RECENT ANTI-ISLAMIC STATEMENTS
The following statement was issued by Rabbi Steven Weil, executive vice president, and Nathan Diament, director of public policy, of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America:
In recent weeks, the United States, has witnessed many disturbing and divisive statements directed at adherents of Islam. We Orthodox Jewish Americans, as members of a religious minority who are privileged and proud to be citizens of the United States, find these statements and sentiments to be deeply troubling. The legal rights and social accommodation of religious minorities of Americans must be protected and upheld. We are proud that (earlier in this decade) the Orthodox Union was at the forefront, along with other religious groups, in working to get the Religious Land Use Act enacted into law to combat the use of zoning and land use laws as a tools of religious discrimination. We know very well from our own experience how local communities use such laws to oppose the construction of houses of worship by minority groups and we adamantly oppose such offensive conduct.
More recently, a member of the clergy has proposed the public burning of the Koran. The notion of burning holy texts should not only offend, but send chills down the spine of anybody, especially in the Jewish community, which has seen its own holy texts burned over the centuries. This has no place in the United States. The United States has been an exceptional nation in not only how it has promised religious freedom to adherents of all faiths, but it has delivered on that fundamental promise for more than two centuries. Our nation must remain faithful to this principle.