King wrong on Islamic Center
I was dismayed by Rep. Peter King's (R-Seaford) letter to Newsday concerning the Islamic Center of Long Island, whose leadership he has accused of Muslim extremism ["King: Newsday wrong about Islamic Center," Letters, Sept. 27]. Temple Beth-El of Great Neck's 15-year-long relationship with the mosque reflects anything but that. Rather, our dialogue programs, meetings and joint worship services represent the best of America: Tolerance, respect and the freedom that allows different peoples to sit together in peace.
A few weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, when the leader of the Islamic Center and my dialogue partner, Dr. Faroque Khan, returned from his family's home in Kashmir, from which he had been able to travel during the crisis, our two religious institutions held a joint Sabbath eve service in our synagogue. The people of the mosque had been subjected to harassment, ridicule and worse and felt comforted by our welcome. Many of our members and theirs know one another as friends. To imply that this group, or Faroque Khan, for a moment believed Jews or Israel were responsible for 9/11 is utterly irresponsible. So, too, is Rep. King's charge that "people like Khan are insinuating themselves into our political system. "
Is that the way we refer to American citizens who take part in the political process? Why is Rep. King beating his demagogic drum?
Perhaps an election is coming.
Rabbi Jerome K. Davidson
Temple Beth-El of Great Neck
And more from the current president of the Islamic Center
Recent comments by Congressman Peter King regarding the Islamic Center of Long Island and its programs have no factual basis. We invite the readers to view the official statements regarding the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, at our Web site: icliny.org, under "opinions" and "community speaks. "
The ICLI board categorically condemns the terror attacks of 9/11 and issued a press release saying as much on Oct. 11, 2001. Congressman King was invited to a special commemorative event at the ICLI in November 2001. Had King or his staff attended, they would have heard firsthand the condemnations and other relevant statements. Subsequently we sent an outline of the presentation made at the Sabbath service at Temple Beth-El to King, in which the ICLI position was clearly outlined. Sadly, King ignores all these facts and uses the classic "cut and paste" technique from statements of individuals made in 2001 to create fear and panic.
We find it ironic that King's diatribes against Muslims get magnified when he is peddling his book or at the time of a close election against a dynamic young candidate, David Mejias, and we wonder why King did not speak out during the election of 2004 or 2002.
In these difficult times, we would expect our elected officials to promote peaceful coexistence among the various communities in this great country. Congressman King does not seem to realize the extent of the damage he's causing to this country.
Editor's note: The writer is president of the Islamic Center of Long Island.
Read our interview with the past President of the Islamic Center Dr. Faroque Khan here.