Letters From Today's Newsday:
King should stop bigotry
One cannot help but get an uncomfortable sense of deja vu reading the remarks of Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) that there are "too many mosques in this country, there's too many people who are sympathetic to radical Islam" ["King: 'Too many mosques,'" News, Sept. 20].
Once again flying boldly in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, King seems unwilling or perhaps unable to abandon his crusade against his fellow Americans who happen to be of a faith other than his own.
It is both a political and a moral tragedy for all of us when a representative, charged not only with representing all the citizens of his district in Congress but with upholding and defending the Constitution and all the rights guaranteed therein, stoops to this kind of fear-mongering and bigotry.
Muslim Americans, like Christian and Jewish and every other kind of Americans, are equal under the law and as such are equally entitled to be free of harassment because of their faith. President George W. Bush has said more than once that the war on terror is not a war on Islam. Peter King should listen to him.
Rev. Mark J. Lukens
Editor's note: The writer is president of the Long Island chapter of The Interfaith Alliance and pastor of Bethany Congregational Church.
As an American, I hang my head in shame. And as a Jew with a deep sense of foreboding, I stand in solidarity with my Muslim fellow citizens to repudiate the conduct of Rep. Peter King and State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) for their prejudicial and inflammatory actions.
King's unsubstantiated claims and innuendoes are reminiscent of the defamatory tactics employed against my own faith community in Germany just before the Nazi takeover in 1933.
The same may be said of passing into law encouragement to subject to police scrutiny ordinary citizens who may be engaged in an unfamiliar ritual practice of their faith without potential consequences for defamation. It is a blatant incitement to community divisiveness and the harassment of those whose life of pious service to the divine differs from the more commonplace.
I call upon my fellow clergy of all denominations and all citizens of goodwill to denounce publicly both of these contributions to the intended discrimination that they foster toward loyal Americans.
Rabbi Paul Joseph