August 18, 2010
Posted: 03:57 PM ET
By Russell Simmons
It was a day we will never forget. It was a day that changed the course of this nation forever. It was a day that permanently bruised our hearts, with the potential of healing almost seeming impossible. Yet, with love, faith and compassion, we showed the world and showed ourselves through the promotion of one of our nation's greatest values - tolerance - we can overcome fear and hate.
Today, ten years later, I peer through the front windows of my apartment and still see a large gaping hole that once was the home to the World Trade Center. I pass by the firehouse on my block and say hello to the firemen who lost almost all of their guys on that day. This is my neighborhood, my backyard. And in my backyard, I have no tolerance for a new fear-mongering, hateful rhetoric that has sprung up over the proposed $100 million Islamic cultural center that they plan on building blocks away from Ground Zero.
It is not insensitive to put a cultural center of any sort, that has a place of worship, anywhere in our city. This is what makes our country and our city great. As a nation that was founded by men and women who were being persecuted for their particular faith, we should know that the best path to finding freedom is finding freedom for others. We were formed as a pluralistic society and this means we welcome all religions. Islam did not attack the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, sick and twisted men did, who not only hijacked four airplanes but also hijacked a religion. Let us not stereotype the over one billion Muslims around the world because of the evil acts of a few. A decision like this one, to support or not support the construction of this center, defines who we are as a nation. It's at the essence of our values, our freedom of expression, freedom of religion and religious tolerance.
Filed under: Larry King Live
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