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Ground Zero mosque approval, a victory for US democracy, religious tolerance: NYT

By Mamatha

New York, Aug.4 (ANI): New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission decision to sanction the construction of a mosque and an Islamic center near Ground Zero by a vote of nine to zero, should be seen as a reaffirmation of one of the basic tenets of American democracy -- religious tolerance.

According to an editorial in the New York Times, by refusing to cave in to the angry voices, the commissioners have not only done the right thing, but also showed that "it was the only thing to do.

The message going out from the commissioners is that 9/11 was not a religious event, but a case of mass murder, and that the American response was not a war against Islam.

While acknowledging that some of the families of the 9/11 victims deserve respect and sympathy, the NYT editorial believes that not clearing plans for building the mosque and the Islamic center, " would be a greater disservice to the memories of their loved ones", as it would be seen as a sign of giving in to the "very fear that the terrorists wanted to create and, thus, to abandon the principles of freedom and tolerance."

The editorial praises Mayor Michael Bloomberg for referring to the proposed mosque "as important a test of separation of church and state as any we may see in our lifetime, and it is critically important that we get it right."

It adds that the plans for the 100 million dollar center should encourage those who want Muslims and non-Muslims in America to find common ground. (ANI)

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