October 9, 2018 — New York
This piece originally appeared in The New York Times.
Islam and Religious Freedom
To the Editor:
Re "A Religious Double Standard," by Asma T. Uddin (Op-Ed, Sept. 27):
A threat to religious freedom anywhere is a threat to religious freedom everywhere. All faiths and religious practices are under assault when anti-Muslim advocates pretend that Islam is not a religion and use this fallacious argument to deny American Muslims the rights extended to Americans of all faiths.
The strength of America has been its assertion of freedom of religious expression as a bedrock principle, while maintaining a wall of separation between religion and state. Islam is not a threat to America.
Furthermore, any effort to disenfranchise American Muslims through legal ruses will hamper the integration of Muslims into the American mosaic and interfere with the salutary influence of American values on the mutual respect among religious groups.
Delegitimizing Islam threatens not only people of faith, but all Americans. We agree with the unequivocal rejection of this religious slander by the Justice Department, which said, “It is uncontroverted that Islam is a religion, and a mosque is a place of religious assembly.”
(Rabbi) Noam Marans
The writers are, respectively, director of interreligious and intergroup relations and director of United States Muslim-Jewish relations for the American Jewish Committee.