Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bloomberg speaks out in defense of religious freedom; defends Ground Zero mosque

In a rare personal moment for the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg gave a teary-eyed defense of religious freedom in the form of plans to build an Islamic center near the former site of the World Trade Center - known as 'Ground Zero'.

Bloomberg praised the decision to allow the building of the mosque to go ahead - despite widespread criticism.

The billionaire mayor choked up during his delivery, which spoke of the religious freedoms desired by the earliest settlers of the United States.

"We may not always agree with every one of our neighbors. That's life and it's part of living in such a diverse and dense city. But we also recognize that part of being a New Yorker is living with your neighbors in mutual respect and tolerance. It was exactly that spirit of openness and acceptance that was attacked on 9/11," he said.

Bloomberg was a prominent businessman before entering politics, and grew up in a disadvantaged family north of New York. He founded the multi-billion dollar financial data company Bloomberg LP before resigning to pursue the mayoralty. 

"Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values - and play into our enemies' hands - if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists - and we should not stand for that."
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