By Shereef Akeel, Esq.
Our founding fathers would be rolling in their graves if they saw the Oakland pressâ€™s editorial opposing a group of America citizens, who wish to build an American Mosque to practice their faith, at least two blocks from ground zero. If only the paper looked a little deeper in our rich American history, it will find that Islam (where its adherents commemorate Jesus and Moses on a daily basis) has been a pillar to the formation of America, not its destruction, as the paper suggests. One does not need to look any further than our Library of Congress, where word â€œIslamâ€ is prominently displayed in the center dome since the 1800â€™s, in recognition for its contribution to our society. Or stroll to the Supreme Court, our law of the land, where Mohammed is recognized as one of the greatest law givers, along with, of course, Jesus and Moses. As Thomas Jefferson so eloquently stated, â€œI am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.â€ America was formed by Americans seeking freedom from religious oppression. The First Amendment provides for the free exercise of religion. Such an opinion by the paper, if adopted, would not only down grade our great Country to the same level as other intolerant nations that persecute and discriminate against a people of a certain faith, but would hand the terrorist a great victory of crushing our First Amendment, and defeating our founding fatherâ€™s dream of a free tolerant America. We should never let that happen. The terrorists caused 9/11, not the religion.
Shereef Akeel, Civil Rights Attorney, 888 West Big Beaver, Ste 910, Troy, Michigan 48084; (248) 269 9595 (work); (248) 269 9119 (fax); www.akeelvalentine.com