This is a strange war we're fighting against Islamist terrorism. We must fight the terrorists with alacrity, but at the same time we must understand that what the terrorists seek is a clash of civilizations. We must do everything possible to avoid giving them propaganda victories in their attempt to create a cosmic war between Judeo-Christian civilization and Muslim civilization. The fight is not between the West and Islam; it is between modernists of all monotheist faiths, on the one hand, and the advocates of a specific strain of medievalist Islam, on the other. If we as a society punish Muslims of good faith, Muslims of good faith will join the other side. It's not that hard to understand. I'm disappointed that the ADL doesn't understand this.
But it's a sign of just how deep the religious war now runs. Adam Serwer:
Let's be clear. This is not about the proposed Islamic Center. There is already a masjid in the neighborhood, and it's been there for decades. This is about giving political cover to right-wing politicians using anti-Muslim bigotry as a political weapon and a fundraising tool. By doing this the ADL is increasingly eroding its already weakened credibility as a non-partisan organization.
You cannot "categorically reject appeals to bigotry" and then back precisely the outcome those bigots back. You are in essence saying you agree with the bigots but just wish they would be a little nicer about it. You are in essence saying that the right to worship and assemble peaceably should be curbed when exercising those rights might run counter to "strong passions" and "keen sensitivities". You are in essence saying that grievance trumps first-amendment protections. This is a position unworthy of an organisation that claims to defend civil rights.