Catholic Archbishop Condemns Anti-Mosque Phobia

In response to a controversies over the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero and on Staten Island, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, on his official blog condemned Islamophobic prejudice. Archbishop Dolan is the head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, which includes Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island.

"Yes, it is acceptable to ask questions about security, safety, the background and history of the groups hoping to build and buy," Archbishop Dolan wrote. "What is not acceptable is to prejudge any group, or to let fear and bias trump the towering American (and for us Catholics, the religious) virtues of hospitality, welcome, and religious freedom."

Archbishop Dolan compared the situation of American Muslims with American Catholic history, saying that Catholics "were (and sometimes still are) considered aliens and foreigners....These foreigners, Beecher, Morse, and company warned, were un-American, from a strange religion led by a fanatic in Rome, who wanted to impose their tyrannical beliefs on the United States, and even destroy  American democracy, by violence, if necessary."

He also noted that Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI both "went-to-bat for the Islamic community in Rome in their yearnings to build the first mosque in Rome."