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Eric Friedman
(212) 382-6754
Kathryn Inman

Statement by New York City Bar President Samuel W. Seymour on the Proposed Islamic Cultural Center near the World Trade Center Site

We are concerned with the efforts to chill the exercise of First Amendment rights of members of the Muslim community who seek to build the Park51 Islamic Cultural Center near the World Trade Center site. As there appears to be no legal impediment to building Park51, we applaud Mayor Bloomberg for his decision not to interfere with the siting of the center. The law should not be contorted to infringe upon the lawful exercise of religion. Freedom of religion is one of the cornerstones of our Constitution and our democratic traditions; indeed it is what brought many of this nation’s early settlers to our shores, and millions more since. The concepts of tolerance and religious freedom are deeply embedded in our legal system. Our nation is the stronger, both internally and in its standing in the world, for preserving religious freedom.

About the Association

The New York City Bar Association ( was founded in 1870, and since then has been dedicated to maintaining the high ethical standards of the profession, promoting reform of the law, and providing service to the profession and the public. The Association continues to work for political, legal and social reform, while implementing innovative means to help the disadvantaged. Protecting the public’s welfare remains one of the Association’s highest priorities.