Ruins of the 16th St. Baptist Church in Which 4 Young Girls Lost Their LivesWise Beyond his Years: Isaac Luria of J StreetAfrican American leaders greeted with enthusiasm KKK plans to erect a church and cultural center on the site of the September 15th, 1963 bombing of the 16th St. Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama in which 4 young girls were killed. Leaders of the Alabama Democratic Party as well as national progressive personalities applauded the plans to construct the house of worship as an expression of healing and reconciliation. J Street, the "Pro Israel", "Pro Peace" organization joined in an expression of solidarity with the KKK.
Isaac Luria, J Street's official spokesperson, issued the following statement in response to opposition to the construction of the cultural center and church:
"I am proud as an American and as a Jew that our heritage is grounded in a strong belief in equality, justice, and religious freedom...I was taught that if freedom can be denied to a single person because of who they are, it can happen to anyone of us.It is time for those of us who share these beliefs to stand up as another religious minority looks to exercise its legal rights in the United States."Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York added in support of the project, "“What is great about America, and particularly New York, is we welcome everybody, and if we are so afraid of something like this, what does that say about us? Montgomery should welcome this project as enthusiastically as New York would."
The fact that the Grand Wizard refused to name the KKK a "terrorist" organization was apparently not sufficient to deter the project's proponents from endorsing it.
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