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Dear Editor:

As someone who has been granted the privilege of gracing these editorial pages, I hope you will allow me now in this hour of national bereavement to make a modest plea on behalf of all those in this country and beyond who are practicing Muslims and whose religion has been hijacked by the same terrorists that seek to destroy the very liberty that allows me to speak. Islam is a faith of peace and beauty and love. It is not a religion of hate. I am an orthodox Jew and a fervent Zionist but I was appalled at stories of death threats to Islamic institutions and schools. Even those who adhere to the Sikh sect, and whose hair is tied up in a turban for religious principles are under attack. One Sikh man literally had to run for his life into a subway and take off his turban to avoid being identified solely because his crazed attackers had seen Osama Bin Laden wearing what they mistakenly thought was a turban in a widely publicized picture.

As a former professor of history, I well remember the internment of Japanese-Americans in the dark days after Pearl Harbor. This stands as a stain of dishonor on our national coat of arms to this very day. Let us not repeat such an awful mistake. To those Moslem believers out there who are in fear, who wonder if their colleagues and co-workers look at them with anger and distrust, who keep their wives, mothers and daughters at home out of an honest concern that their observance of Islamic traditions of modesty in dress may brand them as different and make them targets of attack- I say to you that you are not alone. There are many of us who weep for America but know that your talent and energy have made us the great nation we are today. We need you and you need us- perhaps more than ever before. What was true before September 11 still remains so.

There are many ways to defend freedom but intolerance is not one of them. It is not enough to urge tolerance-we must denounce its antithesis in thought and deed with all we have in us. To do less is to dishonor the nation we love. Jews know that the protection of every man's freedom is their issue for if they chase down Sikhs and Moslems today, we will be the target tomorrow. That has been our history. There has been much crying over the terror in our land in recent days. Perhaps the emotion that weeps for the dead, for America and for the freedoms that are so difficult to protect and preserve in this dark hour is the noblest cry of all.

Gary E. Endelman
Immigration Attorney