After a Muslim complained that Islam was not being represented the town of North Castle has added the Islamic symbol of the crescent to the town's holiday display. The man who complained has admitted that the month of December does not always have an Islamic holiday in it. But obviously he does not care as him and many other Muslims continually look to shove Islam down our throats.
12/14/08 06:32 AM
Islam’s crescent added to town’s holiday display
By Jim Fitzgerald
ARMONK — When they light the town Christmas tree in Armonk today, there will be a Jewish menorah right alongside, as usual. There will also be something new this year — an Islamic crescent and star.
And if there are any local Buddhists or Hindus in town who want to see their symbols as well, the town is welcoming applications.
The holiday display, sponsored by the town of North Castle, which includes the village of Armonk, is among a growing number around the country that include the common symbol for Islam.
“We’ve decided to go in the direction of being all-inclusive,” said Reese Berman, supervisor of the town of 11,000, about 30 miles north of New York City and home to IBM headquarters. “We now have a specific guideline to follow.”
Craig Mason, 63, a retired town resident who was walking past the display on a rainy morning last week, said he had no strong religious feelings but felt the display “says nice things about the people here, about how we welcome everyone.”
Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, said displaying a menorah and star-and-crescent — which he considers religious symbols — “shows tremendous sympathy for Jews and Muslims at the expense of the majority Christians” because a Christmas tree, he said, is not religious. He would favor adding a Nativity scene.
But Judy Wesley, director of the Armonk Chamber of Commerce, said she was raised Catholic and “in my opinion there’s nothing wrong with having a spirit of inclusion. Jesus Christ himself would have gathered everyone around him.”
North Castle added its menorah about 15 years ago at the behest of a local temple, which felt Hanukkah should be recognized along with Christmas. Then last year, the town board was approached by Asad Jilani, who thought Muslim residents should also be represented.
“I said, ‘Oh, there’s a menorah and a Christmas tree and where is my crescent?’ ” said Jilani, who has been active in community affairs. He said that although there is not always an Islamic holiday in December, he felt it would be an appropriate time to celebrate all cultures.
What he didn’t want, he said, is what the town did — move the menorah from the town park onto the grounds of the temple. Berman says the town felt it did not have time to address Jilani’s request and moving the menorah “would mean the star and crescent was not singled out.”
“I was embarrassed,” Jilani said. “The last thing I was suggesting was to move the menorah. I wanted this to be for openness, for representing everyone.”
Berman said she decided to revisit the decision this year because “no one was happy.” She appointed a committee that studied what other municipalities had done and what the courts had decided.
The board approved the star and crescent and came up with guidelines for future requests: There has to be a formal application; the symbol will be displayed only during the Christmas season; it has to be privately funded (Jilani paid for the star and crescent); and the board will not try to distinguish between religious and secular symbols.
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