Were religious leaders included, the mayor’s office would have to choose which leaders to invite and which not to invite. That, of course, is true of every invitation list. In this case, however, it may be just a clever way for a mayor whose reputation is not what it once was to avoid a fight over including a Muslim leader at the 9/11 ceremony.
It’s worth noting that this is a problem of Mr. Bloomberg’s own creation. Manifestly Islam wasn’t an issue two weeks after the 9/11 attacks, when the city sponsored a huge interfaith service at Yankee Stadium billed as “A Prayer for America.” The service included an imam, whose words were prominently featured in the press accounts of the event—and cheered…
If New Yorkers could be inspired by an imam when the wounds of the 9/11 attack were still raw, what would make this time different? The answer is Mr. Bloomberg himself. Having spent a good chunk of last year vilifying those who disagreed with him about the building of a mosque near Ground Zero, the mayor has made it far more ticklish to invite an imam to the anniversary event. You can see why people might conclude that it’s safer not to have any religious leaders there at all.
This is precisely how American liberalism impoverishes society. It finds a disagreement, labels those on one side “divisive,” and applies a prescription that leaves people feeling even more divided.