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Letter: Chabad right to let Geller speak

Pamela Geller holds a demonstration outside the Nassau

Pamela Geller holds a demonstration outside the Nassau County Commission on Human Rights in Mineola. (April 14, 2013) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Great Neck prides itself in discussing issues openly ["Hundreds attend talk," News, April 15]. Issues have included low-income housing, school busing, anti-Semitism and racism. We even have opinions on who has the best burger in town -- Millie's or Violette's. The First Amendment applies to everyone, no exceptions.

Unfortunately, that changed when some Great Neck residents vilified anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller and pressured the Great Neck Synagogue into withdrawing its invitation to have her speak.

Great Neck, this was not our finest hour. We have invited controversial speakers to our houses of worship for years. In this case, the lesson to children was that silencing those you disagree with is OK.

The true hero of the day, Rabbi Yoseph Geisinsky of the Chabad of Great Neck, stepped up and invited Geller to speak there instead. Despite his health issues and pressure against him, he opened his house to ensure a free dialogue.

Chabad was packed with hundreds of our neighbors and friends. Geller said that radical Islam is the problem, not the Muslim religion; Sharia law, with its denigration and humiliation of women, must never be incorporated into our own judicial system; and hatred of Jews and the destruction of Israel are basic tenets of radical Islam.

Do these statements justify preventing her from speaking? Absolutely not!

Stephen Morris, North Hills