Mosque near ground zero: Gingrich spokesman responds

August 06, 2010

The Baltimore Sun's editorial board seems to think Newt Gingrich's opposition to the ground zero mosque is a minority position ("Freedom and religion," editorial, Aug. 5). However, New Yorkers oppose the "Cordoba House" mosque by a whopping 61-26 percent. New York City residents are 56-33 percent against, suburban residents, 66-21 percent against, and up-staters are 64-21 percent against (Siena College survey). Surely, The Sun can't be suggesting that the majority of New Yorkers who live in a city with over 100 mosques, are, as they characterized the former Speaker, "anti-Muslim"?

While Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo certainly have the right to support the construction of the mosque at ground zero, let The Sun acknowledge that they do so with overwhelming public opinion against them. An opinion that stems from the fact that Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, the leader of the effort, has shown his contempt for the victims of 9/11 when he stated that U.S. policies "were an accessory" to 9/11 and "in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the U.S.A." He has refused to repudiate Hezbollah, the terrorist organization behind the 1983 Beirut bombing that killed 241 U.S. Marines and continues to rain down missiles into Israel from its base in southern Lebanon. Moreover, he is an apologist for Shariah Law, the Islamic law that is used to justify the execution of homosexuals, honor killings, and death sentences carried out by stoning, which he claims is compliant with the U.S. Constitution.

Despite The Sun's assertion to the contrary, no one has advocated or suggested that government "pick and decide which churches, synagogues or mosques can be built, and where". (Although The Sun might have mentioned that the 90 year-old St. Nicholas Church that was destroyed when the towers came down has not been rebuilt because of bureaucratic delays.) Far from "pandering to people's worst instincts," Mr. Gingrich has concluded what a majority of Americans have concluded: The construction of this mosque to be dedicated on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 just yards from ground zero constitutes the political act of planting a victory flag over the U.S. at ground zero, especially with its originally proposed name "Cordoba" which signifies the historic height of Islamic conquest.

Rick Tyler, Washington, D.C.

The writer is a spokesman for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

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