From the AP, via Huffington Post – I think this article is as thorough and fair a summary of the NY mosque controversy as I’ve seen to date.
“The center’s location, in a former Burlington Coat Factory store, is already used by the cleric for worship, drawing a spillover from the imam’s former main place for prayers, the al-Farah mosque. That mosque, at 245 West Broadway, is about a dozen blocks north of the World Trade Center grounds. Another, the Manhattan Mosque, stands five blocks from the northeast corner of the World Trade Center site.”
That says to me that the locality objection is made up and has no merit.
“But he’s made provocative statements about America, too, calling it an “accessory” to the 9/11 attacks and attributing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children to the U.S.-led sanctions in the years before the invasion. In a July 2005 speech at the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Center in Adelaide, Australia, Rauf said, according to the center’s transcript: “We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaida has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims.” While calling terrorism unjustified, he said the U.S. has supported authoritarian regimes with heinous human rights records”
I would add that countless Christian and Jewish clergy as well as the Dahli Lama and others have said the very same things. The Pope loudly condemned the US invasion of Iraq.
I don’t care much about religion, I don’t feel one way or another about this imam, I have no doubt that millions of Americans are sincere in their objections (not Gingrich though). For me, this is about only one thing and that is the American tradition of inclusion and tolerance about which we brag to the rest of the world – and rightly so. We often don’t do it right at first, but we always get there. And we never stop trying to get there.