The Republican Party is intent on making Islamophobia the cornerstone issue of Election 2010. GOP candidates are in a race to see which can be most opposed, if not to Islam itself, to an Islamic group's plans to convert a building it is already using (a former Burlington Coat Factory) into a community center. The building happens to be a couple of football fields away from the site of the World Trade Center. Newspaper shorthand calls it the "Ground Zero mosque," though neither descriptive is strictly accurate.
Anyway. I asked Sen. Blanche Lincoln's campaign for her thoughts. The prepared response:
"Out of respect for the families who lost loved ones in our nation’s worst terrorist attack, if I were making the decision I would prefer that the Mosque be constructed a few blocks away from the World Trade Center site,” Senator Lincoln said. “However, the people of New York City didn’t ask for my opinion and I believe the local community, including family members of 9/11 victims and church leaders, should make that decision together."
You can figure where her opponent, Republican John Boozman lands. He's been demagoguing it for some time now, particularly since President Obama expressed his support for the 1st Amendment.
Put simply, the construction of the Ground Zero mosque is an insensitive, aggressive political statement whose principle purpose is to irritate the public and stoke controversy. Instead of acknowledging this reality, the President bought the activists’ plea for religious expression hook-line-and-sinker and caved to the winds of political correctness in support of the building.
Somebody is sure enough stoking controversy. For balance, Jon Stewart's take:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|