New Yorkers see the right to build Islamic center, but also want it moved

August 31, 2010

mosque signsNew York voters contradicted themselves over a planned Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site, with majorities saying both that Muslims have the right to build one but that they should be forced to move it, a poll issued on Tuesday finds.

Fifty-four percent of those polled believe Muslims have the right to build the center and mosque near “Ground Zero” because of American freedom of religion, but a similar 53 percent said that right should be denied because of the sensitivities of relatives of those killed on September 11, 2001.

(Photo: Demonstrators in front of theIslamic center  site in New York , August 25, 2010/Lucas Jackson)

The Quinnipiac University poll surveyed 1,497 New York state registered voters from August 23 to 29, at the height of the controversy that Republicans who oppose the mosque have seized on for a political edge over Democrats ahead of November 2 mid-term elections. Read the full story here.

lazioKuwait-born Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is touring Gulf Arab countries to speak about religious radicalism, said his plan for a $100 million cultural center and mosque in Lower Manhattan had become a campaign issue for the November 2 mid-term elections.

(Photo: Rick Lazio, Republican candidate for governor of New York state, speaks against the Islamic center at a public hearing that approved the project, July 13, 2010/Keith Bedford)

President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg support the right of Muslims to build the center. But it is opposed by most conservative politicians, some Democrats, and others who say its location is insensitive to families of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the September 11 attacks by al Qaeda militants in 2001.

“There is no doubt that the election season has had a major impact upon the nature of the discourse,” Abdul Rauf said of the heated U.S. debate in an interview published on Monday by Abu Dhabi’s The National newspaper.

Read the full story here.

For FaithWorld coverage of this controversy, click here.

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