Staking an unpopular political position, President Obama voiced his support Friday night for the right of American Muslims to build “a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan.” The Miami Herald reported today that Democratic candidates in Florida failed to exhibit the same courage. “Common sense and respect for those who lost their lives and loved ones gives sensible reason to build the mosque someplace else,” argued Senate candidate Jeff Greene. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink said 9/11 families “are opposed to this project and I share their view.” Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has joined the ranks of these weak-willed Democrats. Greg Sargent reports:
The First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Senator Reid respects that but thinks that the mosque should be built some place else. If the Republicans are being sincere, they would help us pass this long overdue bill to help the first responders whose health and livelihoods have been devastated because of their bravery on 911, rather than continuing to block this much-needed legislation.
The Wonk Room’s Matt Duss explains why the argument for relocating the mosque is so offensive. Duss writes, “It asks Muslim Americans to acknowledge the validity of the idea that the presence of a mosque at that location is an affront to those murdered — including the Muslims murdered — on 9/11. And while it’s important to understand the deep emotions involved, the idea that Muslims bear collective guilt for 9/11 is simply not valid, no matter how ‘thoughtfully’ phrased.”