McDonnell, unlike Obama, opposes mosque at Ground Zero
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, joining others across the country, said Monday that he opposes the construction of an Islamic complex near New York's Ground Zero.
His comments came in response to a question at a news conference at the state Capitol, days after President Obama told guests at a White House dinner that opposing the project is at odds with American values.
"I strongly believe in religious liberty. It's a tenet of America democracy,'' McDonnell said. "I also believe it is an issue for people of New York to decide. If it were my decision, I would not put that center there. It is a site where nearly 3,000 people lost their lives and I certainly would not locate that center there if I had a voice."
The proposal calls for the Islamic center, formally known as the Cordoba House, to rise 13 stories on land two blocks from the World Trade Center site. The nonprofit bought the property last year for $4 million and plans to spend $100 million on the complex.
Polls suggest that most Americans agree with McDonnell's position; a recent CNN poll found 68 percent opposed to building a mosque near the Sept. 11 site.
Some prominent Republicans joined families of those killed on Sept. 11 in opposing the mosque, saying it would inappropriately celebrate the religion that al-Qaeda leaders say inspired the terrorist attacks.
But Obama said that blocking the mosque would undermine the country's claim to respect the free practice of religious expression. The next day he said Muslims have the right to build the mosque but that doesn't mean he believes it is the right thing for them to do.
August 16, 2010; 4:53 PM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Robert F. McDonnell , Sarah Palin
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