A lot of attention has been paid to what Republicans are saying about plans to build a Muslim community center near Ground Zero in New York City, but many New York Democrats have been relatively silent on the issue.
Here’s a round-up of what some prominent New York Democrats are saying — or not saying — about the Cordoba House plans, which won a key legislative approval earlier this week.A spokesman for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sent this statement to TPM:
The community board, which includes many people who lived through the 9/11 attacks, overwhelmingly voted to approve this proposal and Senator Gillibrand supports the board’s decision.
Sen. Chuck Schumer‘s office, on the other hand, told Greg Sargent of The Washington Post that he is “not opposed” to the mosque, but when “asked for Schumer’s views of the opposition, and asked if he actively supports the right of the center’s builders to put it two blocks from Ground Zero, Schumer’s spokesman declined to elaborate and said Schumer was declining an interview.” He also wouldn’t answer a Weekly Standard reporter’s questions about the issue at a press conference Tuesday.
Rep. Anthony Weiner refused to respond at all to Sargent’s repeated questions about the mosque.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney‘s office sent us this statement in support of construction:
While I understand some of the strong emotions this proposal has created, I believe that preventing the project from being built would run counter to our proud constitutional rights of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom to assemble. I stand with many in our community, including Mayor Bloomberg and the local community board, in supporting the rights of the project’s planners to build in lower Manhattan, which I believe will signal to the world that the terrorists will never be able to destroy the American traditions of openness and tolerance.
And Rep. Jerrold Nadler released a new statement today condemning the “shameful and divisive” opposition to the Cordoba House:
As an elected official who believes strongly in the separation of church and state, I contend that the government has no business deciding whether there should or should not be a Muslim house of worship near Ground Zero. And, as a representative of New Yorkers of all faiths and cultures, I find the singling out of Muslim-Americans — because of their faith — for animus and hate to be shameful and divisive. We should instead work toward building tolerance and understanding. For centuries, New Yorkers have exhibited a great capacity to incorporate and benefit from diversity. The Cordoba House, which is the product of moderate Muslims, has the support of the local community board and a wide swath of Lower Manhattan community leaders.