An interfaith group gathered in Washington this morning in an event organized by the Muslim American Society and expressed concern that Democrats were joining many of their colleagues in the Republican Party in calling for the Cordoba House project to be moved from its planned location near Ground Zero in New York City.
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The group said it was worried that political concerns were overriding moral ones in the national debate about the project, and they said it looked to them like President Obama and many other Democrats were getting swept up in the stream.
"It's interesting how this evolved," Mahdi Bray, Executive Director of the Muslim American Society's Freedom Foundation, told reporters. Bray said opposition to the Cordoba House project began on "known Islamophobic websites" before spilling into the tea party and then into mainstream conservatism. From there, he said, it quickly became "a political football."
"I think it speaks to the worst of politics to use that issue to maybe advance" a political agenda, Bray said. He lashed out at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who he said was trying to "out-oppose the mosque" with his opponent in the Nevada Senate race, Republican Sharron Angle.
Bray said he was "disappointed" by the direction the political debate has taken and said he was concerned by Obama's recent "couching" of his statement about the rights of Muslims to build religious sites where they wanted. Bray told me he still considers Obama "an ally of the [moral] right" when it comes to Cordoba House.