Hamas Gives Counterproductive Thumbs-up to Ground Zero Mosque

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Photo: CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images

As the nation tries to suss out how, exactly, President Obama feels about the ground zero mosque — it's really an Islamic community center two blocks from ground zero, but "ground zero mosque" continues to have a much better ring to it — a more unequivocal endorsement is sure to add fuel to the debate's fire. Mahmoud al-Zahar, one of the founders and current leaders of Hamas, has let it be known that he supports the mosque. Not really sure why his opinion was even sought, but his approval should come as no surprise. What is a leader of Hamas going to say — "No, 9/11 is still too painful for many families"? Of course he supports the mosque.

Obviously, this is not helpful in any way for the mosque's defenders. But let's hear al-Zahar out; maybe it won't be so bad.

"We have to build the mosque, as you are allowed to build the church and Israelis are building their holy places."

Oh, actually, that's right. Freedom of religious expression is the same rationale used by Mayor Bloomberg, President Obama, and other people who believe in the Constitution even when it's politically beneficial not to. Just because a group of fundamentalist Muslims attacked the World Trade Center does not mean that Muslims-Americans are not just like everybody else.

"First of all, we have to address that we are different as people, as a nation, totally different," [al-Zahar] said.

Okay ... you can stop now.

Hamas nod for Ground Zero mosque [NYP]