Nancy Pelosi thinks there should be an investigation into who is funding the opposition to building Park51, but Howard Dean thinks the mosque should be moved. When he's not helping to define the opposition's take on the mosque, Dr. Richard Land works on behalf of United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, promoting religious freedom overseas. The Post worries that money from Iran will fund the mosque, but the Daily News says the State Department says Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is not allowed to raise funds overseas. George W. Bush chooses not to step up to his title as defender of Muslim rights. And more Americans disapprove of Obama's comments on the mosque, if they even know where he stands on it at all. What, did you think you were allowed to think about something else?
Calling the mosque an "urban development decision" for New Yorkers to work through, Nancy Pelosi sent out a statement asking for transparency from the opposition:
“The freedom of religion is a Constitutional right. Where a place of worship is located is a local decision . . . “I support the statement made by the Interfaith Alliance that ‘We agree with the ADL that there is a need for transparency about who is funding the effort to build this Islamic center. At the same time, we should also ask who is funding the attacks against the construction of the center.’
Howard Dean, who called the mosque "an affront" to people who lost their lives, thinks Park51 should compromise and move:
The audiotape didn't pick this up, but we imagine there was a muffled, "But, you know, not like real Americans with all the freedom of religion and everything."
"I think it's great to have mosques in American cities. There's a growing number of American Muslims. I think most of those Muslims are moderate. I hope that they'll have an influence on Islam throughout the world, because Islam is really back in the 12th century in some of these countries like Iran and Afghanistan where they're stoning people to death. And that can be fixed. And the way it's fixed is not by pushing Muslims away, it's by embracing them and have them become just like every other American -- Americans who happen to be Muslims."
The Daily News talks to the State Department about limitations on Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's trip to the Middle East:
The Ground Zero imam is off on a taxpayer-funded trip to tout America in the Middle East - and he's been warned not to pass the collection plate for the mosque. "We've told him he will not do any personal business," a senior State Department official said of the two-week tour through wealthy gulf oil states by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. The official business is promoting religious freedom and tolerance.
The Post hints at how the mosque possibly, maybe, might provoke a terrorist act or nuclear war:
The developers of the Ground Zero mosque are refusing to flat out reject cash for the project from Holocaust-denying Iranian nuke nut Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. . .The possibility of tapping the radical rogue Islamic state of Iran for funds comes as the United States is stepping up sanctions on the regime in retaliation for its support of terrorism and what is feared to be an illegal nuclear-weapons development program.
Dr. Richard Land doesn't see any contradiction between working for the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and helping to orchestrate the opposition's take on the mosque:
In his role as a commissioner, Land's job is to press for a U.S. foreign policy that advances religious freedoms around the world. Reached by phone today, Land maintained that there is no contradiction between his service on the Commission and his efforts to see the Cordoba House Islamic cultural center project moved farther north in Manhattan.
Noting that he was "always careful to reiterate his support for religious freedom for Muslim-Americans," liberals hoped that George W. Bush would stand up as a Republican voice of reason. But his spokesman told TPM, "President Bush has no comment."
Gallup has 37 percent of Americans disapproving of President Obama's position on the mosque, and 20 percent approving, which is interesting considering that post-flip-flop we're not exactly sure what his position is.
So who started this controversy that the world feels the need to weigh in on? Reality-show contestant Francisco Patino, who helped scout the location:
He was just doing the bidding of a real estate developer who hired him in 2006 after chancing to see him on "American Inventor." The show happened to be on a floor-model TV while the developer was shopping at a Sharper Image in Manhattan. "I saw him on TV and I like him," the developer, Sharif el-Gamal, said Wednesday.
Rep. Pelosi calls for investigation of WTC mosque opposition [Washington Times]
Howard Dean Says Cordoba House Should Be Built Somewhere Else [TPM DC]
Iran cash might fund Ground Zero mosque [NYP]
No fund-raising for Ground Zero mosque on U.S. dime [NYDN]
George Bush Stays Out Of 'Ground Zero Mosque' Fray [TPM DC]
More Disapprove Than Approve of Obama Mosque Remarks [Gallup]
Reality TV finalist steered developer to mosque site near Ground Zero [NYDN]