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Illinois Senate Candidates Split on Ground Zero Mosque

2:59 PM, Aug 17, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Illinois Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias split with Senate majority leader Harry Reid and the majority of Americans in favor of Barack Obama's position on the proposed Ground Zero mosque. Here's the AP

Democratic Illinois Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias says he supports building a mosque near the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City.

Giannoulias said Tuesday during a visit to the Illinois State Fair in Springfield that Americans must stand up for freedom of religion even when it's difficult.

Mark Kirk, Giannoulias's Republican opponent, thinks a "less controversial site" would be more appropriate for the project, according to Kirk campaign spokesman Kirsten Kukowski. Here's Kukowski's full statement: 

While we protect freedom of religion, Congressman Kirk agrees with the Anti- Defamation League that sitting this mosque near ground zero causes undue pain to families of the 9/11 victims. There are legitimate calls for
more transparency on the source of the estimated $100 million Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf will raise from here and abroad to build the mosque. In the end, Rauf should accept New York Governor Patterson's offer of a convenient but less controversial site.

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