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Why No Support for Ground Zero Church from Giannoulias?

Will the Illinois Democratic Senate help a father out?

2:01 PM, Aug 18, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Illinois Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias made waves earlier this week when he announced his support for the Ground Zero Mosque. Giannoulias’s support for the mosque isn’t particularly surprising; he’s far behind his Republican opponent, Mark Kirk, in the money race and can’t afford to alienate the White House, or risk no more presidential fundraising trips. 

Why No Support for Ground Zero Church from Giannoulias?

The people who should be surprised are Giannoulias’s Greek supporters, particularly those who call New York City home. You see, as Fox News reported today, the only house of worship that was actually destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks was a Greek Orthodox church, Saint Nicholas. And while the mosque cleared city red tape earlier this month, Port Authority officials have been dragging their feet for years on rebuilding Saint Nicholas.

“We have people that are saying, why isn’t our church being rebuilt and why is there ... such concern for people of the mosque?” Father Alex Karloutsos, assistant to the archbishop, told He said religious freedom would allow a place of worship for any denomination to be built, but accused officials with the Port Authority of making no effort to help move his congregation’s project along.

Unfortunately, they have just been silent -- dead silent, actually, said Karloutsos, whose father was ordained at Saint Nicholas. They just simply forgot about the church.

Giannoulias, for his part, could have easily avoided this oversight: He knows Father Karloutsos well.

In February of 2008, at Father Karloutsos’s request, Giannoulias’s political director, Endy Zemenides, used his clout with the University of Illinois to help a Greek American student whose family knew Karloutsos gain admission through a secret, political insiders only, admissions process after she had been waitlisted.  Four months later, Karloutsos helped Giannoulias with a fundraiser that netted at least $120,000 for Giannoulias campaign fund.

Some free advice for Alexi Giannoulias: Call your fundraiser, you and he have some issues to discuss.

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