American taxpayers will pay the imam behind plans for a mosque near the Manhattan site of the Sept. 11 attacks $3,000 in fees for a three-nation outreach trip to the Middle East that will cost roughly $16,000, the State Department said Wednesday.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday said: "There is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some. And I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded."
News item: "COLUMBUS, Ohio-- Despite criticism from Republicans and others, President Barack Obama said Wednesday he has 'no regrets' over the comments he made about the right of Muslims to build an Islamic center near the former site of the World Trade Center in New York."
In alluding to "Non, je ne regrette rien" ("No, I regret nothing"), the French song famously performed by the great Édith Piaf, is President Obama subtly indicating that the battle for the mosque is over?
In a radio interview posted on YouTube, former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential primary contender Howard Dean says that the Ground Zero mosque is "a real affront to people who lost their lives, including Muslims" on 9/11. Dean says, "I think another site would be a better idea."
"Islam is really back in the 12th century in some of these countries like Iran and Afghanistan where they're stoning people to death," Dean says, adding that the problem of radicals can be fixed by promoting moderate Islam in the U.S. Dean cites the group pushing for the Ground Zero mosque as one such moderate Islamic group.
Opponents of the Ground Zero mosque have tried to use analogies to show that their opposition to the mosque is not rooted in anti-Muslim bigotry. For example, a Japanese cultural center at Pearl Harbor would be provocative and insensitive, even though many Japanese Americans fought and died in World War II.
Nancy Pelosi yesterday: "There is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some. And I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded."
Follow-up: Speaker Pelosi announces that she is reviving the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), abolished in 1975. Hearings on the Opposition to the Mosque, featuring inquiries, under oath, as to whether witnesses are now or have ever been members of the American Anti-Mosque Party, will begin when the House reconvenes in September.
Philadelphia Pennsylvania Democratic congressman and Senate candidate Joe Sestak said this morning that he supports the constitutional right to build the Ground Zero mosque but declined to say whether it's insensitive to 9/11 families.
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.