Former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean says the Muslim community center and mosque being planned near the World Trade Center site is an “affront” to people who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks, and the center should be moved elsewhere.
In an interview with WABC’s David Goodman Wednesday, Dean said moving the mosque to another site would be “a better idea.”
Dean said, “This isn’t about the right of Muslims to have a worship center — or Jews or Christians or anybody else — to have a place to worship, or any place around Ground Zero. This is something we ought to be able to work out with people of good faith. And we have to understand that it is a real affront to people who’ve lost their lives, including Muslims. That site doesn’t belong to any particular religion, it belongs to all Americans and all faiths.”
Dean added that he believed “a good, reasonable compromise could be worked out” that would see the mosque moved “without violating the principle that people ought to be able to worship as they see fit.”
Dean’s comments may surprise some observers, given that many Democratic politicians considered to be more moderate than Dean — such as President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — have voiced support for the project.
But Dean appears to be siding with a majority of Americans on the issue. Recent polls have shown that nearly seven in 10 Americans oppose the construction of Cordoba House, as the Muslim community center will be known. Among New Yorkers, polls suggest more than half oppose the mosque.
Interestingly, support for the mosque is highest in Manhattan, where the mosque will be located. It’s the only New York borough where more than half of those polled supported the development.
The following audio was broadcast on WABC’s Goodman To Go, August 18, 2010.