At least two prominent Republicans are going against the bulk of their party to say that Muslims have every right to build an Islamic cultural center
August 16, 2010

At least two prominent Republicans are going against the bulk of their party to say that Muslims have every right to build an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero.

Monday Morning, Conservative MSNBC host Joe Scarborough found himself agreeing with former Bush advisor Mark MicKinnon that Muslims have a right to build the controversial mosque.

"When I was in Congress in 1994, when I got elected in '94, I was considered to be one of the more conservative guys up there," Scarborough began.

"I am feeling further and further distant from the people who are running my party," he said.

Scarborough pointed to comments where Newt Gingrich accused President Barack Obama of pandering to Muslims. The president had spoken out Friday in favor of Muslims' right to build the mosque.

"Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington," Gingrich said on Fox News Monday. "We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There is no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center," he said.

Reflecting on Gingrich's comments, Scarborough didn't know where to begin. "To suggest that someone trying to build a -- a tolerant center for moderate Muslims in New York is the equivalent of killing six million Jews is stunning to me," he said.

"It's stunning and it is so contrary to our country's principle and the Republican party," agreed McKinnon.

"I'm glad to see we're together on this and unfortunately I think we may get our membership revoked at the Pachyderm Club," said McKinnon.

"Screw 'em," interrupted Scarborough.

"I agree," said McKinnon.

A poll taken by Fox News Aug. 10 - Aug. 11 found that 64 percent of respondents thought it would be wrong to build a mosque near Ground Zero.

President Barack Obama seemed to pit himself against public opinion Friday when he said that Muslims have a right to choose where they worship.

But let me be clear: as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.

But on Saturday, the president clarified that he wasn't saying that building the Islamic Center was necessarily a good idea.

"My intention was simply to let people know what I thought, which was that in this country, we treat everybody equally and in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion," the President said during a visit to the Gulf Coast yesterday.

"I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there," Obama said. "I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That's what our country is about."

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