GOP stance towards Islam becomes harsher

The harsh Republican response to President Barack Obama‘s defense of a mosque near ground zero marks a dramatic shift in the party’s posture toward Islam — from a once active courtship of Muslim voters to a very public tolerance after Sept. 11 to an openly aired sense of mistrust.

Republican leaders have largely abandoned former President George W. Bush‘s post-Sept. 11 rhetorical embrace of American Muslims and his insistence — always controversial inside the party — that Islam is a religion of peace. This weekend, former Bush aides were among the very few Republicans siding with Obama, as many of the party’s leaders have moved toward more vocal denunciations of Islam’s role in violence abroad and suspicion of its place at home.

…Republicans have “shifted completely away from the Bush administration line on relations with Islam and they’ve obviously made the political calculation that bashing Islam and Muslims is a winning issue for them,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who blamed the “tea party movement [for] liberating the inner bigot in people.”

So being opposed to a mosque being built where Islamic terrorists killed 3000+ Americans means someone is a bigot?  The fact is building a mosque at Ground Zero is disrespectful to the American people.  It is like spitting in someone’s face or protesting at the funeral of military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Not wanting a mosque built at Ground Zero does not make one a bigot.

Glad to see some possible GOP presidential candidates are voicing their opposition instead of remaining silent in what could be considered a “culture” war.

The GOP’s likely presidential candidates drew a spectrum of shades of opposition but not a single one sided with Bloomberg in backing the mosque on the grounds of private property and religious freedom.

“Ground zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts,” wrote Palin on July 18, calling on “peaceful Muslims” to “refudiate” it.

“There should be no mosque near ground zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia,” wrote former House Speaker Newt Gingrich a day later.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, though he represents a relatively heavily Muslim state, rebuffed pleas from local Muslim leaders to back off his suggestion that the mosque would “degrade and disrespect” the Trade Center site. A spokesman for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney cited both “the wishes of the families of the deceased and the potential for extremists to use the mosque for global recruiting and propaganda” in opposing it.

But it was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee who seemed to fit the issue most clearly into a recognizable political category of culture war.

“Is it just that we can offend Americans and Christians, but not foreigners and Muslims?” he asked. (Source: Politico)

Excellent question by Governor Huckabee.  Wonder if President Obama or CAIR will provide a straight answer to it.

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