>Yesterday evening, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich announced on his website opposition to the Park51 community center -- the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque." According to Gingrich, "There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over."
In May, the Community Board of Lower Manhattan unanimously approved the joint venture between the American Society for Muslim Advancement and the Cordoba Initiative. Contrary to Gingrich's accusation of an "aggressive" Islamic takeover, submitting plans for board approval was an act of good faith. According to Ro Sheffe, one of the board members, "They own the land, and their plans don't have any zoning changes. They came to us for our opinions and to let us know their plans. It was purely voluntary on their part."
Gingrich sees no difference between moderate Muslims devoted to outreach and public understanding and the hijackers who crashed planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. "Those Islamists and their apologists who argue for 'religious toleration' are arrogantly dishonest," he wrote. "They ignore the fact that more than 100 mosques already exist in New York City. Meanwhile, there are no churches or synagogues in all of Saudi Arabia."