Gov. candidates differ on mosque near 9/11 site
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
August 19, 2010 12:00 AM | 4457 views | 22 22 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Georgia's two gubernatorial candidates have taken differing stances on the national controversy over building a mosque in Lower Manhattan, close to where Islamic terrorists murdered thousands on Sept. 11, 2001.

Democratic candidate Roy Barnes said he opposes a mosque at the site.

"I believe the 9/11 site is hallowed ground and it is too painful and divisive to build a mosque there," Barnes said.

The Journal also asked Republican candidate Nathan Deal if he thought a mosque should be built near ground zero. Deal said Wednesday it wasn't his place to say.

"As governor, I don't want New Yorkers telling Georgians what to do with our land. I'll return the favor by staying out of their business," Deal said in an e-mail.

The proposed $100 million, 13-story mosque and Islamic center, which would be located two blocks from where the World Trade Center stood, has set off an uproar.

President Barack Obama has said Muslims have the right to build the mosque.

In the race for Georgia's junior senator, Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson of east Cobb sided with Barnes.

"I believe it is insensitive and inappropriate to build a mosque near the ground zero site," Isakson said.

Isakson's Democratic opponent, Michael Thurmond, did not respond to the question despite repeated phone calls and e-mails. Neither did U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-South Cobb), who is being challenged by Republican Mike Crane, a construction company owner.

Crane said the issue is about what is appropriate.

"Congress is legally permitted to vote itself a pay raise, but in our current economic situation, it would be wrong," Crane said. "In the same way, building a mosque near ground zero is not appropriate, decent or honorable. I believe the American people are ready to see their leaders take a stand and do the right thing, not because it is legal or permitted, but because it is the right thing."
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Dawgfan15
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August 20, 2010
After doing some checking, here is Nathan Deal's comment about the mosque...

"Nathan Deal told The Associated Press on Thursday that as 'a potential governor of the state of Georgia' he didn't have a say in what happens in New York.

"I don't think government officials from one place should be telling government officials from someplace else what they ought to be doing," the Republican from Gainesville said.

"But as an American, I am absolutely opposed," Deal said. He called construction of the mosque two blocks from where The World Trade Center once stood "an insult."

"It keeps the wounds of 9-11 alive," Deal said.

disappointed again
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August 20, 2010
I am disappointed that Nathan Deal seems to be unable to take a stand on an important national issue. I agree it could cost him the election, especially if it is close. I had imagined that he would be a man of strong values and would stand up, not just just Georgia, but for his country. The stupidity of seeing this as "a New York" issue is beyond anything I expected to hear from Mr. Deal. Hope he and his handlers have enough sense to recognize the blunder and do something about it.
Dawgfan15
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August 20, 2010
So if we tell the Muslims they can't build the mosque because it is 2 1/2 blocks from where the Trade Center was, are we then going to go back and tell anyone of Japanese decent they must move off the island of Hawaii since the Japanese attacked us there? I don't think it is right for us to generalize that everyone of a particular group is a sample of the entire group’s line of beliefs and thinking. If so, then Timothy McVeigh (American born) is a sample of all Americans and we all want to destroy our government and we don't care who is a casualty. Lastly, I believe Georgia has more pressing concerns right now than whether or not the mosque should be built in New York. Leave the decision on that to those with a little more knowledge on the subject. I'd rather hear how education is going to be improved and jobs created.
THEHUB
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August 20, 2010
4 Years of King Roy was enough. I don't think GA can stand anymore regardless of his stand on this issue.
fallguyx
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August 19, 2010
Any one who says they will not vote for Deal due to his statement on the mosque are realy out of touch. It is not our place in Ga. to tell New Yorkers what to do. They have been coming down here for years and saying that is not how we do it up North and I have heard many a reply well go back up North and do it that way. So now is our chance to prove we can do as we say. Lets stick to Ga. problems not those of N.Y. I am sure those tough New Yorkers can handle it. All I can say is we must shut the Barn door and make a good Deal for Ga.. Deal for Gov. U.S.A.F Ret.
To "ntheno"
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August 19, 2010
Why would you not vote for Nathan Deal because he does not weigh in on a matter that we have no say in? NO COMMENT is not condoning the action or speaking against it.
MarkRH
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August 19, 2010
Here’s a better and more relevant question:

Would either candidate publically support or refute the right for Muslims to build that same building in downtown Atlanta if it was approved by the various building commissions, but if a majority of Atlantans were against its construction?

Joe Shmo
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August 19, 2010
Who cares what Georgia's two gubernatorial candidates think about what is going in New York State. Why don't we spend time asking them about issues that Georgia faces? I can't for the article about how they feel about Farve's return to the Vikings!!!
NtheNo
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August 19, 2010
Mr. Deal....you just lost my vote.
mk5matt2009
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August 19, 2010
Shouldn't our politicians worry about Georgia??? I am glad that a building 1,000 miles away takes precedence over the issues Georgia is currently facing.
Heaventree
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August 19, 2010
Here's how "hallowed" and "sacred" that area is--between the site of the abhorred proposed mosque and Ground Zero, there are, among other things: a strip bar, two off-track betting parlors, and a tattoo-n-piercing joint. Truly, holy ground.
Connie Mack Jr
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August 19, 2010
No doubt Roy and Johnny have forgot the constitutional part about freedom of Religion as a American Family Value. However the Good News is that 1/2 Governor Sara Palin will oppose any Catholic Church being build next to a Boy's School Playground,,,,,Don't you just love Religious Wars in the 21 st century?
Majority Rules
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August 19, 2010
The vast majority of Americans believe building the mosque at the 9/11 site is an affront to the memory of the citizens who gave their lives there. So of course the politically expedient thing to say is -- building the mosque would be wrong. But saying it is wrong doesn't make it wrong. And our history is replete with examples of the majority not getting it right, at least not on the first call. But only a politician of incredible courage would be willing to say that out loud. The really sad thing is it is obvious that we now have so few of those.
Freedom Lover
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August 19, 2010
Is it impossible to recognize the "right" all Americans have to religious freedom and at the same time oppose a mosque near ground zero? While I expect most Americans are repulsed by the thought of a new mosque near this sacred site, I hope they love our liberties, provided by the Constitution, more than what makes them feel uncomfortable.
Iceman1239
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August 19, 2010
I think allowing a Mosque near ground zero would send a message to the world that America truly is the Land of The Free. Those people who took down the towers are not Muslim, they just use fear and religion to promote their own agenda of hate. Our biggest allies in the war against terror are the true Muslim people who are tired of being ruled by fear and want to overthrow their oppresive governments in places like Iran. Let's send a message to the people of Iran, that freedom does work. Let's make them believe, and the current Iran government will get overthrown. Maybe not this year, but it will happen.
Robyn in Atlanta
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August 19, 2010
Yes, the American people are ready to see their leaders take a stand and do the right thing. And the right thing for our leaders to do is to uphold our Constitution. PERIOD.
A Taxpayer
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August 19, 2010
Muslims have all the freedom this country can offer to them, even if they want to use it to worship a god that tells them to kill everyone who doesn't believe as they do. But freedom of religion is limited in this country, as free speech is also limited - you are free to enjoy the liberty as long as it's not harming anybody else. For these Muslims to brazenly and blatantly sponsor the building of their worship hall just two blocks from the site of the worst Muslim mass-murder of "infidels" ever committed on U.S. soil, is not only harmful emotionally to the families of those who lost loved ones on 9/11, it's a slap in the face to every American. That's where the line is drawn.
L-boogie
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August 19, 2010
They are both opportunistic hypocrites.

Obama is in S. Georgia = I will stay away from him, since I have 'Georgia priorties'.

Mosque in NYC = I will not answer the question, since it is in NYC soil, not Georgia's.

They talk about Georgia, but what about the "American" concern. Is Georgia part of the United States, too? Or are we just interested in free enterprise, no matter what country it is.

Bunch of hypocrites.
itstime
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August 19, 2010
Chris in Atlanta, get a grip!!! This is not about freedom of religion, it is about the American people having a right to specify some "sacred" areas as not available for desecration. The area around the Trade Centers is not just any area but an area where 3000 people died at the hands of some radical Muslims. But yet, you don't seem to care that we want to keep this ground sacred. I think you are confused or a Barry lover or both.
samb
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August 19, 2010
Why is a mosque near the 911 site an issue in the GEORGIA governors election??

Is this mosque "Too close to Georgia"?

Citizens of Georgia, please dont be tools of Roy Barnes and make any voting decision based on this kind of electioneering.......PLEASE.

I might have voted for Barnes, but since he's trying to manipulate the "dumb tool" vote, I'll now vote for the other candidate.

Also, I would advise right thinking Georgians to vote AGAINST Isaacson in the Senate Race.......Do Not Forget.....Isaacson voted FOR the BAILOUT.
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