August 23rd, 2010 | by HANK STERN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics

Sen. Jeff Merkley's Take On Mosque/Community Center Near Ground Zero

Jeff Merkley

The op-ed piece in this morning's Oregonian by U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on the mosque and Muslim community center that's been proposed near Ground Zero makes for a thought-provoking read.

Merkley writes
I appreciate the depth of emotions at play, but respectfully suggest that the presence of a mosque is only inappropriate near ground zero if we unfairly associate Muslim Americans with the atrocities of the foreign al-Qaida terrorists who attacked our nation.

And the senator also writes
Some have also argued that the construction of the mosque would hand a propaganda victory to Osama bin Laden. I think the opposite is true. Al-Qaida justifies its murder by painting America as a nation at war with Islam. Celebrating our freedom of religion and Muslim Americans' place in our communities is a blow to al-Qaida's ideology of hate and division. We strengthen America by distinguishing, clearly and unequivocally, between our al-Qaida enemy and our Muslim neighbors.

Merkley's take is already being contrasted with other Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a fellow Democrat who's come out in the middle of his tough re-election against the proposed mosque and Muslim community center.

While Merkley isn't on the ballot again until 2014, his position today remains a courageous one because it's a stance you can be sure is already going into opponents' political files.
 
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