July 22nd, 2010
11:40 AM ET
12 years ago

Gingrich criticizes proposed mosque near Ground Zero

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/23/art.ngingrich.gi.jpg caption ="Newt Gingrich on Thursday slammed a proposal to build a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City."] (CNN) - Days after Sarah Palin's criticism of a planned mosque near Ground Zero riled New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is calling the proposed project "a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites."

"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," Gingrich, a potential 2012 presidential candidate writes in a post on his web site Thursday.

"Those Islamists and their apologists who argue for 'religious toleration' are arrogantly dishonest. They ignore the fact that more than 100 mosques already exist in New York City," he adds.

Plans to build the $100 million, 13-story 'Cordoba House' three blocks from the site of the attacks on September 11, 2001 have sparked an emotional debate throughout the city. The developer, Sharif El-Gamal, describes the project as an "Islamic community center" that will include a 500-seat performing arts center, a lecture hall, an exhibition space, a swimming pool, a gym, a culinary school, a restaurant and a prayer space for Muslims.

"'Cordoba House is a deliberately insulting term," writes Gingrich. "It refers to Cordoba, Spain – the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world's third-largest mosque complex."

Palin - the former Republican vice presidential nominee - fueled the debate Sunday, writing on Twitter, "Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts."

Bloomberg, a supporter of the project, expressed his disagreement with Palin earlier this week, saying that "everything the United States stands for and New York stands for is tolerance and openness."

But Gingrich is making clear he's on the exact same page as his potential White House rival.

"We have not been able to rebuild the World Trade Center in nine years," he writes. "Now we are being told a 13 story, $100 million megamosque will be built within a year overlooking the site of the most devastating surprise attack in American history."

"America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization. Sadly, too many of our elites are the willing apologists for those who would destroy them if they could," he also says.

New York's Landmarks Preservation Commission is scheduled to vote in August on whether the 1850s structure on the site of the proposed center should be granted landmark status. Even if the commission approves landmark status, though, that may not necessarily halt construction of the center.

Filed under: 9/11 • Newt Gingrich • Religion
soundoff (209 Responses)
  1. Hugo

    What an insult to the firefighters and people that were killed on 9/11. It equates to the same thing as building a Japanese shrine at Pearl Harbor while still fighting the war in the Pacific. A lot of the posts on here do not consider what putting the mosque at ground zero would equate to for radical Islam, and that would be a victory. In this case, I believe that the damage it would cause to the people of NYC and the benefit as a propaganda tool it would provide to the enemy would not be worth it. Liberals better wake up and figure out that these folks do not want to live in peace with you, the only way the would do that is for you to become a Muslim and live under their religious laws. If you think Newt and Sarah would be a bad pair to govern, try the Taliban or Al Qaeda...Grow up.

    2012 will be a shoe in for a Republican, ANY Repbublican...

    July 22, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. NJ Jim

    Will Gingrich and his republican cronies ever stop being fearmongers and purveyors of gloom, doom and misinformation? The proposed building is not a mosque...it is a cultural center that will house any number of recreational, athletic, theatrical and yes, religious events. And, since when do we make decisions about our culture based on what Saudi Arabia does? And he actually thinks he has a shot at being President of the US...NOT! Go back toGeorgia, Newt, and stay there...quietly, please.

    July 22, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Video Guy

    First they came for the Jews
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the Communists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left
    to speak out for me.

    Martin Niemöller, 1892-1984

    July 22, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. Augsbee

    Bottom line, these people want to build a mosque near ground zero to harrass Americans, make a point. This is not about the mosque helping the neighborhood, the homeless, abused women, run away teenagers, drug addicts, feed the poor, etc... Why not build it in the Bronx, Harlem???????? no, it has to be right next to ground zero.

    July 22, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Crystal

    As a Christian and a native New Yorker, I agree with Mayor Bloomberg. Palin and Newt have no idea what they are talking about nor should their two cents be worth anything. What would they say to the Muslim families who also lost loved ones on that day? It's so shameful that some in this country are so hateful while others only use their big mouths just for personal gain.

    July 22, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Joe

    Poor Newt. Always one step behind Palin.

    July 22, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. ah ha

    One has to wonder if Newt is an American because he sure don't live up to our constitution and bill of rights. We are a mix of all races and religons. To be an American means you are free to believe and live in this country and not to be held to differnt standers because of it. From what i saw on the news is that this place is already there and is a few blocks aways from ground zero and as a person who saw towers fall it saddens me that this nut believes it offends those in NY. but thats for New Yorkers to deside and like many in this country will be for the person and not a has been like you Newt. Maybie it's time we heal and learn that an American is any race and religion and it saddens me that all thess party's(tea baggers or republicans) can do is spread more distrust and hate.

    July 22, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. Cybersport

    I am a Christian, but I thank Go America is not a Christian nation. As usual, bigots are using religion to justify their bigotry

    July 22, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. Realistic

    I feel so sad for any good wanna be politician that was thinking about running for office. Now a days you have to be willing to go the fringe of fanatical thinking to be able to elected. Imagine, a candiate going for some office in NY state and stated the following:

    As the debate continues about the mosque in NYC,2 blocks away from World trade center, I fully understand the feelings of those who are against it. I also understand that people who lost loved ones may feel that the building of the mosque may be adding salt to the wound that will never properly heal. Nevertheless, beyond the politics and rhetoric we are a land of laws. Our laws apply to all equally no matter the race,gender or religion of the person or person or groups, our laws apply to all. My fellow NYorkers, as much as this mosque is unwanted or may bring anger to some, our laws dictate that the mosque can be built without the interference of government agencies or without the prejudice of some. No laws are being broken or have been broken and thus through regulations set forth by state agencies, all paper work has been properly done, filled and licensees have been given to proceed with the building of the mosque. We can not as a nation and as a people begin to undermine what we stand for which is freedom for all, justice for all and above all, tolerance for other peoples believes. people from other nations come here to be able to practice their religion without fear of retribution from government or without interference from government. Other nations may prevent people from living free and practicing their believes and that's what separates us from them.

    I look forward to your support

    And he/she would loose by double digits.

    July 22, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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