Andrew Cuomo, New York’s Attorney General and Democratic candidate for governor, was blindsided Monday when his running mate Bob Duffy came out in opposition of the Ground Zero mosque. Rochester Mayor Duffy, who was picked by Cuomo for the lieutenant governor slot on his ticket, said that “the best resolution” to the emotional controversy is to make a “different decision” than building a mosque on the hallowed grounds of the 9/11 terrorist attack. The split in a major Democratic political ticket shows the bipartisan public outrage over the Ground Zero mosque could have an impact on the 2010 elections.
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“I think one of the best outcomes would be if those who were looking to build it, perhaps out of respect, would choose to build somewhere else, so as not to take away from some of the emotional feelings – especially families have- of those who perished,” Duffy said on Capital Tonight TV.
“If I were to build something that had a terrible gut emotional reaction to people, I would take a step back and perhaps, out of respect, look at my plans and say: ‘Could we do something different here?’”
The top of the Democratic gubernatorial ticket, Andrew Cuomo, supports the Ground Zero Mosque. “I agree with mayor Bloomberg on the mosque. I agree with the with the community board that approved the site of the mosque,” Cuomo said at a press conference in July.
“It could offend some people’s sensitivities to have this mosque where it’s located” said Cuomo. “It could offend some people to have this religion memorialized and a monument to this religion, but this nation is about religious freedom. Period.” (Cuomo does not mention that there are currently over 100 mosques in New York City where Muslims have the freedom to worship.)
Rick Lazio, the Republican and Conservative parties’ candidate for governor, views the split in the Democrat ticket between Cuomo and Duffy as indicative of the public’s outrage on the mosque.
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“Andrew Cuomo’s position is so far out of touch with the people of New York, it appears his running mate Bob Duffy had to pull away from him,” Lazio’s Communications Director David James tells HUMAN EVENTS.
Cuomo’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment on Duffy.
Also, the American Defamation League (ADL) came out against the Ground Zero Mosque because it “is counterproductive to the healing process.” The liberal ADL activists stated that “we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found.”
Contradicting Cuomo’s freedom of religion argument, the ADL stated that “ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right.”
“Building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right,” the ADL poignantly stated.
Along with Duffy, opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque includes Sen. Joe Lieberman, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former New York Governor George Pataki.
As Attorney General, Cuomo is responsible for oversight of the state’s charitable organizations. Lazio called on Cuomo to investigative Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s so-called “Cordoba Initiative” which is funding the $100 million mosque and Islamic visitor center. Cuomo has not looked into the questionable funding of the group, saying that there was no “criminal case” to investigate.
(Cordoba is a reference to the Great Mosque in Cordoba, Spain which conquering Muslims built after tearing down the Catholic Church on the site. In an apparent attempt to win over public support, the Imam has recently changed the name of the site for the Ground Zero Mosque from the “Cordoba Mosque” to “Park 51”.)
Polls show that New Yorkers are against the Ground Zero Mosque. A recent Rasmussen poll shows that only 20% of likely voters are in favor of building a mosque near the 9/11 Ground Zero site. The majority of New Yorkers — 58% — oppose building the mosque and 21% are not sure.