Faith leaders support ‘Ground Zero mosque’

More than 40 Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders say they are “deeply troubled” by the opposition to a proposed Islamic community center and mosque located two blocks from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.

The statement singles out remarks made by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin in the divisive debate over the planned Cordoba House project.

“We are deeply troubled by the xenophobia and religious bigotry that has characterized some of the opposition,” the statement said.

Gingrich, a Catholic, has “cast this debate in a way that demonizes all Muslims and exploits fear to divide Americans,” the statement said. Palin, an evangelical Christian, is criticized for calling the center a “provocation.”

Catholic leaders signing the statement include: Sr. Mary Waskowiak, president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas; Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby; Sr. Marlene Weisenbeck, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious; David Robinson, executive director of Pax Christi USA; Marie Dennis, director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns and co-president of Pax Christi International; and Jesuit Fr. T. Michael McNulty, the justice and peace director for the Conference of Major Superiors of Men.

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