ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Though the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero prompted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, among other White House allies, to break with President Obama, some New York Democrats are standing behind the president.
Adam Clayton Powell IV, who’s challenging Rep. Charlie Rangel in the Democratic primary for his Harlem-based House district, said on ABC/Washington Post’s “Top Line” today that opposition to the building of the center “is akin to racial profiling.”
“The fact is, I completely agree with President Barack Obama,” Powell told us. “We live in a nation where we cherish our religious freedoms. We should not paintbrush all Muslims for the acts of just a handful on Sept. 11.
“The fact is that this is akin to the racial profiling that has taken place at airports for Muslims, and it's very -- you know, it's very sensitive, and it's truly insulting because again, they're just trying to worship their religion, much like Christians do, Jewish communities do. If it were a synagogue or church, nobody would be complaining, and I don't think this is a fair issue. Imagine if you were Muslim. How would you feel about it?”
Asked why Democrats aren’t in agreement that the mosque should go forward, Powell said:
“This is not a big issue. Well, it wasn't, anyway -- now, obviously, it's becoming a bigger issue. But it's a very simple issue. In New York, everyone agree[s] -- everyone in government and leadership, the zoning board. There is no reason why this mosque should not … be entitled to be built there. I mean, the fact is, again, we're making the connection between the Muslim religion and the 9/11 attacks. That's a very, dangerous, dangerous slippery slope. We should not make that connection.”