Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed by party and in alphabetical order by last name. Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Is it appropriate to build a Muslim community center (aka “Ground Zero Mosque”) near the World Trade Center site?
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, issued the following statement through his Communications Director, Joe Hunter, in a Feb. 10, 2012 email to ProCon.org:
"It is appropriate that property rights and local control be respected. My opinion as to who builds what and where they build it is a matter of taste that should not be imposed on anyone’s rights." Feb. 10, 2012 Gary Johnson
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, was quoted as having said the following in an Aug. 14, 2010 article by Ryan Creed titled "President Obama Supports Building of Mosque Near Ground Zero," posted on the ABC News website:
"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable." Apr. 14, 2010 Barack Obama
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following through his spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom, as quoted in an article by Ben Smith titled "2012ers on the Mosque," posted on www.politico.com on Aug. 10, 2010:
"Governor Romney opposes the construction of the mosque at Ground Zero. The wishes of the families of the deceased and the potential for extremists to use the mosque for global recruiting and propaganda compel rejection of this site." Aug. 10, 2010 Mitt Romney
Herman Cain, Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and Chairman of Godfathers Pizza, stated the following during a July 17, 2011 private campaign event speech in Bethesda, MD:
"We have separation of church and state. Islam combines church and state, with what they call sharia law. This is why I've been making the statement when asked about putting Muslims in my administration. I said, no, I'm not comfortable with that off the bat. That's not discrimination. That's just being cautious, because there are incidents around this country, like the attempt to build the mosque in Murfreesboro, like the attempt to build the mosque next to Ground Zero. There are other exceptions all over this country. They use our First Amendment, with the church part, without judges sometimes recognizing that there's another component. And so the bottom line is that I believe in American laws, American courts. In Murfreesboro, I talked to some of the people there. I had a conversation with one of the attorneys who was working on this case. And he said to me they know for a fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is behind the building of that mosque." July 17, 2011 Herman Cain
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, stated the following in an Aug. 16, 2010 article, "Grich Compares NYC Islamic Community Center to 'Nazis' Putting a 'Sign Next to the Holocaust Museum,'" Fox News, available on the Media Matters for American website:
"Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington... [W]e would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There is no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center." Aug. 16, 2010 Newt Gingrich
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated the following in an Aug. 23, 2010 article titled "Angry Ron Paul Defends Ground Zero Mosque," posted on www.newsmax.com:
"The debate should have provided the conservative defenders of property rights with a perfect example of how the right to own property also protects the 1st Amendment rights of assembly and religion by supporting the building of the mosque.
Instead, we hear lip service given to the property rights position while demanding that the need to be 'sensitive' requires an all-out assault on the building of a mosque, several blocks from 'ground zero.'...
The justification to ban the mosque is no more rational than banning a soccer field in the same place because all the suicide bombers loved to play soccer. Conservatives are once again, unfortunately, failing to defend private property rights, a policy we claim to cherish...
Defending the controversial use of property should be no more difficult than defending the 1st Amendment principle of defending controversial speech. But many conservatives and liberals do not want to diminish the hatred for Islam–the driving emotion that keeps us in the wars in the Middle East and Central Asia...
The outcry over the building of the mosque, near ground zero, implies that Islam alone was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. According to those who are condemning the building of the mosque, the nineteen suicide terrorists on 9/11 spoke for all Muslims. This is like blaming all Christians for the wars of aggression and occupation because some Christians supported the neo-conservative's aggressive wars." Aug. 23, 2010 Ron Paul
Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, stated the following as quoted in an Aug. 17, 2010 article by Wayne Slater titled "Obama, Perry, and the Mosque Near Ground Zero," published in the Dallas Morning News:
"To build a mosque near Ground Zero would be insensitive to the victims and families of 9/11 and would make the healing process much more difficult for everyone that was touched by this tragedy... There is a more appropriate site for the mosque to be built than next to where the biggest terror attack on US soil occurred." Aug. 17, 2010 Rick Perry
ProCon.org emailed the Roemer campaign for his position to this question on Oct. 26, 2011. We made a follow up call on Jan. 31, 2012, and we sent a follow up email on Feb. 8, 2012. Although Roemer's campaign manager and policy advisor did reply to our emails, we have not yet received Roemer's position on this issue as of Feb. 14, 2012.
Rick Santorum, former US Senator (R-PA), stated the following in article titled "9/11 Families Blast Obama's Speech Supporting Ground Zero Mosque," posted Newsmax.com on Aug. 14, 2010:
"[President Obama] is ignoring the will of the American public….The [Muslim] community center would desecrate the ground of those who were murdered by people who practice the faith, or at least an element of the faith, that is being represented by that mosque….Islam is not just a religion, it is also a political doctrine." Sep. 14, 2010 Rick Santorum