Orrin Hatch Splits With GOP On “Ground Zero Mosque”
The senior Senator from Utah is taking what is probably a minority position among Republicans:
Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah) this week became one of the most prominent members of his party to voice his support for the Lower Manhattan mosque.
In a local television interview over the weekend, Hatch said developers have the right to build the proposed Park51 Islamic center, which includes a mosque, two blocks from the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“If the Muslims own that property — that private property and they want to build a Mosque there, they should have the right to do so,” said Hatch, who is a Mormon. “The only question is, are they being insensitive to those who suffered the loss of loved ones? We know there are Muslims killed on 9/11, too, and we know it’s a great religion.”
The Utah senator acknowledged that public opinion is against building the Islamic center, but he said that should not play a role in the final decision.
“That should not make the difference if they decide to do it,” he said, adding that, “I’d be the first” to defend its construction.