Bill McCollum joins critics of President Obama, who said yesterday that, for religious freedom reasons, he supports the right of those wanting to build a mosque near Ground Zero.
"The president of the United States giving credibility to this or even offering some semblance of support to building a mosque that this imam (Feisal Abdul Rauf) is behind is an insult to the people – the families of the people – who died there on Sept. 11. We are still at war."
McCollum stressed a distinction between "radical" Muslims and conventional Muslims, and said that he would not have a problem with a mosque farther away. But couldn't that still turn off regular Muslims? "You cannot defeat the enemy with just turning the cheek," McCollum said. "I think Ronald Reagan showed that: peace through strength."
Meanwhile, other Florida politicians weighed in. Democrats Alex Sink and Jeff Greene said they opposed Obama. "It is my personal opinion that the wishes of the 9/11 victims’ families and friends must be respected," Sink said. "They are opposed to this project and I share their view.”
But Gov. Charlie Crist, running for Senate as an independent, said he shared Obama's view. “I know there are sensitivities and I understand them,” he told reporters after meeting with Obama in Panama City about the oil disaster. “This is a place where you’re supposed to be able to practice your religion without the government telling you you can’t.”
-- MARC CAPUTO