Here are some of the positive statements that have been made recently in support of the Park51 project:

Michael Gerson, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush – “A president not only serves Muslim citizens, not only commands Muslims in the American military, but leads a coalition that includes Iraqi & Afghan Muslims who risk death each day fighting Islamic radicalism at our side. How could he possibly tell them that their place of worship inherently symbolizes the triumph of terror? [Politico, bit.ly/c02vQK, 8/18/10]

Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City – “We must do what is right, not what is easy. And we must put our faith in the freedoms that have sustained our great country for more than 200 years…there is no middle ground when it comes to religious liberty, calling the plan to erect the mosque a litmus test for upholding “American values.” There are people of every faith — including, perhaps, some in this room — who are hoping that a compromise will end the debate,” he said. “But it won’t…. “If we say that a mosque and community center should not be built near the perimeter of the World Trade Center site . . . we would undercut the values and principles that so many heroes died protecting. We would send a signal around the world that Muslim-Americans may be equal in the eyes of the law, but separate in the eyes of their countrymen…let me declare that we in New York are Jews and Christians and Muslims, and we always have been. And above all of that, we are Americans, each with an equal right to worship and pray where we choose. There is nowhere in the five boroughs that is off limits to any religion.” [New York Post, http://bit.ly/dvn4kW, 8/25/10]

Major General Paul Eaton, US Army (Ret) harshly criticized efforts to block the building of a mosque in lower Manhattan, contending such a position is unconstitutional and could harm U.S. relations overseas. “What we are seeing out of the Republican Party here is just appalling. From a constitutional perspective, from a common sense perspective and from a military perspective.” Eaton added, “This is an extreme right-wing backlash to what we stand for: freedom to practice religion of your choice….It is a slap in the face to a great many people we wish to have as allies. We are trying to make allies of our colleagues in Iraq and Afghanistan and this is not helpful.” He also added, “This is unhelpful to the American fighting men and women and counter to the image we wish to portray in Afghanistan and Iraq.” [Media Matters, http://bit.ly/bYYvZD, 8/16/10]

Matthew Alexander, Former senior military interrogator who led the interrogations that found Zarqawi and author of How to Break a Terrorist – “The political uproar over the Cordoba project, and in particular the use of harmful, bigoted rhetoric by some opportunists, leaves America facing a choice. It can project one of two symbols: One of integration, acceptance and positive affirmation of American values; or one of intolerance, rejection, and animosity. The former will work to undermine al Qaeda as part of a long-term strategy to defeat them. The latter will bolster Islamic extremists’ arguments that America is an intolerant country hell-bent on war with Islam, aid recruitment efforts and add support for more terrorist attacks. [http://huff.to/cigoA8, 8/20/10]

Ali Soufanreputed to be FBI’s most skillful interrogator after the Sept 11 attacks - asserted that building a Mosque near Ground Zero helps al-Qaeda. “There are many reasons for supporting the Muslim community’s right to build a cultural center and mosque on private property, not least of all the First Amendment of the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion, but from a national security perspective, our leaders need to understand that no one is likely to be happier with the opposition to building a mosque than Osama Bin Laden. His next video script has just written itself…“When demagogues appear to be equating Islam with terrorism, it’s making young Muslims unsure about their place in the country,” he wrote. “It bolsters the message that radicalizers are selling: That the war is against Islam, and Muslims are not welcome in America….” [Washington Post, http://bit.ly/8XkW4b, 8/18/10]

Joe Scarborough, former Republican Congressman from Florida & Mark McKinnon, former Bush advisor – commenting on Newt Gingrich’s Mosque statements. “This is madness, there are elements of our party marching through fevered swamps of ideology” This sends a horrific statement across the world.” [ http://huff.to/dfViR9] “When I was in Congress in 1994, when I got elected in ’94, I was considered to be one of the more conservative guys up there,” Scarborough said. “I am feeling further and further distant from the people who are running my party.” For [Gingrich] “to suggest that someone trying to build a — a tolerant center for moderate Muslims in New York is the equivalent of killing six million Jews is stunning to me. It’s stunning and it is so contrary to our country’s principle and the Republican party.” Former Bush advisor Mark McKinnon agreed, then added, “I’m glad to see we’re together on this and unfortunately I think we may get our membership revoked at the Pachyderm Club.” “Screw ‘em,” interrupted Scarborough. [‘Screw’ GOP if I’m booted for defending mosque, MSNBC, http://is.gd/ekShD, 8/16/10]

Ted Olson, the Bush administration’s Solicitor General and 9/11 widower – “…we don’t want to turn an act of hate against us by extremists into an act of intolerance for people of religious faith. And I don’t think it should be a political issue. It shouldn’t be a Republican or Democrat issue either. I believe Governor Christie from New Jersey said it as well, that this should not be in that political partisan marketplace.” [Politico, http://politi.co/a9IVWI, 8/18/10 ]

Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations and former Director Policy Planning in the Bush administration’s State Department – “The anti-American aspect of this — this has now become an international issue. One of the great ironies is the people doing this mosque, this community center, want to develop an American version of Islam that competes around the world with the Wahhabi — with the Saudi intolerant version of Islam. So this issue now is being watched around the world to prove or to see whether Muslims in America have rights, have opportunities that Muslims in lots of other countries don’t. So this has actually become an important aspect of our battle for the hearts and minds.” [Media Matters, http://bit.ly/cNmyf0, 8/16/10]

Lawrence Wilkerson, Retired Army colonel and Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell in the Bush administration – “It is like offering your opponent two or three whips with which to beat you… The impact on our military people would be injurious if we say ‘no.’ It would put another instrument in the hands of those who want to exploit the fear that Americans are at war with Islam and not the radical elements within it.” [Media Matters, http://bit.ly/bYYvZD, 8/16/10]

Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek writer and CNN host Returns Anti-Defamation League Award Over Ground Zero Mosque – “Given the position that they have taken on a core issue of religious freedom in America, I cannot in good conscience keep that award.” “If there is going to be a reformist movement in Islam, it is going to emerge from places like the proposed institute. We should be encouraging groups like the one behind this project, not demonizing them…The man behind the proposed Ground Zero Islamic community center, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, “has spent years trying to offer a liberal interpretation of Islam” and “argues that America is actually what an ideal Islamic society would look like because is it peaceful, tolerant and pluralistic. “His vision for Islam, in other words, is Osama Bin Laden’s nightmare.” [CNN show video http://huff.to/ckyy2T, 8/6/10]

GOP Gov. Chris Christie (NJ), a rising star in the republican party, said that Obama and some members of the GOP are “playing politics with this issue, and I simply am not going to do it.” “We have to bring people together,” Christie added. “And what offends me the most about all this is that it’s being used as a political football by both parties.” [Washington Post, http://bit.ly/cIKWRz, 8/18/10]

Grover Norquist, conservative activist, who worked with George W. Bush & Karl Rove, warned that, “The support for criticizing a mosque is half a mile wide and an inch deep… And at the end of the process, the only people who will remember it are the people who feel threatened by this — not just Muslims, but Sikhs, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Mormons.” [Washington Post, http://bit.ly/cIKWRz, 8/18/10]

Ed Gillespie, former Republican National Committee chairman –Gillespie warned that voters could conclude that Republicans who oppose the New York mosque are taking a stand against Islam in general. “It’s very important that, as Republicans talk about this issue, we be thoughtful and careful about making those distinctions,” he said. [Washington Post, http://bit.ly/cIKWRz, 8/18/2010]

Chris Gibson, a Republican running against a House incumbent in upstate New York – “As it relates to religious buildings in the vicinity of ground zero, it’s either all or nothing — churches, synagogues and mosques should be treated the same.” [Chris Gibson, Facebook page]

Muslim and Arab Republicans Take Issue With G.O.P. on Mosque, six signers include officials from both the Reagan and George W. Bush Administrations – ‘We are deeply concerned by the rhetoric of some leading members of our party surrounding the construction of the Muslim Community Center in downtown Manhattan. These comments are not only constitutionally unsound, they are also alienating millions of Arab American and Muslim American voters who believe, as we do, in the principles of our party – individual liberty, traditional values, and the rule of law. As you know, our party has had a long history of inclusion – beginning with our great President Abraham Lincoln, whose leadership on the slavery issue was monumental, and continuing through President George W. Bush whose public statements and actions on the differentiation between Islam and the terrorists who attacked us on 9-11 were critically important…In expressing compassion and understanding for these families, we are asking ourselves the following: if two blocks is too close, is four blocks acceptable? or six blocks? or eight blocks? Does our party believe that one can only practice his/her religion in certain places within defined boundaries and away from the disapproving glances of some citizens? Should our party not be standing up and taking a leadership role– just like President Bush did after 9-11 – by making a clear distinction between Islam, one of the great three monotheistic faiths along with Judaism and Christianity, versus the terrorists who committed the atrocities on 9-11 and who are not only the true enemies of America but of Islam as well? President Bush struck the right balance in expressing sympathy for the families of the 9-11 victims while making it absolutely clear that the acts committed on 9-11 were not in the name of Islam.” [New York Times, http://nyti.ms/c1KGRz, 8/17/10]