New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie warned his fellow Republicans Monday that they may be overreacting to the issues arising from the planned construction of a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center attacks.
Christie said he worries that some Republicans may be painting "all of Islam" with the brush of terrorism amid the swirling controversy about the ground zero-area mosque.
The remarks from Christie, who has emerged as a major figure in the Republican Party since taking office in January, were a striking departure from major GOP players such as Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, Politico noted. Both have voiced adamant opposition to the construction of the proposed Islamic mosque and cultural center two blocks north of the northern perimeter of ground zero.
Both Republicans and Democrats are using the issue as a "political football," Christie said.
Christie, a U.S. attorney in New Jersey before he was elected, framed his answer partly in terms of his past job.
"Given my last position, that I was the first U.S attorney post 9/11 in New Jersey, I understand acutely the pain and sorrow and upset of the family members who lost loved ones that day at the hands of radical Muslim extremists," Christie said. "And their sensitivities and concerns have to be taken into account. Just because it's nearly nine years later, those sensitivities cannot and should not be ignored.
"On the other hand, we cannot paint all of Islam with that brush . . . We have to bring people together. And what offends me the most about all this, is that it's being used as a political football by both parties. And what disturbs me about the president's remarks is that he is now using it as a political football as well. I think the president of the United States should rise above that. And should not be using this as a political football, and I don't believe that it would be responsible of me to get involved and comment on this any further because it just put me in the same political arena as all of them."
Read the entire story at Politico.
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