Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich appeared last night on Greta Van Susteren’s show, elaborating on his opposition to the building of a Muslim community center near Ground Zero in New York City. During his appearance, Gingrich ended up making it clear that he doesn’t oppose mosques in all of New York — just in this particular spot.
“You know, there are over a hundred mosques in New York City. I favor religious freedom,” said Gingrich. “I’m quite happy if they’d come in and said, ‘We want to build a community center near Central Park, we’d like to build a community center near Columbia University.’ But they didn’t. They said right at the edge of a place where, let’s be clear, thousands of Americans were killed in an attack by radical Islamists.”
Gingrich wrote last week, opposing the center: “There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.”
His latest remarks here do show some flexibility, however, and some clarification into the matter of what Matt Yglesias has called the “mosque exclusion zone.”