"I’ve been to Pearl Harbor. I laid a wreath at Pearl Harbor. I’ve been to Auschwitz. I laid a wreath at Auschwitz. I’ve been to Ground Zero, and I laid a wreath there. I do believe that there are special places on Earth that should have a zone of solemnity around them. I would strongly urge those who are thinking of putting a mosque within that zone to rethink their position," he said at the Illinois State Fair, according to the Chicago Sun-Times' Abdon Pallasch.
Asked whether he opposes all development around the site or just the Muslim center and mosque, Quinn brought up a Roman Catholic convent that opened in 1984 at the Auschwitz death camp. It closed in 1993 in response to accusations that it was insensitive to open a Catholic institution at a place where 1.5 million mostly Jewish prisoners were killed.
"I think that kind of decision is appropriate here," Quinn said.
The governor's view is in discord with that of fellow Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, who a day earlier said he supports the building of the mosque on the basis of religious freedom.
But it puts Quinn in near-agreement with his opponent in the upcoming gubernatorial election, Republican Sen. Bill Brady, who on Tuesday called the mosque plan "insensitive" but wouldn't directly say whether he thought it should be built.