Alexi Jumps Into Ground Zero Mosque Fray - NBC Chicago
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Alexi Jumps Into Ground Zero Mosque Fray



    Alexi Jumps Into Ground Zero Mosque Fray
    Jack Higgins

    We wouldn't be surprised if Mark Kirk was poppin' a bottle somewhere this morning, because Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias has handed his GOP oppenent a divisive issue to ride all the way to November.

    During a visit to the Illinois State Fair in Springfield Tuesday, Giannoulias said he supports building a mosque close to the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City.

    The Democratic candidate said Americans must stand up for freedom of religion even when it's difficult, and that he sympathizes with those who lost loved ones in the attacks. He also pointed out that the victims included Muslims and that some emergency personnel at the disaster were Muslim.

    "Are we going to talk about tolerance, talk about freedom of religion or are we actually going to practice it?" Giannoulias said, also pointing out that the world is watching how America responds to the situation.

    Kirk, meanwhile, said he thinks placing the mosque near Ground Zero causes "undue pain" to victims' families and said it should be built at a "less controversial site."

    President Barack Obama has been under fire from Republicans for publicly stating that he supported the right for Muslims to build the Islamic center.