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Most New Yorkers want the 'Ground Zero' mosque shifted

Last updated: 31 August, 2010
New York, Aug 31, (PTI): 21:26 IST

A majority of New Yorkers want the developers of the Islamic Centre near the Ground Zero to voluntarily move it away from the controversial site given the ''sensitivities of the 9/11 victims,'' a new poll suggests.

The survey of 1,497 of New York State residents found that 63 per cent of NYC voters wanted the voluntary shift as compared to 76 per cent among upstate voters and 76 per cent among suburban voters.

"Overwhelmingly, across all party and regional lines, New Yorkers say the sponsors ought to voluntarily move the proposed mosque to another location," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Though most New York State voters agreed that Muslims have the freedom of religion guaranteed by the US constitution to build a mosque near Ground Zero, but the majority of voters said sensitivities of 9/11 families superseded the rights.

"The heated, sometimes angry, debate over the proposal to build a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero has New York State voters twisted in knots, with some of them taking contradictory positions depending on how the question is asked," said Carroll.

54 per cent of NY voters agree "that because of American freedom of religion, Muslims have the right to build the mosque near Ground Zero," the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds.

But among the same voters, 53 per cent also agree that "because of the sensitivities of 9/11 relatives, Muslims should not be allowed to build the mosque near Ground Zero".

"A majority agrees that American freedom of religion gives Muslims the right to build the mosque near the site of the terrorist attack," said Caroll, noting that Republicans disagree 54 – 39 per cent.

"Because of the sensitivities of relatives of the terrorist victims, an almost identical majority, including many of the same voters, believes Muslims should not be allowed to open the mosque," he added.

Less than a majority of New York State voters (45 per cent), however, have a favourable opinion of Islam with 24 per cent undecided, but in NYC the majority (55 per cent) had a favourable opinion.

"Most voters believe that Islam is a peaceful religion," Carroll said. "New York City voters in general have more positive views about Islam".

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