Which religious groups are most opposed to the “Ground Zero” Islamic Center? Hint: Not the Jews

American Jews are the group most opposed to the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero in Manhattan, right?

Well, maybe not, says a new Gallup poll which concludes “American faith communities are split on the best way to resolve the disagreement” over the center’s location.

According to Gallup data, “Muslims, Jews, other non-Christians and non-religious Americans are more likely to favor retaining the current location as originally conceived, or transforming the center into an interfaith institution.”

Catholics and Mormons are most opposed to building the center in the proposed location, the poll reports, followed by Protestants.

Some 63 percent of Catholics and 62 percent of Mormons believe the center’s builders should “find another location” according to the poll; 43 percent of the Jews gave that answer.

But Jews weren’t exactly enthusiastic supporters of that location; instead, 25 percent answered “build on the proposed location” and 28 percent said the project should be changed to an “interfaith institution.”

“Approximately 45 percent of U.S. Muslims, other non-Christians (apart from Muslims and Jews) and atheists/agnostics said the center should move forward with the proposed location, despite opposition voices,” Gallup wrote. “In contrast, the slight majority of Jewish Americans who do not believe the center should relocate are about evenly divided between retaining the current location and turning the center into an interfaith institution owned by a coalition of religious groups.”

Over at his Spiritual Politics blog, Mark Silk, a professor of religion and public policy, theorizes that “Catholicism very much regards the creation of a place of worship as the establishment of spiritual control over territory.”

Mormons, he reports, were the least supportive of changing the Islamic center into an interfaith center “because, well, Mormons do not do interfaith.”



About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.