Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Candidates weigh in on Islamic Cultural Center, one wants to build "pork factory"

Congressional candidates in the Fifth and First Districts weighed in yesterday on a controversial local real estate project that has caused quite a bit discussion recently. Of course, the project isn't in Lowell or Lawrence or some other municipality where their opinions might carry some weight; rather the discussion yesterday centered on plans to build an Islamic cultural center a few blocks north of the former site of the World Trade Center in New York.

But since the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" is the cultural issue du jour, the candidates spoke with the Sentinel and Enterprise. One, Bill Gunn (R-Belchertown) is so incensed he wants to make sausages next to the Islamic Center in an effort to antagonize organizers:
Gunn went on to say that if the developers don't accept an offer to relocate the mosque, protesters should "make their lives miserable." He even suggested allowing businesses that would be objectionable to Muslims -- such as a pork factory -- to locate nearby.
I have a hard time believing that a major-party candidate would suggest building factories not as a way to create jobs, but in order to attempt to antagonize a religious group. But there you go.

The other candidates:

First Congressional District
Michael Engel (U-Southampton): "It's obviously not a good idea, but I don't share all the hysteria."
John Olver (D-Amherst) did not comment.

Fifth Congressional District
Jon Golnik (R-Carlisle): "an unwarranted provocation and abuse of our freedoms."
Sam Meas (R-Haverhill): "I think it's insensitive."
Robert Shapiro (R-Andover): "height of insensitivity."
Tom Weaver (R-Westford): "Build it in Flushing."
Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell): "it would not be inappropriate for them to...reconsider their decision."

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