Locally, U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, one of only two Muslim members of Congress, waded into the debate on the side of building Cordoba House. WRTV's Norm Cox reports on the divide in opinion between Carson and local veterans:
Rep. Andre Carson, D-Indianapolis, one two members of the Muslim faith currently serving in Congress, told 6News' Norman Cox it's a question of distinguishing between religious extremists and moderates who are peace-loving and want to contribute to America.WRTV is conducting an online survey asking viewers, "Do you agree with plans to build a mosque near ground zero? Of those responding, 84% answered no compared to only 11% who answered yes. Five percent were unsure.
"Are we a country of laws and principles? Or are we a country who will be moved by the winds of emotion each and every time there are issues that come up to divert us from the true meaning and intent of the founding fathers?" Carson said.
The proposal calls for the building an Islamic education center and mosque two blocks from the site of ground zero.
President Barack Obama originally seemed to support for the plan, saying Friday, "This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. That includes the right to build a place of worship."
But he clarified his position on Saturday, saying he wasn't weighing in on the mosque proposal specifically.
"I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there," he said. "I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding."
Several members at American Legion Post 497 on Indianapolis west side said they think the plan is insensitive because the terrorists who struck the buildings in 2001 were Islamic extremists.
"They have a right to build a mosque, however, think it's an insult to build it so close to the ground zero by the religious group that all of the terrorists who committed 9-11 belonged to," said Ron Steele.
"It's just like a bar. There's a board that says they can't build a bar within so many feet of a church. Why should they be able to build a mosque so close to ground zero when Iran was responsible for it, or Iraq?" said Steve Schachte.