Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and proponents of his plan to build a 13-story Islamic center near Ground Zero are now being helped by Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform and conservative Republican activist. Norquist and his associates are calling on the Republican Party to drop its opposition to the plan, arguing that the GOP is threatening the rights of Muslims and that its criticism will backfire politically.
Norquist and his friends are distributing a letter saying that the Republicans fighting Imam Rauf's plan are infringing upon religious freedom and are "alienating millions of Arab American and Muslim American voters who believe, as we do, in the principles of our party—individual liberty, traditional values, and the rule of law."
Among those signing the letter are Suhail A. Khan, listed as the Chairman of the Conservative Inclusion Coalition and Norquist's wife, Samah, listed as a Senior Advisor to Arab and Muslim Outreach for the U.S. Agency for International Development under the Bush Administration.
Norquist is trying to convince Republicans that attacking Rauf's plan will cost them in the November elections, even though nearly 70 percent of Americans agree with them. He describes it as a "distraction" that will cause the party to lose support among non-Christians.