GOP Congressman Peter Roskam appeared on WIND Radio's Big John & Amy yesterday and was asked for his comment on the proposal to build an Islamic cultural center (including a mosque) two blocks from ground zero in New York City. In response, he vehemently opposed the plan and equated it with "a conquering sort of act." Listen:
ROSKAM: No, it should not be built. This is a very, very provocative thing that the proponents of this mosque are doing. And it's not meant in a spirit of reconciliation. It's meant in a spirit of provocation. ... I don't think anyone can say, really, that it's just meant as an innocent house of worship without the symbolism of almost a conquering sort of act.
Many elected officials -- including Roskam's buddy Eric Cantor (R-VA) -- have couched their opposition to the project in terms of "sensitivity" and "respect" for the families of 9-11 victims. But Roskam goes a step further in these comments and taps into the disturbing pattern of Islamophobia in this country. For him to characterize the construction of the center as a "provocative," "conquering sort of act" puts him in the ranks of the most extreme, right-wing bloggers and conspiracy theorists.