After some digging in CSPAN's archives, I found this video of Harry Reid from October 15, 2001 speaking on the Senate floor. Reid reads a letter he received from a student explaining that Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion. While I'm not going to delve into Islam the religion, I will take the opportunity to point out that it is very odd for Reid to come out against the Ground Zero mosque, when he--four weeks after 9/11--made these statements according to the Senate transcripts:
Mr. REID. Mr. President, during this time of trouble, since September 11, there has been a lot of attention focused on Islam. I can say that I have had some exposure to this religion. It is a religion that builds great character. It is a religion that has a very fine health code. It is basically a very good religion. My wife, who has had some illness in her time, has two physicians who are Muslims. They are wonderful men. They are close friends. One is an internist and one is a surgeon. Her family physician--the person who takes care of her more often than not--is Dr. Anwar. Her surgeon is Dr. Khan. I have been in their homes on several occasions, going back almost 20 years --well, more than that, 25 years. We are social friends. I have had the pleasure of going to their beautiful new mosque in Las Vegas, where these two men and their families worship.
We in America, this past 4 weeks, have come to better understand this religion. But we have a lot more that we need to understand. I received a letter--and I am sure other Senators received the same letter--which I would like to read into the RECORD. It is a letter addressed to me, dated September 14, 2001. It says: Honorable Senator: We are writing this letter in light of the horrific tragedy that [Page: S10672] struck America on September 11, 2001. We would like to extend our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to families of all civilians and rescue workers who lost their loved ones in the tragedy. May Allah bless them and give them courage during this time of grief and extreme sadness. We also pray for the steady and early recovery of individuals who suffered injuries as a result of the incident. (editorial note: the said "incident" was the 9/11 terror attack at the Twin Towers, Pentagon, and United Airlines crash in PA)
We would like you to know that although perpetrators of such heinous crimes more often than not justify these acts in the name of religion, we do not support their ideas. Islam for instance, condemns senseless acts of violence against fellow human beings. As the Qur'an so aptly states in Chapter 5, vs. 32, ``For that cause we decreed for the children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.'' All in all, Islam values human life and applauds its preservation rather than its destruction. It is a religion that preaches peace, love, justice and tolerance for people from all walks of life.
Moreover, we would like to clarify a misconception that many people harbor in their minds about Islam. Islam is not a religion that was founded by Prophet Muhammad rather, it is a continuation of the earlier Revelations that were made to Prophets Abraham (Ibrahim), David (Dawood), Moses (Musa) and Jesus (Issa) in the Torah and the Bible, Prophet Mohammed was the last Prophet though whom the Final Revelation was made--that Final Revelation is the Qur'an. On that note, please accept the enclosed copy of the Holy Qur'an as a token of our support.
I do have that and I have read part of that since having received it.
The letter goes on: Finally, we would like to applaud the tireless rescue efforts that have been underway for the past few days and also pray for all those who are involved in this mission and wish them every success.
Signed by Aunali Khalfan, who is with the Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an, Inc., based in Elmhurst, NY.
I believed it was appropriate to spread across the RECORD of this Senate this very thoughtful letter that I received hoping it will lead to a better understanding of this very fine religion which 6 million Americans follow, the teachings of Islam.
With all of these statements made on the Senate floor so close to the attack, it does not make any sense for him to oppose the mosque. It would be more plausible for him to support the mosque. The only reason for Reid's opposition, which is probably why he told the White House prior, is because he clearly understands that most Americans are against the mosque. In other words, it's political.
Crossposted at Right Wing News