Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said on Wednesday that conservative criticism of plans to develop a mosque and Islamic community center in close proximity to "Ground Zero" in New York City is "one of the most disgraceful things that I've heard."
"I don't know how many of you have been to New York, but if a building is two blocks away from anything, you can't see it," he said, according to the State Journal-Register.
“It’s a community center. They’re going to have a gym. They’re going to have point guards. Muslim point guards,” Franken said, to laughter and applause.
“They (Republicans) do this every two years. They try to find a wedge issue, and they try to work it.”
Franken also reportedly called out former House Speaker Newt Gingrich specifically for incendiary comments about the proposed religious center earlier this week.
"The most offensive thing I heard was from Newt Gingrich: 'We can't let the Nazis put up a building next to the Holocaust Museum," asserted the Democratic Senator. "That's equating all Muslims with Al Quaida. George W. Bush said Al Quaida is 'a perversion of Islam.'"
Gingrich analogized building the religious establishment near "Ground Zero" to Nazis putting up signs close to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. on Monday's edition of "Fox and Friends."
In sharing his take on the matter, Franken told his audience, "I lost a friend in 9-11 and I understand the feelings of the families."