LOS ANGELES (AP) – Dozens of Southern California religious leaders from many faiths are speaking out to support plans to build a mosque and community center two blocks from ground zero in New York City.

The leaders held a press conference Friday at the Islamic Center of Southern California and issued a statement supporting the right to build the mosque.

The letter is signed by 71 Southern California religious leaders, including representatives from more than a dozen faiths.

The letter says the mosque members have a constitutional right to build at the New York location and says the controversy surrounding the project is un-American and based on a distortion of the facts.

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