Illinois Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias (D) said Tuesday he supports plans for an Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero. 

At a campaign event in Springfield, Ill., Giannoulias asked, "Are we going to talk about tolerance, talk about freedom of religion, or are we actually going to practice it?"

Giannoulias faces Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) in November, who is urging an alternate location for the project. 

"While we protect freedom of religion, Congressman Kirk agrees with the Anti-Defamation League that sitting this mosque near Ground Zero causes undue pain to families of the 9/11 victims," said Kirk spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski. 

The Kirk camp is encouraging the project's leaders to "accept Governor Patterson's offer of a convenient but less controversial site."