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CITY COUNCIL APPROVES MOSQUE AND CULTURAL CENTER PLANNED TO OPEN ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2011 BLOCKS FROM THE WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACKS
by Gary Steven
(Jun. 8, 2010) — On May 26, 2010, after four hours of public debate, Manhattan, NY members of Community Board 1 voted 29-1 in support of the Cordoba Initiative project, a 13-story, multi-purpose mosque which would be located on Park Place, just blocks from the scene of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers.
The emotions of some families of 911 victims in addition to firefighters and policemen were apparent after the city council approved the plans to build the mosque and cultural center. While the head of the project, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, touted “freedom of assembly,” those opposed called it “an insult to the terror-attack victims.”
According to The New York Post, the Community Board “has no official say” as to the final outcome of the plans. However, another report states, “Now that the board has approved the plan, the only way to block construction would be to landmark the building. It has been on the list of landmark status for several years.”
The project is expected to cost an estimated $100,000,000.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is Founder and CEO of the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA Society), as well as Chairman of Cordoba Initiative, which he founded in 2004. According to CNN, the mosque and cultural center is “a collaboration” between the two organizations.
According to its website, “Cordoba House is a Muslim-led project which will build a world-class facility that promotes tolerance, reflecting the rich diversity of New York City. The center will be community-driven, serving as a platform for inter-community gatherings and cooperation at all levels, providing a space for all New Yorkers to enjoy.”
At least two prominent American Muslim leaders oppose the Cordoba Initiative.
Protesters gathered on Sunday, June 6, 2010 near Ground Zero, organized by Pamela Geller, founder of Stop the Islamization of America. At the rally, Geller held up a large photo of part of one of the airliners which was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center, stating that “Ground Zero is a war memorial. Ground Zero is a burial ground…” Photos and videos of the event can be found here and here.
The group Act! for America, supported the rally against the mosque. Founded by Brigitte Gabriel, author of Because They Hate and They Must be Stopped, the organization has also sponsored a petition which can be signed by opposers which reportedly has over 50,000 signatures. Gabriel, a former news anchor from the Middle East, came to the U.S. in 1989, became an entrepreneur, and has appeared as a guest on MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN as an outspoken critic of radical Islam.
According to the petition, the grand opening of the mosque is planned for September 11, 2011.