In December 2009, influential American Muslim leader Feisal Abdul Rauf announced plans to build a 15-story community center, the Cordoba House, in downtown Manhattan. The center, which is to include a dedicated prayer space, would be located two blocks from Ground Zero, the site of the September 11, 2001, attacks. But that center, colloquially described as the "Ground Zero Mosque," has come under attack by New York conservatives and become an increasingly prominent issue in the New York gubernatorial campaign.
Puzzled by Ground Zero mosque story. I work in the neighborhood, and there are two strip clubs just as close as the planned mosque.
- GOP Gov Candidate Campaigns Against 'Ground Zero Mosque' Politico's Maggie Haberman reports, "[Republican state representative and gubernatorial candidate] Rick Lazio has finally found an issue on which he's on offense instead of playing defense -- the planned Ground Zero mosque -- and despite criticism today from the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association that he's 'exploiting' the issue, I doubt we've heard the last of it from him. ... he said [state Attorney General and Lazio's Democratic opponent] Andrew Cuomo doesn't understand the issue ... his call for Andrew Cuomo to investigate the mosque's funding was based on three-month-old clips from the New York Post."
- Congressman Joins Fight Against Center Wonkette's Jack Stuef writes, "Long Island Congressman and ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee Peter King wants there to be an investigation into the funding of a proposed mosque to be built near the World Trade Center site in New York City, because terrorists are the only Muslims in the world with money, right? 'It's a house of worship, but we are at war with Al Qaeda,' King said. Muslims worship Al Qaeda! Makes sense. We wouldn't want Muslims to think they are welcome near Ground Zero, because that might show we don't hate them and do allow them to be free in our country."
- Bloomberg Defends Center New York Magazine's Dan Amira writes, "While Republican Senate candidate and ex-CIA officer Gary Berntsen weighs in against the proposed mosque at ground zero, Mayor Bloomberg is still sticking up for the mosque, saying today that investigating it would be 'un-American' and go 'against what the nation stands for.'"
- The Public Opinion Campaign Salon's Alex Pareene fumes, "Through misinformation and shameless fear-mongering, they've got a slim majority of New Yorkers opposing the planned community center as well. (Specifically, 36 percent of Manhattanites oppose it. And 73 percent of Staten Islanders.)." Pareene is skeptical about concerns "that future tourists to the WTC site will accidentally wander into the mosque and become radicalized Islamic terrorists (that is, I think, the fear here)."
- Islamophobia Clearly at Play The American Prospect's Adam Serwer writes, "By implying that the center will be financed by extremists without any actual evidence, [Lazio has] already let the cat out of the bag--he's opposing the center because of the religious persuasion of the builders, even though he insists that's not the case ... To the extent that there's really any controversy over the center at all, it's only because the proposal is to build the center near Ground Zero. If that wasn't the case, no one at this level would be calling for an investigation. Which implies just how frivolous and baseless these accusations are."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.