Cordoba House-Park51 Center: Staying in ‘Current Planned Location’
August 18, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Despite a couple of thinly sourced reports to the contrary, namely from CBS News and Haaretz, the developers of the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” say they are not changing the current location of the proposed Islamic community center. The reports suggested a scheduled meeting with New York Gov. Paterson and Cordoba House-Park51 developer Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf, would result in the center being moved away from Lower Manhattan. But the website of the community center says a meeting with Paterson is not even scheduled.
The full clarification from the Cordoba House website:
Clarification: No meeting scheduled between Imam Feisal and Governor Paterson / No location change
“Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf is currently abroad. Despite several media reports, there have been no meetings scheduled between Imam Feisel and Governor Paterson, nor have there been any communications between the offices of Cordoba Initiative and the Governor. Furthermore, Cordoba Initiative and Park 51 are committed to maintaining the current planned location for the Community Center.”
Additionally, developer Sharif El-Gamal recently appeared on NY1, making clear the proposed Cordoba House would remain at the current site in an abandoned former Burlington Coat Factory building two-blocks away from the site of the 9/11 attacks. The center would feature a gymnasium, swimming pool, restaurant and a place of worship.
El-Gamal dismissed the vitriolic rhetoric from conservatives, falsely claiming the community center is on or near “Ground Zero.”
“Park51 is a community center. It is two blocks north of the World Trade Center site,” said El-Gamal. “In New York City, two blocks is a great distance. There are some buildings in New York that have their own zip codes. There is such a scarcity of space in New York, especially in Lower Manhattan. Keep in mind this is a small island, so we are nowhere near the World Trade Center site.”
El Gamal added, “This is a defining moment for you and I and the First Amendment, and I see us passing this test as Americans.”
Let’s hope so.
The overheated, bigoted remarks from right-wing conservatives, such as Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin continue. And despite President Obama’s courageous speech supporting religious freedom and tolerance, a few cowardly Democrats facing tough elections, have sided with the bigots, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV), issuing mealy-mouthed statements supporting freedom of religion, BUT saying because of the sensitivities of the 9/11 victims and their families, the Cordoba House should not be located in Lower Manhattan.
This reasoning is disingenuous and offensive on its face. Members of the Muslim faith did not attack us on 9/11, the radical terrorist group al-Qaeda did.
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf/World Economic Forum Cologny, Switzerland.