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Bloomberg: Moving Park51 Undermines National Security

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 09:54 PM

Mayor Michael Bloomberg reasserted himself Tuesday evening as the most vocal and, surprisingly, most passionate defender of the Islamic center slated for two blocks from Ground Zero.

Hours after Gov. David Paterson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said they’d like to the see the project relocated further away from where the World Trade Center once stood, the mayor said moving the project would be a victory for “terrorist recruiters” and would open the door to more worrisome questions, like, “How big should the ‘no-mosque zone’ around the World Trade Center be?”

The mayor also said moving the project would undermine the country's national security efforts.

Bloomberg’s comments came just hours after Paterson restated his willingness to help the project’s developers find a new location. Silver, the state’s powerful Assembly Speaker whose lower Manhattan district includes Ground Zero, said he thinks the current location has engendered too much hostility in critics for the project to achieve it’s its goal of acting as a bridge to other communities.

Bloomberg, in prepared text released by his office, said, “if we do not practice here at home what we preach abroad -- if we do not lead by example -- we undermine our soldiers. We undermine our foreign policy objectives. And we undermine our national security.”

The mayor also defended the imam behind the project, Feisal Abdul Rauf, who, in 2001, said American foreign policy was an “accomplice” to the terrorist attacks on September 11th and that Osama bin Laden was, in essence, made in America.

Bloomberg said he disagreed with the sentiments expressed, but that those unpopular comments alone should not disqualify the project from being built, nor should it be used to characterize the imam.

“Each of us may strongly agree or strongly disagree with particular statements he has made.  And that’s how it should be -- this is New York,” said Bloomberg.

“I would like to read you something that he said that you may not have heard. At an interfaith memorial service for the martyred journalist Daniel Pearl, Imam Rauf said, ‘If to be a Jew means to say with all one's heart, mind, and soul: Shma Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ehad -- Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One -- not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one. If to be a Christian is to love the Lord our God with all of my heart, mind and soul, and to love for my fellow human being what I love for myself, then not only am I a Christian, but I have always been one.”

Bloomberg's speech is aimed at bolstering support for the project, which has come under intense criticism from Republicans nationwide, and conservative news outlets. It's also received tepid support from Democratic elected officials here at home. Among those offering tepid support was the state's senior senator, Chuck Schumer, who told reporters he does not oppose the project, then declined to discuss it further.

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Comments [10]

Adam

Gov. Paterson is handicapped by a greater disability than his blindness. He is intellectually disabled. His most recent comment about good Muslims (Sufi) and bad Muslims (?) shows the extent of his ignorance.

Aug. 31 2010 07:48 PM
Adam

I do not see the connection with the building of the cultural center and being dis-compassionate. I have yet read any rational discourse showing how the building of the cultural center is an act of non-compassion. Please elaborate on your thoughts.

Aug. 31 2010 07:44 PM
Concerned

I was a New Yorker for three Mayors and even no longer living in the NYC Metro area. I think the Mayor is more misguided by the need for dollars from this project and political correctness, that his heart is missing. My heart is with New Yorkers that are unlike what public opinion states in the media in certain regions of the country, bias---they are not. However, this is not about prejudice. This is about heart and compassion for those who have perished and those that are left behind. If the Imam wants to build bridges, build them in another way openly and with compassion for those that were hurt by 911.

Aug. 26 2010 04:18 PM
VJMachiavelli

Why is Bloomberg taking such a leading role on this issue ?What is the underline reason for his all out support ?What is his past history on issues like this ?Before there was the “Oracle at Delphi” there was Count Vampire J. MachiavelliVJ Machiavelli www.vjmachiavelli.blogspot.comNo More Schumer, Pelosi, Rangel, Engel"After Four Years of Scandals it is time for the Lazio Team"

Aug. 26 2010 08:33 AM
sammysoul

Kudos to Bloomberg for speaking (I believe) his mind and not being influenced by the extremist fringe who wrap themselves in the constitution but disregard it as soon as it goes against their ideology.

Aug. 26 2010 02:47 AM
M.E.

Good for Mayor Bloomberg! He's absolutely right that Islam has an equal place in U.S. society. Calling this cultural center the "mosque at Ground Zero," is pure sensationalism on the part of the media. It's also a lie.

Aug. 26 2010 02:42 AM
WB

Bravo, Mayor Bloomberg...and a huge BRAVO to all who stand in support of our Constitution.Doesn't David Paterson have more pressing issues to attend to in Albany? He's already in enough hot water with his questionable practices. Maybe he should focus his attention on his own moral compass and NY STATE issues and butt out of the affairs of private property owners (who already received the approval of the city council and necessary permits) to build what they please on their own land. Talk about government interfering in the rights of citizens.

Aug. 25 2010 09:14 PM
Bo

I'm extremly impressed by mayor Bloomberg. In a time when so many people lose their heads (enough to even abandon the Constitution) his clearheadedness and dedication to principle will surely be rewarded by the verdict of history.

Aug. 25 2010 09:08 PM
Adam

I do not agree with Bloomberg on many issues, but he is absolutely right on this issue. I applaud him for his courage and conviction. Many politicians, e.g., Paterson, Silver, and Obama, try to sound supportive of the building of the cultural center, yet they hedge by using terms like wisdom, relocation, etc.. This is not about finding a new location. Had this been an issue of James H. Meredith enrolling in U MIss in the sixties, would Obama, Paterson, or Silver have said that Meredith has the right to attend, but maybe it is wiser to go elsewhere where the sensitivity of the racist bigots are not offended?

Aug. 25 2010 08:06 PM
Paul I. Adujie

Mayor Michael Bloomberg deserve our Thunderous Applause!I am a Catholic, but, I will defend to the death, the rights of Jews, Hindus, Hare Khristina, and of course, Muslims to build a house of worship and a cultural center...I am heterosexual, but, I will defend to the death, the rights of gays and lesbians to exercise their sexual preferences.I do not smoke, but, I will defend to the death, the rights of smokers to puff their cigarettes...This is supposed to be the American WAY!1. Islamophobia in America, Islam And Muslims Under Siegehttp://adujie-writings.blogspot.com/2010/08/mus...2. Muslims & Islam; Under Siege, Pressures In America, Still! http://adujie-writings.blogspot.com/2010/08/mus...

Aug. 25 2010 07:37 PM

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