Where New York Leaders Stand on the Islamic Cultural Center

Friday, September 10, 2010

The issue of whether or not there should be an Islamic cultural center and mosque two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center is one of the most politically contentious issues of this election season. The opinions of New York's public figures run the gamut from strong support to solid opposition.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuiliani (R)


Speaking on the Today Show Giuiliani said: "The reality is that right now, if you are a healer, you do not go forward with this project. If you’re a warrior you do.”


Former congressman and current candidate for governor Rick Lazio (R)


In an op-ed in USA Today Lazio wrote: "The debate over the proposed 'Ground Zero mosque' is not a debate about religion; there are more than 100 mosques in New York City and nearly 2,000 in the country, and no one argues for a cap on the building of mosques. There are millions of peace-loving, patriotic Muslims across this country, but Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf does not represent them."

Buffalo businessman and candidate for governor Carl Paladino (R)


Paladino released a campaign video outlining his position: "As governor I will use the power of eminent domain to stop the mosque and use the site as a war memorial instead of a monument to those who attacked our country."


Senate minority leader Dean Skelos (R)

Skelos says the city should focus restoring the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox church, which was destroyed on 9/11. In a statement, Skelos said: "I applaud Governor Pataki for focusing attention rebuilding on St. Nicholas near Ground Zero. It is a project that can foster unity and good will and stand as a symbol of rebirth for Lower Manhattan, in contrast to the proposed Mosque that has generated division and controversy.

Gov. David Paterson (D)

 "If the sponsors were looking for property anywhere at a distance that would accomodate a better feeling among the people who are frustrated, I would look into trying to provide them with the state property they would need."



The Anti Defamation League

The Anti Defamation League released a statement on the issue: "We regard freedom of religion as a cornerstone of the American democracy, and that freedom must include the right of all Americans – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths – to build community centers and houses of worship. We categorically reject appeals to bigotry on the basis of religion, and condemn those whose opposition to this proposed Islamic Center is a manifestation of such bigotry. However, there are understandably strong passions and keen sensitivities surrounding the World Trade Center site. We are ever mindful of the tragedy which befell our nation there, the pain we all still feel – and especially the anguish of the families and friends of those who were killed on September 11, 2001. The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process. Therefore, under these unique circumstances, we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found."

Rep. Bill Owens (D)

Owens, who represents New York's 23rd District, the northern-most district in the state, speaking on Capital Tonight said: “Well, I think a day or so ago the imam’s wife indicated that they were amenable to the idea of moving the mosque to a new location. I think that’s an excellent outcome here. But I also want to indicate that we are a country based on the consitution, and they do have a constitutional right, after the local authorities have determined that they have permission to do this we have to be very careful that we make sure that we be sure to abide by the constitution. That said, when someone exercises rights they have responsibilities, and I would prefer to see this built in another location.”

Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy (D)

Duffy, Andrew Cuomo's gubernatorial running mate, speaking on Capital Tonight said: "I think one of the best outcomes would be if those who were looking to build it, perhaps out of respect, would choose to build somewhere else, so as not to take away from some of the emotional feelings -- especially families have -- of those who perished. If I were to build something that had a terrible gut emotional reaction to people, I would take a step back and perhaps, out of respect, look at my plans and say: ‘Could we do something different here?’”

Sen. Eric Schneiderman (D)

Schneiderman, who is competing in the primary to win the Democratic nomination to run for Attorney General, wrote in an e-mail to The New York Observer about repeated requests for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to investigate the finances of those behind the project: "If the general election for Attorney General is between Mr. Donovan and myself, New Yorkers can be assured that on this issue they'll have a new AG who respects religious freedom and follows Andrew Cuomo's high standards of letting his investigations be guided by facts, rather than politics."

Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan (R)

Donovan is the Republican nominee for Attorney General and told The New York Observor through a spokesperson: "Dan personally would like to see the developers choose an alternate location for the center, one which would not be such a painful reminder to the thousands of families who lost loved ones on September 11th."


Richard Brodsky (D)

The Westchester Assemblyman and candidate in the Democratic primary for Attorney General said on August 3, 2010: "Equal treatment before the law is the prime and most important virtue that an attorney general can live by. But as a political and social leader it seems to me we have to talk about the human consequences of the exercise of that legal right. Even if you have a legal right to do it, it's the wrong thing to do. Can't we just work this out and find a site that is less inflammatory?"

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Independent)

Speaking on August 3, after the Landmarks Preservation Commission decided not to grant the 152-year-old building at 45-47 Park Place landmark status: "We would betray our values and play into our enemies' hands if we were to treat Muslims differently that anyone else. It is my hope that the mosque will bring our city even closer together and repudiate the false and repugnant idea that the attacks on 9/11 were consistent with Islam."

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

 Writing in an op-ed in The New York Times, the imam at the heart of controversy said: "We are proceeding with the community center, Cordoba House. More important, we are doing so with the support of the downtown community, government at all levels and leaders from across the religious spectrum, who will be our partners. I am convinced that it is the right thing to do for many reasons.




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Comments [14]

Swag from Manhattan

Boy oh boy, Fox realy won with this story. this will end up being up there with death panels on the list of great news hoaxes of our time.

He's white, he was born in the city and has lived here his whole life (which is more than I can say for most of the voicers of outrage).

He's following in his father's footsteps and supporting his community by building a community center WITH A SMALL PRAYER ROOM (specifically useful to a religion that does a lot of praying at different times).

yeah, its 2 blocks from ground zero, so is a lot of stuff. and its a good place to get a cheap building that is central to several transportation hubs, the brooklyn bridge, the Fulton mall, city hall, J&R, pace university, several tourist destinations East side water taxis...
Stop acting like NYC is a small town, it isn't, there are people who won't travel above or below certain blocks most of their lives and 2 blocks might as well be a mile by small town standards.
So far the Iman of the "mosque" has proven to be more of a New Yorker and a better American than most of the people engaged in this stupid little episode.


Sep. 13 2010 11:45 AM

wantabeconnie, your vitriol and hatred are a shame to us all. as an individual who has lived for many years in a Muslim society (Turkey) and teaches in Islamic Studies (at NYU), I am not astonished and dismayed by the way in which the cynical discussion of the Cordoba House has transformed ignorance about Islam has been transformed into nativist hatred. It's not surprising that many Americans are ignorant of Islam, sadly--what is surprising is their degree of ignorance about America, too.

Sep. 13 2010 10:05 AM

There is no Islamophobia only Islamorealism

Islam is not a religion nor is it a cult. It is a complete system.: “Islam has religious, legal, political, economic and military components. The religious component is a beard for all the other components.

Islamization occurs when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their so-called ‘religious rights.’

When politically correct and culturally diverse societies agree to ‘the reasonable’ Muslim demands for their ‘religious rights,’ they also get the other components under the table.(percentages source CIA: The World Fact Book (2007)).

The only reason Muslims want to build near Ground Zero is to show the American people Symbolism of their destruction of the World Trade Center & to eventually take over the United States & the World!!! Muslims have the backing of Muslim Obummer, corrupt Congress, now the Supreme Court with 2 Liberal Judges, one being Hagen who believes in Sharia Law!!! The Muslims hate us & we are considered Infidels & their Quran teaches them to kill us!!!

Sep. 12 2010 08:59 AM

I live in the Financial District and support the Park51 Community Center - it will be a nice addition to a growing and diverse neighborhood. Oppositions to the project are mostly based on ignorance and fear. No one claims that Irish Catholics are terrorists because of the actions of the IRA. We don't assume all Basques are terrorists because of ETA. All Greeks are not considered terrorist because of the actions of 17N.

To those opposed to the project - read your history, learn the facts, and take your hate mongering else where. It's not welcome in my neighborhood.

Sep. 11 2010 11:13 AM
Najashi Muhammad from Queens, New York

“Let’s Build It”

I support the First Amendment &
the Park 51 Islamic Cultural Center

The Noble Qur’an 2:256

Sep. 11 2010 09:19 AM
Najash Muhammad from Queens, New York

“Let’s Build It”
Park 51 Islamic Cultural Center

The General Public of New York (Marist Poll 08/10/2010) will never be pleased with the Imam nor the Muslims.
Until he/they give into their demands of,...

The Noble Qur’an 2:120-121; 61:8

Sep. 11 2010 08:44 AM
tonya63 from Staten Island, NY

Bad enough that a mosque is to be built at Ground Zero, in nine years we have failed to rebuild on Ground Zero. The mosque would be inappropriate so close to the Hallowed ground. Granted, they have the right to build but it wouldn't be Right to built. When will a fitting memorial and new buildings be built? Nine years,nine years, we should be ashamed of ourselves.

Sep. 10 2010 08:12 PM

My gut reaction is let them build it, and then we'll burn it down...that makes me feel good...BUT you know it's difficult to forgive. It takes a courageous and strong man to forgive. It would take a courageous and strong country to forgive and let the mosque be built right there. I would like to think of America as a courageous and strong country. Other countries who do NOT let churches and synagogs be built in the centers of their cities are weak and cowardly...let's not follow their example. Let's forgive and embrace.

Sep. 10 2010 08:08 PM

If you build it 'They' will come.

Sep. 10 2010 08:05 PM
Antigone from The Right Coast

The reason to build the mosque is because the neighborhood is growing and part of the community there is muslim.

The next nearest mosque - 2 blocks away - already overflows hundreds of people and it is only open 1 day a week at that. The 2nd nearest mosque at 12 blocks away was recently downsized from a capacity of 1500 to only 300 and even then it regularly overflowed that original capacity of 1500.

So the need for the mosque should be clear and saying that building it is offensive is tantamount to saying the it is offensive for muslims to live there at all.

Sep. 10 2010 07:44 PM

My fellow Americans the war for the world started on 911. The twin tower attack was the muslims opening gambit. Two wars raging in the middle east was our response. Rauf's sham pretense of being a concilliator while pushing the Cordoba House ploy is straight out of Hitler's playbook. Shed huge crocodile tears while crying for tolerance and peace, in hopes of distracting attention from the huge crocodile teeth.

Cordoba in Spain was the high water mark of Islamic penetration into western Europe.This is signifying the Islamists hopes to re-engage in the struggle with perhaps a better outcome this time. This belief and attitude is part and parcel of the socio-political beliefs of Muslim in general and Arabs in particular. Gentlemen let us look to our guns.

Sep. 10 2010 07:14 PM
mike lind

Hey Rauf, if you begin to build your mosque where you indicate, near 9/11 murders, you may not live to see it finished,
the people of New York don't want it there,
the people of the U.S.A don't want it there,
are you willing willing to see the consequences of your actions?

Sep. 10 2010 07:10 PM
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell from Chicago

Well, of course all these eminent speakers are not really anti-Muslim. After all, they "know" that the Muslims who would attend the mosque are in league with the people who caused 9/11.

This exercise is a stain on America. Have we completely lost our moral high ground. All those bigots who claim to be moral and political leaders are the worst kind of traitors. I'm beginning to understand how the Holocaust occurred.

Aren't there any Americans left, with the courage to defend these innocent people?

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

Sep. 10 2010 07:04 PM
F. Wiggins from Midwest

A mosque at ground zero. Sure why not -- just as soon as a Catholic church and a synagogue are build in Saudi Arabia - not is the desert either but right next door to the palace..

Sep. 10 2010 06:55 PM

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