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Park 51

WNYC News

Judge Blocks Islamic Center Eviction, but Says It Owes Back Rent

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A New York State supreme court judge issued an injunction saying that Con Ed cannot evict the developer of an Islamic community center near the World Trade Center site despite being owed back rent.

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Features

Controversial Islamic Cultural Center Opens

Thursday, September 22, 2011

WNYC

There was no sign of protest at the Park51 community center last night. It opened its doors to the public in lower Manhattan Wednesday, without the opposition that had surrounded the project for a year.

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Features

Park 51 Opens Renovated Space with Photo Exhibit of NYC Immigrant Children

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The developers of the Islamic community center near Ground Zero will open the controversial space to the public for the first time Wednesday night. The community center will showcase a 169-image photo exhibition by Danny Goldfield entitled “NYChildren” in the newly renovated space.

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The Empire

Anti-Muslim activities in New York "misguided and divisive": NYCLU report

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The New York Civil Liberties Union just released a report on the rise of anti-Muslim activities throughout the state. The report, according to NYCLU, "examines the role that federal national security policies, law enforcement agencies and politicians have played in inflaming anti-Muslim sentiment and anti-mosque activities."

“Government policies that cast blanket suspicion on all Muslim residents are misguided and divisive,” Udi Ofer, one of the paper's authors, said in a statement. “Religious profiling was unconstitutional before 9/11, and it’s unconstitutional after 9/11. Our elected officials must stand up for religious freedom and ensure that New Yorkers treat each other with respect and understanding.”

Nine incidents of anti-Muslim activity across the state are reviewed in the report. NYCLU says the acts on the Muslim community put First Amendment religious protections at risk for everyone.

“While opponents of mosque projects have a constitutional right to express their views, our public officials must work to ensure that New York remains a welcoming place for all who want to live and worship here, and that the rights and freedoms of those who wish to build mosques are also protected,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in the statement.

Check out the full report after the jump.

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The Empire

Turner pats himself on the back for Park51 funding protest; Weprin gets FDNY union backing

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jerry Sullivan addresses the press with Chief Dolan, left, and a supporter at today's protest. (Arun Venugopal / WNYC)

Late yesterday morning I received this in an email about a protest today.

FURIOUS NEW YORK CITY FIREFIGHTERS AND OFFICERS  AND 9/11 FAMILY MEMBERS WILL DEMAND THAT NO TAXPAYER MONEY GO IN TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF GROUND ZERO MOSQUE AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON MONDAY, AUGUST 22ND  AT 12 NOON OUTSIDE ST. PAUL'S  CHURCH YARD AT THE CORNER  OF CHURCH AND VESEY  STREETS IN DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN.

The funds in question were part of a $17 million Federal block grant the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation received. Last September LMDC announced it was accepting applications from "not-for-profit and government organizations engaged in cultural or community programs or projects that benefit the residents, workers, and communities of Lower Manhattan."

In November 2010, Park51 announced it was applying for a portion of the funds on its website:

Park51 has applied for a Lower Manhattan Development Corporation grant which would in part fund social service programs for all the residents of Lower Manhattan such as domestic violence prevention, Arabic and other foreign language classes, programs and services for homeless veterans, two multi-cultural art exhibits and immigration services.

There were a few notes in the press at the time. As LMDC has not official announced who will be receiving the funds, there isn't any specific, recent event that might trigger renewed interest in the subject. Except. of course, for Republican Bob Turner's congressional race out in Queens.

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WNYC News

Oslo Terror Suspect Says Opponents of Islamic Center at Ground Zero Were Influences

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Oslo gunman who killed scores this week to protest what he claimed was the “Islamization” of Europe counted two vocal critics of the Islamic Cultural Center planned near Ground Zero among his anti-Muslim influences.

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The Empire

Defending Park51

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bloomberg’s speech last night, in defense of Park51.

This was, according to Bloomberg’s office, the first time reporters were allowed to cover the mayor’s annual Iftar dinner at Gracie Mansion.

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The Empire

NYCLU's Ad for Park51

Friday, September 10, 2010

bus_9_10

Appearing on buses tomorrow, according to the group.

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The Empire

Donald Trump's No-Mosque Zone

Thursday, September 09, 2010

...is about five blocks long.

In a letter to the Park51 developers - which includes an offer to buy the site for 25% more than it was purchased for - Trump includes this stipulation: any mosque they want to build "be located at least five blocks further from the World Trade Center site."

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The Empire

'I Should Not Express My Own Views'

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

With Ground Zero as a backdrop, Michael Bloomberg was on Good Morning America today defending the Park51 project - a proposed Islamic cultural center slated to open two blocks from where the World Trade Center once stood.

"The government should never get involved in restricting what you can say…this is a first amendment issue," Bloomberg said.

On whether he personally supports the plan, Bloomberg said, "I'm the government. And I should not express my own views."

Which sounds like what Obama said.

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The Empire

NYT: NYers Split on Park51, But Not Voting on It

Friday, September 03, 2010

Trends in the NYT poll on New Yorker's attitude to the Park51 project.

From the New York Times poll today about people's attitudes towards building an Islamic center near Ground Zero:

38 percent of those who expressed support for the plan to build it in Lower Manhattan said later in a follow-up question that they would prefer it be moved farther away, suggesting that even those who defend the plan question the wisdom of the location.

And, despite the ability for New York politicians to garner national attention on the issue, it's not on top of New Yorkers' voting agenda.

Even though both Republican candidates for New York governor, Rick A. Lazio and Carl P. Paladino, have sought to make the Islamic center an issue in the race, two-thirds of those polled said it would have no influence on how they made their choice for governor. The poll showed that the economy and jobs remained the most pressing concerns.

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The Empire

Weiner Shows Democrats How to Handle Park51

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Rep. Weiner discusses Park51 issue and mid-term elections. (msnbc.com)

Rep. Anthony Weiner - who has been uncharacteristically quiet on the Park51 issue - was on MSNBC last night, showing Democrats how to sound authoritative, while changing the topic.

When asked if the issue is hurting Democrats, Weiner said it "certainly hasn't helped. It's been a classic distraction. You know, the fact of the matter is I believe we in politics should be staying out of this debate. This is not a place where politicians should be. But I do think we should be engaging Republicans on their plan to privatize social security."

The New York Times editorial board has a different take, saying, pointedly, "[t]he country needs strong and sane voices to push back against the hatred and irrational fears," about the project.

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The Empire

Q Poll Focuses on Park51; Lazio, Sometimes, Doesn't

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rick Lazio, and David Malpass, at a Tea Party 365 candidate forum. (Azi Paybarah / WNYC)

Just a little more about the Q poll and Park51 debate:

The Quinnipiac poll today is likely to guarantee the Park51 debate will get more than enough coverage inside the daily papers tomorrow -- and by that, I mean right now -- even though some of the editorial pages have been criticizing candidates for focusing too much on the issue.

The person often credited with being one of the first to oppose the project is Rick Lazio, the GOP candidate for governor who has gone all over national TV and radio talking about the issue. In fact, he's been so attached to the issue that critics say it's overshadowed the other stuff he should be talking about.

The Post fired a warning shot across Lazio's bow, warning him to talk about issues voters care about, which they said his rival, Carl Paladino, is doing.

The Daily News said Lazio was "shameless and shameful in exploiting passions over a planned Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero."

And the New York Times editorial board was equally direct: "New Yorkers should be offended by Mr. Lazio’s attempt to exploit ground zero images for political gain."

Lazio, I think, has re-calibrated his message.

During a Tea Party forum last night, Lazio was asked how he would protect New York State from terrorists. Lazio spoke about expanding the Ring of Steel security initiative in Lower Manhattan, and fixing the broken security cameras in train stations. He also said cellphone reception underground should be improved, so people could text law enforcement if they see something suspicious, thus ensuring a "real time" response to any potential threat.

At no point during his answer did he mention Park51, even though his campaign aides ads seek to tie the project to September 11, Hamas and terrorists.

But in a scrum with reporters after the event, Lazio said he wasn't changing his focus away from Park51. He said he doesn't need to change the perception held by "the editorial boards" because "I think this is about where the people of New York are."

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The Empire

Q Poll: Cuomo Should Look into Park51 Funding

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So, this will probably keep the Park51 debate going a little bit longer in the governor's race.

A new Quinnipiac poll
finds a majority of Democrats - 65-25 percent - say they want Andrew Cuomo to investigate funding for the group looking to build an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio has been tying Cuomo to the issue, and an AP story noted that Cuomo has been notably quiet about his support for the developers.

But editorial boards, like The Daily News and New York Post, have criticized Lazio for campaigning too much on this issue, and not discussing other topics more directly related to the day-to-day functions of governing New York.

At a lengthy Tea Party event in midtown yesterday, Lazio barely mentioned the issue.

Anyway, more from the poll:

54-40 % say Muslims have a right to build a mosque near Ground Zero "because of American freedom of religion."

53-39 % say the Muslim group "should not be allowed" to build a mosque there "because of the opposition of Ground Zero relatives."

71-21 % say developers "should voluntarily build the mosque somewhere else," because, "of the opposition of Ground Zero relatives."

71-22 % say AG Andrew Cuomo should investigate the financing of the mosque.

And 65-25 % of Democrats say that Cuomo should look into the mosque's financing.

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The Empire

'What Does a Muslim Look Like?'

Friday, August 27, 2010

The only Muslim City Council member, Robert Jackson of Northern Manhattan, has a question for critics.

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The Empire

Bloomberg's 'Daily Show' Argument for Park 51

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bloomberg and Stewart

Kirsten Artz / nyc.gov

The more serious side of Bloomberg's appearance on "The Daily Show," via a pool report distributed by the mayor's office:

The New York Times wrote about this mosque a year ago. Laura Ingram did a show about it, or mentioned it on one of her shows, and said she was in favor of it. This mosque has been operating for over a year. There is nothing new [here]. The difference is we’re in an election season. And this whole issue, I think, will go away right after the next election. This is plain and simple people trying to stir up things to get publicity and trying to polarize people so that they can get some votes. And I don’t think that most of these people who are yelling and screaming really care one way or another. The family members, they do care. And the family members that I’ve talked to, and I’m chairman of the board of The World Trade Center Memorial, 100% in favor of saying these people who want to build a mosque can build a mosque, that the lives of our loved ones were taken because the right to build a mosque or to say what you want to say was so threatening to people.

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The Empire

Bloomberg, Reid and Schumer

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ira Stoll gets his hands on the invite for Michael Bloomberg's September 20 fund-raiser for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose guest list includes Chuck Schumer.

If you're watching this through the prism of the Park51 debate, that's three distinct perspectives represented.

Stoll suggests "maybe it's just transactional, with the mayor calculating Mr. Reid will probably win and be in a position to direct federal funds to New York City."

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The Empire

Stringer and Ingraham

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stringer and Ingraham

mediaite.com

Scott Stringer asks Laura Ingraham  "Why did you support the cultural center in December 2009?" and tells her "You supported this before Michael Bloomberg, before anybody else."

Ingraham interviewed Daisy Khan, wife of the Park51 imam, but is now an outspoken critic.

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The Empire

Park51 Rollcall

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

amNew York

amNewYork.com

Where do officials stand on Park51 debate?

amNew York offers a roll call of elected officials on either side of the Park51 debate.

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The Empire

Bloomberg: Moving Park51 Undermines National Security

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

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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