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Ground Zero Mosque Sponsor Unmasked as Free Gaza Donor

The Muslim cleric behind the proposed giant mosque near Ground Zero is none other than a major donor to the pro-Hamas Free Gaza movement.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 6/6/2010, 10:05 AM / Last Update: 6/6/2010, 10:23 AM

Joel Meyerowitz/ US State

The Muslim cleric behind the proposed giant mosque near Ground Zero is none other than a major donor to the pro-Hamas Free Gaza movement, the New York Post reported. The cleric, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf also is a key figure in Malaysian-based Perdana Global Peace Organization.

The Free Gaza group has been behind several attempts to break the Israeli sea embargo on Hamas. The latest attempt, under the guise of sending humanitarian aid, was foiled Saturday when the Israeli Navy intercepted the “Rachel Corrie” ship before it could approach the Gaza Coast.

The Perdena organization has donated $366,000 to Free Gaza, which has organized several attempts to break the Israeli sea embargo on Hamas-controlled Gaza. Earlier in the week, the Mavi Marmara ship’s terrorist "activists" opened fire and brutally beat Navy commandos, despite Free Gaza promises that there would be no violence. Free Gaza spokeswoman Greta Berlin has charged that the IDF edited and falsified videos clearly showing that the passengers on the ship initially assaulted commandos before they reached the decks.

“We have two Imam Raufs," Deborah Burlingame, the sister of the American Airlines pilot whose hijacked plane struck the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, told the New York Post. "We have the anti-Israel, anti-democratic imam, and we have the smiling, soft-spoken moderate Muslim who says, 'Why can't we all get along?' "

The proposed 13-story mosque and community center, to cost $100 million, has been met with outrage in New York, despite Rauf’s focusing on peace. "We must fight those who are against us with peace and our assurance that we have peace in our hearts,” he recently told Muslims at a Friday prayer service.

Tea Party Express chairman Mark Williams called the project a monument to 9/11 attackers, and the “9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America” calls the proposed project “a gross insult to the memory of those who were killed on that terrible day.’’

However, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg supports it, and zoning officials have approved the plan.