Daily Israel Report

Showdown on $100 Million 9/11 Mosque Project

A “last-chance” hearing to block the proposed 13-story $100 mosque planned near 9/11 in New York Tuesday puts Mayor Bloomberg on the defense.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 7/13/2010, 3:31 PM / Last Update: 7/13/2010, 3:44 PM

Israel news photo

A “last-chance” public hearing to block the proposed 13-story $100 million mosque planned near Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11 attack on New York Tuesday puts Mayor Bloomberg on the defense. He has rejected opponents’ demands that the backers of the plan be investigated for possible links with terrorists or terrorist groups.

New York City officials already have approved the project, and the only hope by opponents to block its construction is to convince the Landmark Preservation Commission to prevent the demolition of the 152-year-old Cordova House warehouse in order to make way for a mammoth Muslim community center and house of worship.

Opposition groups from a wide spectrum of the population—ranging from Jews to Sikhs—staged a large demonstration in early June against the planned mosque.  

The Park Place site is 600 feet from the area where Muslim suicide terrorists hijacked two planes and aimed them at the two towering Twin Towers in the early morning, when the planes’ fuel tanks were full.

The resulting explosion and intense fire melted the metal structures, toppling the towers and killing nearly 3,500 people, including police officers and firefighters who arrived to control the blaze and cordon off the area. One of the engines of the hijacked planes crashed into the Cordova House roof, causing severe damage.

Mayor Bloomberg has taken heat for not conducting a probe into the backers of the mosque project, while Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rick Lazio last week called on Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, his Democratic opponent, to conduct a probe. Lazio questioned the sympathies of the center’s backers, and said that “the people have a right to know if this ‘charity’ is using its resources in a legitimate, legal, and charitable way.”

Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, has charged that “the imam behind [the] proposed mosque near Ground Zero is a prominent member of a group that helped sponsor the pro-Palestinian activists who clashed violently with Israeli commandos at sea.

"Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is a key figure in Malaysian-based Perdana Global Peace Organization, according to its website. Perdana is the single biggest donor ($366,000) so far to the Free Gaza Movement, a key organizer of the six-ship flotilla that tried to break Israel's blockade of Hamas-run Gaza" May 31. 

“It’s just two blocks away. They will pass it on the way to the memorial,” Roman Gertsberg, a Queens resident who lost his only daughter Marina in the terrorist attack told am/NY.

Building a mosque just several blocks away from Ground Zero is an insult and an affront to every single person that was killed on 9/11, to their families, to the first responders and every concerned American who cherishes liberty, democracy and freedom,” Pamela Geller, executive director of 'Stop the Islamization of America',” said at last month’s protest.

Tuesday’s hearings, which are expected to be hotly contested, are expected to last for two hours, but a decision will not be announced until later this summer.