Mike Padilla, 45, Brooklyn--“I understand the sensitivity of the situation. A lot of people feel it’s a slap in the face. But I believe in religious tolerance. That being said—I can’t believe there’s no other mosque in the area and it seems strange that they have to build it here.”
Jeff Rice, 33, Queens--“I have no problem with it whatsoever. You can’t blame an entire religious group for the acts of a few psychotic individuals. If we did that, where would Catholicism be? Not to mention I think the perpetrators are the exception to the rule. They are brainwashed by folks like Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. They’re promised 72 virgins in heaven if they martyr themselves. I’ve always wondered what a dead man has to do with 72 virgins but oh well. I would’ve had a problem with it if it was in the World Trade Center but it’s three blocks away. We have to respect people’s beliefs. This is America.”
Rafaa McRae, 40, Manhattan--“I think they should build it. It would demonstrate that we are mature, and true to our foundations. It would show that we are open-minded enough not to categorize an entire religion based on the actions of one small group of people within it. It would show our resilience, and that we are healed. That being said, I can empathize with the victims’ families and understand why they generalize. “
Kamal Wahad, 58, Bronx--“It’s an excellent idea. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s dream is to advance the brotherhood of mankind and bring all people together. It is him (sic) dream to make people understand that Islam has a lot of things in common with American democracy. The idea is not to hurt anyone’s feelings. Close to 300 American Muslims died in the world trade center—it was as much of a tragedy for us as for anyone.”"The idea is not to hurt anyone's feelings"--m'kay. I thought the idea was to have a clue and a spine re Islam and its global ambitions, which were definitely on display on 9/11, and to do what's required to prevent sharia, Islam's totalitarian legal system, from setting up shop in the U.S. of A. But as we know only too well from the Canadian experience, harping on "hurt feelings" is an excellent smokescreen for hiding leftist malfeasance and the actions of those waging the quieter jihad (the one Mike, Jeff and Rafaa seem not to be aware of; no comment re Kamal "Taqiyyah" Wahad).
Update: Rick Lazio, who's running against Andrew Cuomo for the governorship of New York, opposes the mosque, telling CNN he believes
there should be an investigation into the sources of its funding. The main group behind its construction, The Cordoba Initiative, which is headed by the Imam, is a registered charity in New York state. It is the responsibility of New York's Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to ensure the mosque's funding is coming from reputable sources.To review: Imam Rauf appears to be anti-America, anti-Israel, and is being funded by someone (identity unknown and undisclosed) with incredibly deep pockets who, like Rauf, is keen to see a triumphalist edifice rise on a site that's shrieking with symbolism. All indications are that "he wants to advance the brotherhood of mankind" alright--the Muslim brotherhood.
The radio show comments were not the first time Imam Rauf has said troubling things or been associated with troubling activities. On CBS' "60 Minutes," less than a month after the attacks, he said American policies were an "accessory" to the crime of 9/11. "In fact," he added, "in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA."
Imam Rauf is also listed on the website of the Perdana Global Peace Organization as a "role player and contributor." This group was a financial backer of the Gaza flotilla, which attempted in May to break the Israeli's blockade of Gaza.
The Cordoba Initiative has reported less than $20,000 in assets. Where the $100 million for his project would come from is anybody's guess. Furthermore, it's fair to ask why, exactly, Imam Rauf has insisted on building the mosque so close to ground zero, and why he wants to unveil it on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. This not an issue of religious freedom, but rather, a question of safety and security.
New Yorkers deserve to be safe and to feel safe, and we have a right to know who's footing the bill for Imam Rauf's project. Are foreign governments or other organizations involved? And why is there such secrecy about the source of the money?