New York : The way has been cleared for converting a property near ‘ground zero’ in New York into an Islamic community centre and mosque. However, everyone is not happy with the decision.
National and New York politicians and the Anti-Defamation League have come out in recent weeks against plans for the mosque, saying it disrespects the memory of those killed in the 2001 attacks.
In a statement on a new website devoted to the project now called Park51, the project’s planners said: “We are eager to begin working with our partners, supporters, neighbours and communities, to build a community centre for everyone.”
“It had been a whirlwind in the past four months, one in which we have worked tirelessly to realise an American dream which so many other share,” said Sharif El-Gamal, the chief executive officer of Soho Properties.
“The outpouring support has exceeded our expectations. We are Americans; Muslim Americans. We are businessmen, businesswomen, lawyers, doctors, restaurant workers, cab drivers, and professionals of every walk of life represented by the demographic and tapestry of Manhattan,” he said.
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other city leaders support the Islamic centre.
Opponents, including former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, have argued against a mosque being so close to the scene of the nation’s worst terrorist attack.
“Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing,” tweeted Palin last month on her Twitter account.
The Anti-Defamation League, an organisation that battles anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, is asking that the Islamic centre and mosque be built farther away from ground zero in consideration of families who lost loved ones during the Sep 11, 2001, attacks.
“Building an Islamic Centre in the shadow of the World Trade Centre will cause some victims more pain-unnecessarily-and that is not right,” said the organisation in a written statement.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission Tuesday voted 9-0, saying the 152-year-old building blocks from the the World Trade Centre site of the Sep 11, 2001 terrorist attacks wasn’t special or distinctive enough to meet criteria to qualify as a landmark.
Commissioners also said that other buildings from the era were better examples of the building’s style.