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After hours of contentious public comment, a New York City community board voted late Tuesday to support a plan to build a mosque and cultural center near ground zero. "It's a seed of peace," board member Rob Townley said. "We believe that this is significant step in the Muslim community to counteract the hate and fanaticism in the minority of the community."
The vote was 29-to-1 in favor of the plan, with 10 abstentions. The move by the Manhattan Community Board 1, while not necessary for the building's owners to move forward with the project, is seen as key to obtaining residents' support. Some board members wanted to postpone a vote until the next meeting to gather more information about the project and the organizations sponsoring it. But the motion failed.
The meeting was unruly, with project opponents jeering at speakers and yelling comments such as "You're building over a Christian cemetery!" while holding signs that read, "Show respect for 3000," among other things. Many said they were not opposed to a mosque — just not one that's two blocks from ground zero.
The families of Sept. 11 victims "would be wounded by erecting a mega mosque so close to the place where their loved ones were massacred," said Viviana Hernandez, a chaplain. "Even though they may have altruistic reasons, the real terrorists will see it as a win on their side."
Bruce Wallace, who lost a nephew on 9/11, said the center can change the misperceptions about Islam. "The moderate Muslim voice has been squashed in America," he said. "Here is a chance to allow moderate Muslims to teach people that not all Muslims are terrorists."
Tea party activist Mark Williams has called the proposed center a monument to the terror attacks.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said in a statement that by supporting the multi-faith community and cultural center, the board "sent a clear message that our city is one that promotes diversity and tolerance."
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said there were no security concerns about building a mosque in the area.
Originally posted by tetrahedron
"Objecting to this mosque is simply racism."
Wait, what race is Islam?
Persian, Arab, Pashtun, Baluch, Chinese, White, African?
Who's the racist here? The person who assumes Islam is a race.
Originally posted by Oneolddude
Who in their right mind would bid for the contract to build this?
Originally posted by tetrahedron
Real estate in lower Manhattan is not exactly cheap. Pull back the curtain and I'd suspect some Saudi money behind this. Whether or not you believe the official story of 9/11, I think one might come to the conclusion that this would become a pilgrimage site for radical Muslims believing that 19 Hijackers took down the towers.
Furthermore, I'd bet this goes up before any of the new towers.
Originally posted by mapsurfer_
It bothers me that New Yorkers would take a passive stance about this. I understand that somebody out there may have a legal right to build a mosque at ground zero but what I don't understand is why New Yorkers would stand for it. It reeks of disrespect, and looks like they are rubbing New York's nose in it.
People say we shouldn't blame Islam/Muslims for 9/11, but they owned it and site jihad as a means to an end... I view it as a threat. When a religion turn violent, it crosses the line.