Mosque building sanction near Ground Zero fraught with problems

     New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission decision to approve the building of the 100 million dollar mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero is not likely to end the controversy about whether the site of the mosque is offensive to people who lost their loved ones on 9/11 or whether the Islamic community has the right to build a place of religious worship where they want. According to the Christian Science Monitor (CSM), the issue has taken on national proportions with Republicans such as Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich coming out in opposition to the mosque. It has become a part of the governor’s race in New York with Republican Rick Lazio opposed to it and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in favor. Last week, the Anti-Defamation League, a leading Jewish organization, announced its opposition to the mosque at its proposed site. However, in its opposition to the plan, the ADL said the proponents of the plan “may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam” but then concluded, “building the Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right.” The founders of Cordoba House, as the Islamic Center is to be called, have said they would like it to be similar to the 92nd Street Y, a mainly Jewish organization that is open to the community no matter what their faith. On Monday, this prompted the American Jewish Committee (AJC) to say in a press release, “Once up and running, it won’t be long before we know if the founders have delivered on their promise. If so, New York and America will be enriched. If not, the center should be shunned.” Politicians opposed to the religious center said they would continue to keep up the pressure.

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