BREAKING: Muslim Leaders Decide Against Ground Zero Mosque [Update - Park51 Denies]
After weeks of heated debate over plans for an Islamic community center near Ground Zero – the site of the 9/11 attacks on New York - it seems Muslim leaders will soon back down, agreeing to move to a new site.
The decision follows a high-profile campaign against the project that included advertisements on New York buses showing images of the burning Twin Towers, an iconic landmark razed when al-Qaida terrorists flew packed passenger planes into them in 2001. The New York Republican party is also said to be planning a hostile television campaign.
Sources in New York said on Monday that Muslim religious and business leaders will announce plans to abandon the project in the next few days.
New York Governor David Patterson said last weekend that Muslim leaders had rejected outright his proposal to swap the site in for another in Manhattan.
But several people familiar with the debate among New York’s Islamic activists now claim that the leaders are convinced abandoning the site is preferable to unleashing a wave of bitterness towards Muslims.
UPDATE: Maggie Haberman at POLITICO is saying the mosque developer is denying the move. We’ll see.
UPDATE 2: Maybe not. This from Park51′s (the builder of the mosque): “There is no truth to the Haaretz story. It is wholly incorrect. We will be publishing a press release regarding this shortly.”
So is this a win we could put in our column? In a word, yes – but don’t think this issue is dead.
I’ve said all along that I’m not concerned if the owners of the mosque-to-be had the right to build near Ground Zero. My concerns lie in the fact that they think it is right to do so. We cannot be naive and believe that those behind the plans for the Ground Zero mosque (many with radical ties) didn’t know how we would react to the news of their intentions. They knew conservatives and many moderates would come out against it, and as such liberals would come out in support, label us bigots and portray us as small-minded. They are playing us against ourselves.
And now that the conservative stance on the mosque has “won” they will do the same. They’ve decided in the face of opposition to fold. But now they have another card in their hand: the victim card. They’ll play it and portray us as people against freedom of religion. It’s up to us not to let them get away with it.