This is getting so ridiculous, one wonders if Bloomberg himself has something to hide in not wanting the mosque’s finances investigated. He is here in effect saying that any group can now call itself a religious organization and then engage in shady financial dealings with impunity. Talk about setting a “terrible precedent.”
“Mayor Opposes Examining Islamic Center’s Finances,” by Sharon Otterman and Colin Moynihan in the New York Times, August 31 (thanks to all who sent this in):
Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo should not investigate the financing of the proposed Islamic community center near ground zero, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on Tuesday, reiterating his support for the project.
“I think it’s a terrible precedent,” he said. “You don’t want them investigating donations to religious organizations, and there’s no reason for the government to do so.”
Mr. Bloomberg made his remarks about the controversial development project, known as Park51, in response to questions about a Quinnipiac University poll released on Tuesday that found voters in New York State deeply divided, with more than 70 percent of them wanting Mr. Cuomo to investigate the project’s financing.
Sticking to what he said were the larger principles at stake, Mayor Bloomberg played down recent reports that the project’s main developer, Sharif el-Gamal, has a history of misdemeanors, including disorderly conduct, drunken driving and hiring a prostitute.
“I don’t know anything about his personal life,” he said, speaking after the opening of a new Italian marketplace in the Flatiron district. “The issue here to me is very simple: The government shouldn’t be in the business of telling people who they pray to, where they pray, when they pray. There’s an issue of what American values are.”…