It has to be there, you see, because otherwise it would not be a triumphal mosque. Here again Rauf’s intransigence belies his snake-oil claims to be working for peace and harmony. An update on this story. “Imam unmoved by Saudi criticism of NYC mosque,” by David B. Caruso for the Associated Press, October 29 (thanks to Weasel Zippers):
NEW YORK (AP) The imam co-leading a drive to build an Islamic community center near the World Trade Center has politely brushed aside a suggestion by one of his past benefactors that the project be moved to a different spot.
“While we respect the points of view of other interested observers, we plan to build the community center in this location because we have been part of Lower Manhattan for decades and we want to better serve the needs of our neighbors of all faith traditions,” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said Thursday in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press.
Rauf was responding to a request for comment on remarks by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest men, who told a magazine based in the United Arab Emirates that he was against putting the center and mosque close to ground zero….
Prince Alwaleed’s opinions on the project are of note partly because his huge charitable organization has contributed to Rauf’s activities in the past. In recent years, Alwaleed’s Kingdom Foundation has helped pay for academic conferences run by two nonprofit groups affiliated with Rauf….
Rauf said the center, dubbed Park51, had received “overwhelming support from our local community, as well as from civic and political leaders throughout New York City.”…
Not from the American people, but they can just drop dead as far as Rauf is concerned.