Crocodile tears. If El-Gamal were in earnest about allaying people’s concerns, he would be talking to 9/11 family members now. And he would have accepted our invitation to come to our forum on the Ground Zero Mosque at CPAC last February. And he would not be aiding and abetting the ongoing campaign of defamation and vilification of opponents of the triumphal mosque at Ground Zero. “GZ Islamic center boss: We blew it,” by Erin Calabrese and Tim Perone in the New York Post, September 22:
The controversial Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero opened to the public for the first time last night with a photography exhibit — as its developer said he regretted not consulting with families of the 9/11 victims earlier.
“We made incredible mistakes,” Sharif El-Gamal said as the Park51 Islamic community center welcomed visitors to an exhibition featuring pictures of New York children of more than 160 ethnicities.
“The biggest mistake we made was not to include 9/11 families,” El-Gamal said.
“We didn’t understand that we had a responsibility to discuss our private project with family members that lost loved ones.”
If you didn’t understand it then, you understand it now. And in light of that understanding, you should abandon this project. Yet you are not doing so. Now, why is that? (As if we didn’t already know the answer.)
About 150 people attended last night’s exhibit and there were no protests.
They got international press coverage for this sham “opening,” which wasn’t actually an opening at all, as Muslims have been praying in that building for years, and they have not broken ground on their mosque, as they had originally planned to on September 11, 2011. (Daisy Khan and others affirmed that, but it went down the memory hole when it proved politically damaging.)
And they drew 150 people — far fewer than those who came from all over the U.S. and Europe and made it past the police mazes and roadblocks on September 11 to attend our AFDI/SIOA 9/11 Freedom Rally, and yet that got no coverage at all. Now, why is that? (As if we didn’t already know the answer.)
El-Gamal said he hopes that people who don’t want the center and prayer space so close to where the 9/11 attacks occurred will now see what it’s all about.
“There’s tremendous excitement with this opening,” he said.
“Park51 is about bringing people together.”
Except those who stand in its way, whom they are determined to destroy.