An ambitious plan to build a mosque next to New York’s Ground Zero has angered residents of the city.
Published: 7:00AM BST 17 May 2010
Supporters of the project say the planned multi-storey Islamic centre would transform both the drab lower Manhattan street and the way Americans have interacted with Muslims since nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks on September 11, 2001.
Boasting a mosque with sports facilities, a theatre and possibly day care, the centre would be open to all visitors to demonstrate that Muslims are part of their community, not some separate element.
But because of the proposed mosque’s location, just around the corner from the gaping Ground Zero hole, the plan has upset some locals.
“The outrage continues,” says website www.nomosquesatgroundzero.wordpress.com under a close-up of the collapsing Twin Towers.
The protest site says the centre will “cast a rude shadow over Ground Zero.”
Others compared the idea to building a German cultural centre at Auschwitz.
“Spitting in the Face of Everyone Murdered on 9/11,” writes Blitz, a self-described “anti-jihadist newspaper.”
That level of anger is not uncommon among New Yorkers who blame Islam, rather than just Al-Qaeda or other militant groups, for 9/11 and the global confrontation with the United States.
“This is the wrong neighborhood to put the mosque in,” Scott Rachelson, 59, said as he went to his office. Mr Rachelson, who works with people seeking compensation over 9/11 related damages, said his life changed forever the day that two hijacked airliners smashed into Manhattan.
“I was here. For me, and everyone else who was here, we have post-traumatic stress disorder,” he said. “It feels like yesterday.”
A woman living in the apartment building next to the proposed mosque said she couldn’t accept the project.
“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me a little nervous,” said Jennifer Wood, 36, as she took her young son for a walk. “It seems a little in the face, a little too much too soon. I don’t know why it has to be here — this is a big city.”
Published in the Telegraph: