Via the AP/New York Post:
ALBANY – New York Gov. David Paterson offered state help Tuesday if the developers of a proposed mosque near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks agree to move the project farther from the site.
Paterson, a Democrat, said that he doesn’t oppose the project as planned but indicated that he understands where opponents are coming from. He said he was willing to intervene to seek other suitable state property if the developers agreed.
“I think it’s rather clear that building a center there meets all the requirements, but it does seem to ignite an immense amount of anxiety among the citizens of New York and people everywhere, and I think not without cause,” Paterson said in a news conference in Manhattan.
“I am very sensitive to the desire of those who are adamant against it to see something else worked out,” Paterson said.
The developers declined to comment. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who last week made an impassioned defense of the project planned for lower Manhattan, also had no immediate comment.
Paterson said he expects the state Public Service Commission, which must sign off on the project, to follow the law and not politics in its review.
Paterson noted that “we really are still suffering in many respects” from Sept. 11 and that impassioned feelings were bound to emerge from a mosque just a couple of blocks from where nearly 3,000 people died at the hands of Muslim extremists.
Um, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the state of New York already broke? Not only that, but does Paterson believe that an offer of state money aka NY taxpayer dollars to the Islamic developer to move the site of the mosque to more neutral ground is going to make those who already oppose it happy?
Think this is bad? Well, believe it or not, it gets worse. Fox News reports:
An advocacy group fighting the so-called Ground Zero Mosque has called on the State Department to back off plans to sponsor the imam of that controversial mosque on an upcoming trip to the Middle East.
State Department officials confirmed Monday that the administration would pick up the tab for Feisal Abdul Rauf’s trip, which they described as part of a program to send Muslims abroad to educate other countries about the role of religion in the United States. Rauf and his partners are preparing to build a $100 million Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero, the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that left nearly 3,000 dead.
The American Center for Law and Justice objected after learning about the plans. The group said it will file a protest letter with the State Department demanding the government halt its sponsorship of the trip.
“This shows a tremendous lack of judgment on behalf of the State Department; and for the American taxpayers to be funding this global journey is not only wrong, but deeply offensive,” Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the organization, said in a written statement. “It seems with each passing day we learn more disturbing information about this project and the people behind it. We demand that the State Department put a halt to the Imam’s participation in this publicly funded trip.”
Ha. Fat chance of that happening. Like their non-classification of the Taliban as a terrorist organization, the State Dept. thinks they have this one all figured out:
The department is sponsoring Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s visit to Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, where he will discuss Muslim life in America and promote religious tolerance, spokesman P.J. Crowley said. He said the imam had been on two similar trips and that plans for the upcoming tour predated the mosque controversy.
“We have a long-term relationship with him,” Crowley told reporters, noting that Rauf had visited Bahrain, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in 2007 and went to Egypt last January as part of an exchange program run by the State Department’s Office of International Information Programs.
“His work on tolerance and religious diversity is well-known and he brings a moderate perspective to foreign audiences on what it’s like to be a practicing Muslim in the United States,” Crowley said.
Crowley said that during the trip Rauf will not be allowed to raise funds for the proposed Islamic Center and mosque near ground zero that has drawn opposition from some who say a mosque near the site is disrespectful to those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Crowley said the Obama administration has no position on Rauf’s plans, which he termed a local zoning matter for New York. But he acknowledged that the State Department had posted a transcript of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Aug. 3 speech defending the project on a website that it runs for foreign audiences.
“We posted it because we thought it was useful for people overseas to understand perspectives on this issue,” Crowley said. “We certainly support what the mayor was underscoring, which is the history of religious diversity and religious tolerance in his city.”
In addition to the original English language version of Bloomberg’s speech, the department has posted Arabic and Farsi translations of the remarks in which the mayor adamantly rejected opposition to the mosque.
Interesting. So much for spokesdude Robert Fibbs’ in initial claim about the Ground Zero mosque being a “local issue” of New Yorkers to decide on.
And a show of hands how many of you out there think this radical imam will abide by being “forbidden” from raising $$ for the Ground Zero mosque on our collective dime?
Didn’t think so.
Hey Mr. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: Can I borrow that “reset” button for a minute, please?