Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque...

I recently paid a visit to the infamous "Ground Zero mosque" (aka: the Cordoba House, since renamed "Park 51") to see with my own eyes what is really happening there.

To begin with, the former Burlington Coat Factory building - destroyed by wreckage from one of the jets hitting the World Trade Center on 9/11 - is fairly unremarkable. It is just down the street (two blocks) from Ground Zero and definitely within its "sphere of influence," as government regulators and bureaucrats are want to call proximity.

There are low-level protests taking place on a daily basis, and pro- and anti-mosque debates spontaneously ebb and flow in front of the building.

The daily debate (and protest) in front of Park 51 (aka: the Ground Zero mosque)...

The larger debate, nationally and globally, continues on. During tonight's edition of the John Batchelor Show, we discussed the issues with journalist Claudia Rossett (as well as her recent article, "Ground Zero Mosque: The Bombast of Imam Feisal.")

The mosque's neighborhood (Ground Zero is at the center of photo/end of street)...

During the John Batchelor Show, I was alerted to breaking news: the mosque's "imam" was on CNN's Larry King Show (being hosted by Soledad O'Brien), blaming politicians for the uproar. From CNN:

Asked why he wanted to build the center on the planned spot, Rauf noted he's already run a mosque about 10 blocks from ground zero for many years.

When asked about the feelings of families of 9/11 victims - such as those who might claim that their relative's remains have yet to be found at the site, Raufsaid: "This is not that spot. This is not ground zero proper. No one's body is in that location."

"I'm very sensitive to those feelings," he said. "As an imam - as any religious person does - we have to minister to the pain and hurt ... in our communities. This is part of our intention."

During the show, a producer emailed me the following (telling) note:

"The Imam Rauf just yelled at Soledad O’Brien, "This is Not Sacred Ground…There are strip clubs there!” So much for the bridge –building."

So much, indeed...

Some of the materials laid out in front of the building by pro-mosque protesters (including pro-Cuba and Che Guevara items)...

Additional Ground Zero mosque video:

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