After rumblings last week that a ruling by the Landmarks Preservation Commission might halt plans for a mosque near ground zero, the proposal is now being protested by upset relatives of 9/11 victims. At a community-board hearing held downtown Tuesday night, opponents of the mosque held up photos of loved ones killed in the attacks and held signs with messages like “Honor 3,000, 9/11 — No mosque.”
“It’s an insult. It’s demeaning to build a shrine to the very ideology that attacked the World Trade Center,” said one attendee.
And a Queens man who fled from Pakistan to the U.S. 40 years ago said he is nervous that the mosque could become a “training ground for terrorists.”
“I don’t like it,” he said of the plan. “I’m afraid that what happened in India to me will happen to my children.”
Still, there were individuals present in favor of the mosque, the Post says, who stressed that it was important to keep an open mind, claiming that rejecting the plan represented a form of “bigotry and hatred.” While the community board has no official power over whether the estimated $100 million mosque moves ahead, it is likely to significantly impact public opinion of the project.
Update: Despite the protests, the community board ended up backing the proposal to build the mosque by a 29-1 vote with ten abstentions, after a four-hour discussion with over 100 people testifying both in favor of and against the plan.