Is the Ground Zero Mosque Moving?


Both CBS New York and Haaretz have unnamed sources whispering in their ears that developers and Muslim leaders are on the verge of abandoning plans for the Cordoba Initiative/Park51/Mosque That Ate August. But Park51's Twitter account, and statements from developer Sharif El-Gamal, say the project is staying put.

CBS New York:

CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer has learned it looks as if the developers of the mosque may be willing to budge and move away from the Park 51 location where they originally planned the construction.

Kramer adds that Governor Paterson plans to meet with developers "as early as this week" to offer state land.


Sources in New York said on Monday that Muslim religious and business leaders will announce plans to abandon the project in the next few days.

Park51's Twitter account on Tuesday:

We're moving ahead with current plans.

The group also apologized and said it has replaced an intern who previously was staffing its Twitter feed, after some clumsy jokes were aimed at Haaretz and the Amish.

The Observer's interview with Park51 developer Sharif El-Gamal::

In truth, his commitment to building an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan seems to grow in direct proportion to the level of controversy fomented by his opponents. They might want to take note.

"I don't give up," Mr. El-Gamal said. "I don't quit. It's just not in my DNA."

Meanwhile, Ross Douthat weighs in in the Times with a page from John Edwards's "two Americas":

This is typical of how these debates usually play out. The first America tends to make the finer-sounding speeches, and the second America often strikes cruder, more xenophobic notes. The first America welcomed the poor, the tired, the huddled masses; the second America demanded that they change their names and drop their native languages, and often threw up hurdles to stop them coming altogether. The first America celebrated religious liberty; the second America persecuted Mormons and discriminated against Catholics.

The Huffington Post says the mosque's imam has actually been helping the FBI with its counter-terrorism efforts:

For those who actually know or have worked with the imam, the descriptions are frighteningly — indeed, depressingly — unhinged from reality. The Feisal Abdul Rauf they know spent the past decade fighting against the very same cultural divisiveness and religious-based paranoia that currently surrounds him.

Keith Olbermann draws a comparison between Pastor Martin Niemöller's "First they came" speech and the public intolerance towards the mosque.

Niemöller was not warning of the Holocaust. He was warning of the willingness of a seemingly rational society to condone the gradual stoking of enmity towards an ethnic or religious group or more than one, warning of the building-up of a collective pool of national fear and hate, warning of the moment when the need to purge outstrips even the parameters of the original scapegoating, when new victims are needed because a country has begun to run on a horrible fuel of hatred, magnified, amplified, multiplied by politicians and zealots within government and without.

And, for the flip side of Holocaust allusions on this controversy, Pat Buchanan thinks Newt Gingrich went too far in comparing the mosque developers to Nazis.

How do you get more attention than Sarah Palin, who's very good at this, is to go two steps further. I mean, I think bringing the Nazis into the argument is always absurd in American politics because there is no valid comparison there. And secondly, you know, you bring that in and that's all we start talking about.

Muslim leaders to abandon plans for Ground Zero community center [Haaretz via Daily Beast]
Ground Zero Mosque On The Move? [CBS New York]
Meet the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Developer [NYO]