Saudi Billionaire Doesn’t Want a Mosque Near Ground Zero

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A long time ago, like 50 or so news cycles ago, there was a really big controversy by a plan for an Islamic community center downtown, near the former site of the World Trade Center. Fox News and conservative politicians did not like the plan, and some warned that if the "Ground Zero mosque" was built, it would be a victory for terrorists because the imam behind the mosque was funded by a shadowy Saudi prince. Then, to the cheers of the Internet (or at least these parts), The Daily Show proved that Fox News was full of it because the shadowy prince was Alwaleed bin Talal, the second-largest shareholder in News Corp. and a friend of Rupert Murdoch. Fox News said nothing.

But now Prince Bin Talal speaks! “I have been associated with this mosque in New York, but frankly speaking, I have nothing to do with it,” he said in an interview with the Times. “I’m not for putting that mosque there.”

He added that it was out of "respect" for Islam (it would be too close to a strip club) and relatives of 9/11 victims (because they would be antagonized).

He doesn't really care what Fox says, and can (literally) afford to laugh at Jon Stewart. “It’s funny, it’s like a joke," he said, when asked about the Daily Show segment on him. "I take these things very lightly.” It's good to see that a royal Saudi tycoon worth $2.3 billion isn't threatened by a short Jewish comedian who just wants everyone to come to a rally and make nice.

Fox News Insinuates, but Investor Shrugs It Off [NYT]