Rudy Giuliani delivered a passionate, reasoned argument on NBC’s “Today” show against the Muslim mosque planned near ground zero.
"This project is divisive," said the ex-New York mayor, who was in office on 9/11. "This project is creating tremendous pain for people who've already made the ultimate sacrifice. All you're doing is creating more division, more anger, more hatred."
Giuliani acknowledges that the project can legally be built, but that doesn’t mean it should be built. Backers of the mosque say it can be a site of interfaith healing. But how is that possible when the mosque upsets relatives of the Sept. 11 victims, Giuliani asks.
"The question here is a question of sensitivity and are you really what you pretend to be," he said.
"The idea of this is supposed to be healing, the idea that Muslims care about what Christians and Jews do. ... If you're going to so horribly offend the people who are most directly affected by this, then how are you healing?"
And it may all be for naught, as finding money to finance the mosque and builders to construct it will be difficult, Giuliani explains.
He also has questions about the imam who planned the project, Feisal Abdul Rauf – is he a moderate or is he an extremist?
"I'm confused by the imam. I see all the things that you're saying,” Giuliani told “Today” host Matt Lauer. “But I also see a man that says America was an accessory to Sept. 11."
Those quotes are troubling, Giuliani points out.
“But here's what troubles me more: if he's truly about healing he will not go forward with this project because this project is not healing," he said. "This project is creating tremendous pain for people who paid the ultimate sacrifice."
Giuliani likes New York Gov. David Paterson’s suggestion to compromise by finding another place to build a mosque.
Last week the Democratic governor said he would help mosque developers find a new location, possibly on state land.
The developers rejected that idea, so Paterson asked for a chance to meet with them. Nothing has happened on that front yet, he told NBC New York.
"That would be their choice. I'm making myself available,” Paterson said.
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