Developers of the Park51 Islamic community center and mosque, which has come to be known as the "ground zero mosque” two blocks from the site for the World Trade Center in New York City, appear to be tone deaf to the groundswell of opposition to the project. They have applied for about $5 million in federal grant money allocated for the redevelopment of lower Manhattan after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to The Daily Beast
, quoting what it described as two knowledgeable sources.
“The audacious move stands to reignite the embers of a divisive debate that dominated headlines surrounding the ninth anniversary of the attacks this fall, say people vested in the issue,” the news service states.
"If Imam Feisal [Abdul Rauf, whose idea it was for the mosque] and his retinue want to know why they're not trusted, here's yet another reason,” says Irshad Manji, director of the Moral Courage Project at New York University. “The New Yorkers I speak with have questions about Park51. Requesting money from public coffers without engaging the public shows a staggering lack of empathy, especially from a man who says he's all about dialogue."
Although formal plans have not been announced for Park51, conceptual sketches portray a futuristic-looking building wrapped in a honeycomb of abstract shapes, with a core containing far more space for secular pursuits than religious worship. Cost estimates range around $100 million.
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