As the rain poured outside, people poured inside the New York City Landmarks Commission public hearing. Despite the inclement weather nearly 100 people were in attendance at the hearing in Hunter College. A dozen or so individuals were able to take the floor including public opponent and New York State Governor hopeful Rick Lazio — who offered a different strategy to halt the Mosque’s construction by claiming the building at Park Place was worthy of landmark recognition. Even citing debris that had fallen on the building during the 9/11 attacks.
“I urge the commission to grant landmark status to 45 Park Place, [to] take into account important historical facts.”
Gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino was also represented by his lieuenant governor Tom Ognibene who agreed with Lazio stating the building of the mosque would beÂ ”an affront to the families that have died.”
Linda Rivera, a family member of a 9/11 victim suggested, “the building should be a landmark building. It should not be a mosque.”
Brooklyn resident, Barbara Sommer decried the sentiments and questioned “How can we allow something to eradicate that memory — the pain and suffering.”
While nearly a dozen others voiced their opinions at the hearing, a religious turf war had been established when Bill Keller of LivePrayer.comÂ (of no relation to the New York Times editor) had sent out a press release stating he would bid on creating a Christian center within the heart of Ground Zero. As of yesterday, his site had been actively seeking donations to fund the construction and is slated to start a satellite prayer center at the Embassy Suites hotel in the northern section of our neighborhood every Sunday starting September 5th until December 26th — until a final home has been found for the Christian center. (I wonder if the group knows that Goldman Sachs is planning on closing the hotel down soon?)
It seems our neighborhood has become a religious battle ground overnight. Are we OK with this?