Park 51 developers have unveiled a few renderings of what they have planned for their controversial community center. The designs, by consultants SOMA Architects, aim to be hip, futuristic and architecturally forward-thinking while incorporating some traditional motifs common in Arabic architecture.
While it certainly doesn’t hurt to have plans for an impressive looking structure, do these drawings do anything to lessen the ire of the mosque’s detractors?
What do you think? Do you feel any better about Park51 in our area having seen what it could look like?
The Imam behind the Park51 development hopes that opening his books will open hearts for his Islamic community center.
In an effort to bolster fundraising and ease any suspicion towards the $100 million dollar price tag for the Park51 Islamic community center, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has allowed the US Government to sign off on all donations made to the development.
Also, according to a report in today’s New York Post, Rauf stated that “the mosque and Islamic cultural center will have a board of directors that will include Muslims, Christians and Jews.” This may be seen as yet another olive branch towards easing dissent towards building a mosque and islamic center near Ground Zero.
The inclusion of an inter-faith board of directors might have been in response to Julie Menin, Chairwoman of Community Board 1’s open column in the Daily News calling for a revised interfaith plan for the Park51 development. In that column Menin states, “I believe it is still possible to bridge the gap without compromising the core principles of what this project is about — not by moving the mosque further away from the site of the attacks, but by bringing other faiths in.”
How do you feel about the US Government being allowed to sign off on all donations made to the Park51 development?
Hisham Elzanaty, the developer and single largest investor in the Park51 Islamic community center vows to move forward with developing a mosque near Ground Zero.
Elzanaty has received national attention in previous weeks after receiving two offers to buy out his stakes in the development from both Donald Trump and the World Chess Federation.
Having spoken only through his attorney, Elzanaty has broke his silence admitting that the mosque was indeed his idea and that he “felt it was a great place for people to pray” and that he “didn’t expect this commotion, this hate, this anger,” according a report from the Daily News.
According to the same article, Elzanaty’s parents were victims of the EgyptAir crash in 1999 and could relate to the plights of 9/11 families having been personally affected by a terrorist attack. “I am one of them. I lived this two years before they did. I will never do anything to harm America.”
Fox 5 News in New York did an exclusive interview with Elzanaty below:
Not one to sit idly on the political sidelines, Michael Moore has called for the building of a mosque not near Ground Zero, but on Ground Zero.
“Why?” Moore asks on his official website, “Because I believe in an America that protects those who are the victims of hate and prejudice. I believe in an America that says you have the right to worship whatever God you have, wherever you want to worship. And I believe in an America that says to the world that we are a loving and generous people and if a bunch of murderers steal your religion from you and use it as their excuse to kill 3,000 souls, then I want to help you get your religion back. And I want to put it at the spot where it was stolen from you.”
After publishing the letter over the weekend, on the 9th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Michael Moore has reported that he has collected $50,000 dollars towards the cause. The proceeds of which will go to Park51’s fundraising efforts which started last week.
The entire cost to build the Islamic community center at Park Place is approximately $100 million dollars.
Amidst this win for the Cordoba Initiative, Park51’s Imam has been “exploring all options” in regards to the controversial mosque and community center. One of the options on the table includes an indefinite postponement of development.
According to an article published in The New York Times the Imam is quoted as saying, â€œWe really are focused on solving it, and solving it in a way that will create the best possible outcome for all. I give you my pledge.â€
It seems we havent heard the last from Donald Trump in regards to his bid to buy the Park51 site.
Although the purported majority stakeholder, Hisham Elzanaty rebuffed Trump’s bid to buy out his stake last week — Trump made a nationwide concession on the Today Show that his deal is still on the table.
Trump offered the bid but also made a backhanded insult to our area, stipulating that his bid was not because he “the location was a spectacular one (because it is not).”
While touting a new season of “The Apprentice,” Trump explained the motivation behind his bid. “I’ve seen the turmoil downtown and it’s going to get worse. This is a small time developer who is really into it for the money.”
In response to Trump’s offer, Elzanaty’s lawyer called the bid, “just a cheap attempt to get publicity and get in the limelight.”
“There won’t be a mosque.” Trump went on to elaborate, “This is a small time developer who is really into it for the money. He hasn’t said yes — but in my opinion, he’s going to sell.”
Trump then went on to admit, “But what do I know about real estate?”
As we head into tomorrow’s 9th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the New York Post has published a morbid map which argues the boundaries of Ground Zero can be determined by where human remains were discovered.
TheÂ article was written in response to the proximity of the Park51 Islamic Community Center and whether or not the area is far enough from the site of the terror attacks in New York City.
According to the article, “The map was obtained by The Post from sources after the Fire Department did not respond to requests to review it. It shows that remains were found just 348 feet to the south of the mosque site at 45 Park Place, on top of the massive post-office building that stretches along Barclay Street, from Church Street to West Broadway.”
1,123 victims of the World Trade Center attacks have yet to be identified by remains. 21,812 remains have been found and catalogued at the Fresh Kills Landfill, yet a little more than half have been identified.
But the map is only a partial glimpse of the scope of the search for remains. The vast majority of the 21,812 remains were culled from debris sorted at the Fresh Kills Landfill. Of those remains, only 12,771 have been identified so far.
For more information on the statistics, read the original article here.
Real Estate Mogul Donald Trump has offered to purchase the site where the Park51 Islamic Community Center stands.
A letter dated today was sent to the property owners via email with a statement:
“I am making this offer as a resident of New York and citizen of the United States, not because I think the location is a spectacular one (because it is not), but because it will end a very serious, inflammatory, and highly divisive situation,” Trump wrote to Hisham Elzanaty an owner who has the majority financing over the proposed site.
Building records show that the building at 45 Park Place has sold for $4.85 million in July 2009. Â According to previous statements by Elzanaty, “Develop it, raze it, sell it. If someone wants to give me $18 or 20 million dollars today, its all theirs.”
Elezanaty’s attorney made a public comment claiming Trump’s offer was merely a publicity stunt, calling the offer “laughable” and said it was not a serious one.
Park51 spokesperson confirms allegations made by Pastor Jones is false on Twitter.
“Official: It is untrue that Park51 is being moved. The project is moving ahead as planned. What is being reported in the media is false.”
5:53PM UPDATE: According to the NYTimes:
“Mr. Jones claimed that Mr. Rauf â€œhas agreed to move the location.â€ He added:
That cannot of course happen overnight, but he has agreed to do itâ€¦. The imam has agreed to move the mosque and we have agreed to cancel our event on Saturday. And on Saturday I will be flying up there to meet with him.”
Confirmation has not been received from Park51 spokespersons or the Imam himself. Story is still developing.
We have just received word that Imam Feisal Abdul Raif has just indicated that he will move the Park51 Community Center away from its initial local at 45-51 Park Place. The location was located 2 blocks from the World Trade Center site.
In light of the nationwide call for Koran burning, Imam Feisal Abdul Raif had asked what it would take to stop the burning, and thus agreed he will be move the planned Islamic community center and mosque.
Pastor Jones made the announcement in front of nationwide media, but has not yet been confirmed by the Imam himself.
Although freedom of religion has been an important point in the debate surrounding the Park51 development, a new Quinnipiac Poll has been released confirming that New York voters defer to the sensitivities of 9/11 families.
According to the poll:
“By a 54 – 40 percent majority, voters agree “that because of American freedom of religion, Muslims have the right to build the mosque near Ground Zero,” the independent poll finds. Another 7 percent are undecided.
But these same voters agree 53 – 39 percent, with 8 percent undecided, “that because of the sensitivities of 9/11 relatives, Muslims should not be allowed to build the mosque near Ground Zero.
And by a 71 – 21 percent majority, voters agree “that because of the opposition of Ground Zero relatives, the Muslim group should voluntarily build the mosque somewhere else.
By a 45 – 31 percent margin, New York State voters say they have a “generally favorable” opinion of Islam, with 24 percent undecided.
The heated, sometimes angry, debate over the proposal to build a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero has New York State voters twisted in knots, with some of them taking contradictory positions depending on how the question is asked,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
A majority agrees that American freedom of religion gives Muslims the right to build the mosque near the site of the terrorist attack. Republicans disagree 54 – 39 percent.
Because of the sensitivities of relatives of the terrorist victims, an almost identical majority, including many of the same voters, believes Muslims should not be allowed to open the mosque.Overwhelmingly, across all party and regional lines, New Yorkers say the sponsors ought to voluntarily move the proposed mosque to another location,” Carroll added.
New York City voters say 63 – 28 percent that mosque proponents should voluntarily choose another site, compared to 76 – 17 percent among upstate voters and the same 76 – 17 percent among suburban voters.”