This isn't merely the sale of a parcel of property between two religious groups, but the sale between a religious group, the Roman Catholic archdiocese and a group that has noted ties to terror organizations and the group that spawned the likes of Hamas and al Qaeda.
Further complicating matters is the fact that the church didn't send representatives to the meeting, and there's some dispute over whether they were invited or requested a presence there.
Focusing on land use and development issues is a cop-out for the local politicians.
State Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) said Wednesday’s night’s focus should have been more on the land-use issues, such as traffic and parking, and that the tone should have been less accusatory. He added that a residential developer, who would have put just two or three houses on the property, would have put less strain on the area.If the group has ties to terrorist organizations, it shouldn't be getting any kind of support whatsoever and it certainly shouldn't be able to purchase land for a new mosque or community center. It should be shut down.
“I’m not voting against a mosque,” he said. “Whether it’s a CVS, a Duane Reade, a church or a mosque, you’re going to have lots and lots of traffic that street can’t handle anymore.”
Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer (D-East Shore/Brooklyn), said it’s not up to her to intervene.
“I think myself and other government officials realize that this is a private sale between two religious entities and, as such, our role is really limited to maintaining peace and stability in the community,” she said.
Still, if the deal went through, Ms. Hyer-Spencer said she was confident the residents and MAS would eventually mesh. She said she’s already seen it happen in Bay Ridge, where a mosque was built about seven years ago. Though it took about five years, the clashing communities finally appear to be getting along.