Monday, September 27, 2010

Cordoba House Proponents Propose Gov't Oversight On Financing Sources

One of the criticisms over the proposed Cordoba House/Park51 community center and mosque near Ground Zero is the sourcing of the financing for the project.

It's expected to run about $100 million. That money has to come from somewhere, and opponents claim that Imam Rauf and the project backers would take money from terror-groups.

To allay those concerns, Imam Rauf has said that he'd ask the federal government to check the financing sources:
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf told "60 Minutes" that to reduce fears that terror organizations would contribute to the project, he'll ask US officials to approve the sources of funding.

Rauf added that the mosque and Islamic cultural center will have a board of directors that will include Muslims, Christians and Jews.

The olive branch from Rauf came as another proposed mosque in the city -- this one in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn -- became embroiled in controversy yesterday with dozens of protesters waving anti-Islamic signs at the site.
Opposition to building mosques isn't confined to the area around Ground Zero - there is opposition in various locations around the country. A mosque project on Staten Island was killed after local opposition to the sale of a convent raised its profile. However, in that instance, the opposition was warranted because of the group's ties to the Muslim American Society, which had shady ties to fundraising groups with ties to Hamas and other terror groups. The proposed Brooklyn mosque would also be a Muslim American Society project, which can explain some of the outrage.

The opposition to the Cordoba House project has been a clarifying moment - it reveals that the opposition isn't merely about the siting of a mosque near Ground Zero - but goes to whether people are comfortable with Muslims living and praying and congregating in their communities. Some people are still not quite comfortable with the notion of religious freedom and the free exercise of religion. Claiming opposition is based solely on the site’s proximity to Ground Zero when there is similar ongoing opposition to the construction of mosques and Muslim community centers all over the country shows that the issue isn't the proximity to Ground Zero, but a general unwillingness to accept the construction of mosques in areas where there is a growing presence of Muslims.

An increasing number of communities are saying no - and doing so vocally. In one instance, a proposed mosque in Tennessee was the target of arson.
Lab reports indicate that accelerants were used to start and spread the fire, which destroyed an earth mover and damaged three other vehicles at the future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, ATF spokesman Eric Kehn said.

There are no suspects in the arson, which occurred early Saturday morning, Kehn said. The investigation is ongoing and the ATF and FBI are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect or suspects, authorities said at a Friday press conference at the construction site.

"Somebody here in Rutherford County knows what happened here," said Keith Moses, an FBI assistant special agent based in Nashville, at the press conference, which featured representatives from the Islamic center.

"Whether or not we have a civil rights hate crime will be determined once we have a suspect or suspects and a motive," Moses said.

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