Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pamela Geller Equates Building Mosque With 9/11 Attacks

Pamela Geller, who had been leading the opposition against the construction of a mosque and community center near Ground Zero, the Park51/Cordoba House project, is busy equating building mosques with the second wave of 9/11 attacks.

This couldn't be any further from reality or the facts. There's nothing about the Cordoba House project that is related to 9/11 other than the proximity to Ground Zero. Those involved in the development of the community center and mosque (which received all the necessary approvals from the local community board and Landmarks Preservation Commission) have no relationship to the 9/11 attackers other than their religion being Muslim.

What Geller and her supporters are suggesting is that all Muslims are behind the attacks, rather than a specific subset of Islamists who seek to impose their worldview on all nonbelievers - including fellow Muslims who do not practice Islam the way they do.

She will be appearing before CPAC, Conservative Political Action Conference next month and headline a panel entitled: "The Ground Zero Mosque: The Second Wave of the 9/11 Attacks", which is also a movie created by Geller and Robert Spencer.

After the movie, the duo will discuss how to stop what they characterize as an Islamic supremacist mega-mosque at Ground Zero.

Of course, this isn't a mega-mosque and it isn't at Ground Zero, but the facts are not getting in their way. The site of the proposed community center is 49/51 Park Place, which is two blocks north of Ground Zero and the proposed center would provide all manner of amenities that the Lower Manhattan community and financial district need - a pool, community center, theater, and other public spaces akin to the 92nd Street Y or the JCC of Manhattan. That's what the Park51/Cordoba House project modeled their proposal on, and Geller and Spencer have repeatedly lied and manipulated the media cover to mischaracterize the project.

For example, they say that the project is taking place at Ground Zero, but Park Place is not within the confines of the 16 acres that comprises Ground Zero. Nor will Park51 somehow overshadow and dominate Ground Zero. Mind you that the Park51 site would be a 13 story building that wouldn't even be the tallest on its block, and that the Freedom Tower/1WTC that is being built is now close to 60 stories tall on its way to being the tallest building in the US at 1,776 feet. The other office towers proposed for Ground Zero would each rise more than 1,000 feet and rank among the tallest in the US.

In another setback for Geller and her friends, Judge Paul Feinman rejected FDNY firefighter Timothy Brown's motion for a temporary restraining order on the proposed project.
"We are delighted that the judge is allowing the completion of the community center to go forward," said Adam Leitman Bailey, Soho Properties' attorney. "We are looking forward to the final resolution of the case. May all Americans be able to pray when they want, where they want."

Jack Lester, Brown's attorney, now says the TRO would not have had a major impact on the case since lawyers for the developer stated that the existing site would remain intact for the near term. It was not immediately clear when demolition will begin.

"One of the standards for a TRO is there has to be imminent danger or imminent threat," Lester said. "We were trying to get a TRO to prevent demolition of the building. The case is exactly where it was the day we filed it."

Brown filed a so-called Article 78 lawsuit to overturn the 2010 decision by the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission denying landmark status to the site of the Islamic center and mosque.
A separate motion will be considered in February to decide whether Brown is even entitled to be a party to the action (whether he has standing to sue):
Meanwhile a hearing is scheduled for Feb. 22, when lawyers for the plaintiff will fight a motion to dismiss filed last week by Soho Properties.

In that filing, Soho Properties argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the firefighter is not an injured party due to the Islamic center plan. The developer also noted that the lawsuit named Soho Properties as a defendant, but failed to name the actual owner of the building, 45 Park Place Partners.

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