By Jedediah Bila
I heard you speak briefly about the Ground Zero Mosque on Hannity’s Great American Panel. What’s your full take as a New Yorker? – James; Florida
I oppose the Park51 Islamic center for three main reasons:
1) The proximity of the proposed location to Ground Zero, a mere 560 feet away. Out of sensitivity to those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 – and to their families – the location is downright unnecessary. Not to mention that, as reported by The New York Times, “On Sept. 11, the landing gear assembly of one of the planes used in the attack crashed through the roof of what was then a Burlington Coat Factory” (and is now the proposed site of Park51).
2) The man behind the proposed project, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, has made some outrageous comments with respect to the United States. Like how he said just nineteen days after 9/11, “I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened, but the United States’ policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.”
Or his declaration in 2005 that “We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims.”
What about Rauf’s refusal to label Hamas as a terrorist organization, citing instead that “The issue of terrorism is a very complex question”?
Murder isn’t complex. It’s heinous. And anyone unwilling to instantly label it as such makes me decidedly uncomfortable.
3) Where is the full extent of the funding coming from? Developer Sharif El-Gamal has said, “We will not take money from Iran. We will not take money from Hamas. We will not take money from organizations that have un-American values.”
Pardon me if I’d like to see some proof.
Not to mention that the project may qualify for public financing. That’s your dollar and mine. Shouldn’t some serious questions be answered first?
I experienced 9/11 right along with so many other New Yorkers. I was working across the street from the World Trade Center that morning. I feel incredibly lucky to have missed a memo that would’ve placed me in the South Tower at 9:00 a.m. and would’ve likely cost me my life.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many Muslims who condemn the behavior of the extremists behind the 9/11 attacks and spend their days fighting to honor and protect the America we all love so much.
And I live in the heart of New York City (a.k.a. Lefty Loon Central), in which 63% of New York voters – Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, and liberals alike – oppose the Park51 project.
Bottom line: Location aside, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has quite a bit more explaining to do. While he’s at it, he might want to address reports that he “owns taxpayer-subsidized apartment buildings in Hudson County where the tenants have made municipal health complaints including rat, roach and bedbug infestations, seeping toilets, leaks, urine-soaked hallways, no heat and no hot water.”
Take your time, Rauf. We’ll be waiting.
If Barack Obama were a superhero, who would he be? – Becky; New York City
His name? Captain Redistribution, no doubt. His costume? A nifty suit and tie. His power? The ability to funnel one person’s money to another with the stroke of a pen. His motto? “Spread the Wealth Around.” His secret identity? The President of the United States.
Captain Redistribution is already alive and well. I’m not sure I’d use the word “superhero,” though. But then again, “elitist fibber who robs you blind while trying to paint himself as Robin Hood, savior in tights” might be a bit long.
I love when you do “media insanity of the week.” Any winners for this week yet? – Adam; California
Mike Lupica has started off the week with a hilarious “news” column for the New York Daily News titled “Shock jock Glenn Beck has a dream: Turn rightward toward God and ‘restore honor’ to U.S.”
Some highlights from Lupica’s column include:
“Beck. Big honor hunter. He probably wants to dress up like the guy who used to hunt crocodiles on television.”
“In the end, Beck has no real interest in unity or honor, just the best show.”
“Then, of course, there is Palin, the pompom girl for pep rallies like Saturday’s, telling the crowd that she’s an even better American than we knew because, well, she raised a combat veteran.”
“But really Palin should have been talking about her daughter Bristol, on her way to ‘Dancing With the Stars’ in the fall. You want to trace Palin’s DNA, you don’t have to look further than Levi Johnston’s former squeeze.”
As always, Lupica’s political commentary is hilarious. Poor guy. November just might put him over the edge.
Maybe I’ll mail him some “Sarah Palin Unplugged” videos to help cheer him up. It’s the least I could do.