Paterson to meet with imam and developer
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|Tue, 08-17-2010 - 1:02pm|
Since the other thread is so long now, and this part is not about Obama, I'm posting it here.
David Paterson to meet with mosque imam, developer
Aug. 17, 2010
New York Gov. David Paterson (D) will meet with the imam and developer of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero "later this week" to discuss the possibility of removing the mosque to an "alternate location", according to Rep. Peter King (R).
King, an outspoken opponent of placing the mosque and Islamic cultural center so close to where terrorists attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, learned about the meeting during a phone call with Paterson Tuesday morning.
A spokesman for Paterson confirmed that efforts to broker a solution are underway. "We are working with the developers on a staff level but there have not been any formal discussions between the governor and Imam or developer," said spokesman Morgan Hook. "However, we expect to have a meeting scheduled in the near future."
The issue, which had been bubbling in New York City for months, took on a national profile on Friday when President Obama seemed to offer a tacit endorsement of the construction by expressing support for religious freedom in the country.
Less than 24 hours later, however, Obama made clear he had not meant to talk specifically about any one mosque but rather his comments were meant as a broad statement about the need for religious tolerance.
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), who faces a tough re-election race this fall, issued a statement in which he declared support for moving the mosque to an alternate location.
Republicans -- particularly those looking at running for president in 2012 -- have hammered away at Obama and Democrats for insensitivity and ignoring the wishes of families of some of those killed in the attacks.
Last week, Paterson offered state assistance if the mosque's developers would agree to move the project farther from the site -- an idea they rejected. Paterson said that, while he had "no objection" to the project as planned, he was "very sensitive to the desire of those who are adamant against it to see something else worked out."
"I think it's rather clear that building a center there meets all the requirements, but it does seem to ignite an immense amount of anxiety among the citizens of New York and people everywhere, and I think not without cause," Paterson said at an Aug. 10 news conference in Manhattan, according to published reports. He noted that "we really are still suffering in many respects" from the Sept. 11 attacks.
The developer rejected the offer. "While we have a tremendous amount of respect for our governor... this has always been about serving Lower Manhattan," mosque developer Sharif El-Gamal said, according to reports.