The Ground Zero Mosque Project Is Back

The news was buried under two dense paragraphs and five large photos in an article in New York YIMBY about a different project: “Construction has also yet to begin on 51 Park Place, which is slated to become a 71-foot-tall, 16,000-square-foot Islamic cultural center.”  The infamous Ground Zero Mosque project, a long buried effort to build a triumphal mosque at the site of the worst jihad terror attack in American history, is back.

Construction has yet to begin, but it will: the shady developer behind the Ground Zero Mosque scheme, Sharif El-Gamal, has been working to build this sinister structure for years.

We defeated the Ground Zero Mosque project once before.  The 16-story mosque that El-Gamal initially planned to build there has not been built.  Our efforts in showing what an insult it was to the American people and to the victims of 9/11, and how many Muslims worldwide would inevitably view it as a triumphal mosque built on the site of a jihad attack, defeated it.  Tens of thousands of people came out for our rallies in lower Manhattan against this celebration of this 9/11 attacks, and El-Gamal was beaten in the court of public opinion.

It was a long battle.  President Obama announced his support for the mosque at an Iftar dinner, no less.  Then-mayor of New York City and current presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg supported the mosque as well, claiming hysterically that “if we don’t build it, the terrorists will win!”  The media actively campaigned for it — the elites in their increasingly fragile ivory towers relentlessly stumped for the Cordoba mosque (euphemistically called an Islamic center with a prayer space) for years.

And yet despite all this opposition and much more, the people stood up and fought the Ground Zero Mosque and won.  An army of Davids.

But that wasn’t the end of the story.  Crains New York reported on El-Gamal’s new project in 2015 in a story that demonstrated how the developer was hoping to sneak his triumphal mosque into existence: “Mr. El-Gamal’s Soho Properties has proposed a 667-foot condominium tower at lower Manhattan’s 45 Park Place.  The glass skyscraper, which has yet to break ground, will include at least 15 full-floor units of 3,200 to 3,700 square feet, and average prices higher than $3,000 a square foot, according to plans released to Bloomberg by the developer.”

That sounded normal enough.  But then the article added: “Adjacent to the tower, Soho Properties will build a public plaza connected to a three-story Islamic museum and prayer space.”  An Islamic prayer space is a mosque.  The article also said: “An Islamic museum ‘is just as much of an insult,’ Pamela Geller, a blogger and one of the center’s most vocal opponents, wrote in an email.  ‘It will be like having a museum touting the glories of the Japanese Empire at Pearl Harbor.'”

I think an Islamic museum at Ground Zero dedicated to the half-billion victims of jihadi wars, land appropriations, sharia, cultural annihilations, enslavements, and sharia enforcement is an excellent idea, but is that what Sharif El-Gamal had in mind?  Of course not.  And how did El-Gamal plan to finance this?  The answer was predictable.  The New York Post reported in May 2016 that “the developer of the failed Ground Zero Mosque has nailed down ‘Sharia-compliant financing’ for a new, luxury condominium tower and Islamic cultural museum on the same site, he and his banking partners said.”

Then in May 2017, the New York Times ran a story entitled “Condo Tower to Rise Where Muslim Community Center Was Proposed.”  The Times said that “45 Park Place, a 43-story condominium that will soon rise three blocks from the World Trade Center,” was “something of a consolation prize for the developer,” as it “replaces the developer’s 2010 plan to build a 15-story Islamic mosque and cultural center on this site, an idea that erupted into a national controversy and cable news network bonanza.”

In the last couple of years, there has been virtually no news about this “Islamic museum.”  But the New York YIMBY story shows that the project has been advancing under cover of darkness.  A 71-foot-tall structure is three stories high, as in the revised plans announced in 2015.

El-Gamal has many friends and allies among New York City’s political and media elites.  It is likely that de Blasio city officials and the New York Times and other city papers all met with El-Gamal and agreed to keep the reporting on this project to an absolute minimum, so that it could get built without incurring the righteous anger of the public again.  The first time around, they courted publicity and tried to make El-Gamal a hero.  We demolished that and destroyed their plans.  So now they’ve clearly decided to go ahead surreptitiously.

It is disgusting that El-Gamal continues to taunt Americans and poke at America’s most egregious recent memory.  El-Gamal was there when we had tens of thousands in the streets opposing his Ground Zero mosque.  He knows how angry and upset people get at these Islamic structures on the site of jihad war.  The 9/11 Muslim terrorists extolled Allah no fewer than 90 times in their last letters.  Will those letters be on display at this Islamic cultural center/museum?

There is an important lesson to be learned here — and one we would be wise to adopt.  They never stop.  No matter how absolutely they lose, how many setbacks they suffer, they keep on pursuing their supremacist goals.

The Ground Zero Mosque project was and is a middle finger to the American people.  There has never been a mosque of reconciliation and healing built on the site of a jihadi attack.  Ever.  It is, on the other hand, an Islamic pattern to build triumphal mosques on the cherished sites of conquered lands.  History is riddled with triumphal mosques built on the sites of jihad attacks or appropriated from other religions: the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque on the site of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, and innumerable mosques built on the sites of Hindu temples that were demolished by Muslims all attest to that.

And now it looks as if Sharif El-Gamal is going to be able to build his own triumphal mosque at Ground Zero after all.

Ground Zero Mosque Developers Seek Federal Funds

The Daily Beast reports:

Developers of the controversial Park51 Islamic community center and mosque located two blocks from Ground Zero earlier this month applied for roughly $5 million in federal grant money set aside for the redevelopment of lower Manhattan after the attacks of September 11th, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The audacious move stands to reignite the embers of a divisive debate that dominated headlines surrounding the ninth anniversary of the attacks this fall, say people vested in the issue.

The application was submitted under a “community and cultural enhancement” grant program administered by the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corporation (LMDC), which oversaw the $20 billion in federal aid allocated in the wake of 9/11 and is currently doling out millions in remaining taxpayer funds for community development. The redevelopment board declined to comment on the application (as did officials from Park51), citing the still ongoing and confidential process of determining the grant winners.

While news of the application has not previously been made public, developer Sharif El-Gamal outlined it in closed-door meetings, according to two individuals he spoke with directly. The thirtysomething, Brooklyn-born El-Gamal is motivated more by real estate ambition—one of these sources describes him as aspiring to be the next Donald Trump—than Islamic theology or ideology. Park51’s developers clearly had a legal right to apply for the grant. A list of Frequently Asked Questions that accompanied the application specifically states that religious organizations can make funding requests for capital projects “as long as the request is for a facility or portion of a facility that is dedicated to non-religious activities or uses.” According to an individual familiar with the Park51 application, it requests funds to cover a number of cultural, educational and community development aspects of the proposed 13-story building—but the prayer room is excluded from the grant application.

But the question on whether they could have is trumped by the question of whether they should have. The stated aim of the Park51 developers is to provide a community center for lower Manhattan’s 4,000 Muslim residents. Their own website explained that they understood the need to “appeal to the undecided, and change the conversation about Muslims in America.” It’s pretty clear that this play for federal dollars will generate none of that, starting with the lack of disclosure or community consultation before developers submitted their application, which was due November 5th.

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