The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that Muslim leaders will announce in a few days that they are abandoning plans to build a mosque at the 9/11 Ground Zero site in Lower Manhattan:
Sources in New York said on Monday that Muslim religious and business leaders will announce plans to abandon the project in the next few days.
New York Governor David Patterson said last weekend that Muslim leaders had rejected outright his proposal to swap the site in for another in Manhattan.
But several people familiar with the debate among New York’s Islamic activists now claim that the leaders are convinced abandoning the site is preferable to unleashing a wave of bitterness towards Muslims.
They also hope the move will be seen as a show of sensitivity to families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, and to the American public generally.
Another factor in the apparent climbdown is a lack of funds to pay for construction of the center, estimated to cost a hundred million dollars. Backers hope moving it will lead to a wave of support, accompanied by cash donations.
I had written in a previous post prior to hearing about this report:
If the Muslim leaders behind this effort really want to build understanding between Mulims, Christians and Jews, moving their project to some other location in another part of New York City would be a much better way for them to proceed.
We’ll see if Haaretz’ report turns out to be accurate. It may have taken the enormous outcry over Obama’s support for building the mosque to get the organizers behind the project to realize that the backlash this would create. Whether they are motivated by fear or by a genuine realization of the inappropriateness of the project, abandoning plans to build the mosque would obviously be a good thing.
Even if the project is canceled, Obama’s statements of support will remain a stark reminder of how out of touch the Obama administration is with the will of the American people. It is one thing for intellectuals to be confused about the issue and make it sound like it is a property rights or religious freedom issue.
But the President of the United States should be capable of understanding the pain felt by families of 9/11 victims and the outrage felt by more than seventy percent of Americans at the idea of a mosque in the place where parts of one of the planes and presumably body parts of victims fell. He should grasp that Ground Zero should be accorded at least the same respect as the battlefields of the Civil War.
This is a defining moment for President Obama and one that will leave many Americans who previously supported him finally realizing that we have an ideological “alien in the White House“.