More than 1,000 protesters gathered at Ground Zero yesterday in opposition to plans for a mosque and Islamic cultural center two blocks away.
“This is in very poor taste,” said C. Lee Hanson. His son, Peter, daughter-in-law and their 2-year-old child died aboard US Air Flight 175, flown into the south tower of the World Trade Center. “When I go down to see the Ground Zero memorial I’ll see that mosque, and that hurts.”
The mosque will be built at 51 Park Place, north of Ground Zero in what used to be a Burlington Coat Factory. Part of a plane crashed through the roof of the building on Sept. 11, 2001. Soho Properties, led by CEO Sharif El-Gamal, bought the property in 2009 for $4.85 million in cash.
“This project will demonstrate that the American Muslim community rejects the violence perpetrated on September 11,” said El-Gamal last week.
“Of all the places in New York City where they could build a mosque, do they have a build it right here?” said Long Island resident Harold Moskowitz, 63. “This will not be viewed as a symbol of their cooperation — they will view it as a symbol of their conquest.”