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.”
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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.”