Cliff May has written an open letter to Mayor Bloomberg regarding the proposal to build an Islamic center two blocks from the former location of the World Trade Center, and on the site of a building damaged by the 9/11 attack. Cliff’s letter avoids unsupported accusations that those who want to build the Islamic center wish to celebrate the 9/11 attacks. He focuses instead on the valid, and sufficient, reasons for not proceeding with the center or at least holding off on it until important questions are answered.
These include the fact that Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the Islamic center project, has said that U.S. policies “were an accessory to the crime that happened.” Cliff reminds Mayor Bloomberg that his predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, turned down a $10 million check from a Saudi prince who had said that America shares blame for the atrocity. How, Cliff asks, is this different?
Cliff also focuses on the important matter of who is paying for the center:
Before this project is approved, surely New Yorkers and other Americans should know who will be picking up the more than $100 million tab. Would you not be distressed were it later to be revealed that funds had been contributed by people who also finance terrorism?
Beyond the question of financing terrorism, there is also the issue of whether the center’s backers, and Abdul Rauf himself, favor the “inter-faith cooperation” that this center supposedly will promote. To probe this issue, Cliff provides the mayor with some pointed questions Abdul Rauf should have to answer in order to dispel (or confirm) substantial concerns that he and his backers endorse a vision that is antithetical to true inter-faith cooperation, and even to religious tolerance.
Stay tuned to see whether Bloomberg responds, but don’t hold your breath.