I am a native New Yorker. I also volunteered at Ground Zero for six months.
Still, I was surprised by just how close the proposed mosque is to Ground Zero. The block was closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic so this photo was taken at the corner of Park Place and Church Street.
If you leave the proposed location, walk a few feet and turn onto Church Street, you can see Ground Zero. From that corner, you can almost hear the reading of the names of the nearly 3,000 people who died in the Twin Towers.
The location begs the question: Why there?
There are a lot of luxury rentals and condos in Lower Manhattan. It strains credulity to suggest that a community of Wall Streeters and yuppies is the target audience.
So why there?
I interviewed several protesters. No one questions the developers’ constitutional right to build. What they do question is the lack of sensitivity to 9/11 families and the nearly 70 percent of Americans who oppose the mosque.
As one person told me:
We will never forget. They want to put a flag on the top of that building and say they conquered us.
The concerns about the true motives were echoed by Ed Stevens, who along with 13 members of the English Defense League, traveled to New York City from the United Kingdom.
Ed told me he’s seen this movie before:
Everything that’s going on here has been going on in the UK for some time…It’s their way or the highway. They are abusing America’s freedom and tolerance.
And we know the sequel is never as good as the original.
No Ground Zero mosque. Not there, not now, not ever.