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Muslim leaders to abandon Ground Zero mosque?

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Muslim leaders to abandon Ground Zero mosque?

Considering all of the controversy swirling around the Ground Zero mosque, this is a somewhat unsurprising turn of events — and of course, the right thing to do. Haaretz reported that an official statement will be made this week backing down on the mosque and agreeing to find a new location. Let’s hope…

After weeks of heated debate over plans for an Islamic community center near Ground Zero – the site of the 9/11 attacks on New York – it seems Muslim leaders will soon back down, agreeing to move to a new site.

The decision follows a high-profile campaign against the project that included advertisements on New York buses showing images of the burning Twin Towers, an iconic landmark razed when al-Qaida terrorists flew packed passenger planes into them in 2001. The New York Republican party is also said to be planning a hostile television campaign.

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 tto 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.

The New York Daily News is quoting the developer of the mosque, Sharif El-Gamal. El-Gamal is denying the Haaretz story, saying that everything is on track to move forward with the Ground Zero mosque. But could it still be possible that there are some cracks in the foundation, so to speak? Maybe some of the Muslim leaders are having second thoughts. Who knows? Will the sponsors of the community center ultimately be swayed by public opinion? Only time will tell.

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