Ground Zero Mosque: New York Debate Goes National

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Ground Zero in downtown New York City

Le-Dung Ly/Science Faction/Corbis

As the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 approaches, a local NYC community board has extended its support for a new structure on the grounds of the N.Y. destruction.

The AP reports that Community Board 1 in Manhattan has voted to support a plan that would place a mosque and cultural center near ground zero. While the vote is not necessary for the building’s owners to move forward with the project, the board’s support marks an important step toward getting residents to give a thumbs up.

Here’s a rundown of what several had to say about the board’s decision:

“It’s a seed of peace. We believe that this is significant step in the Muslim community to counteract the hate and fanaticism in the minority of the community.”
– Community Board 1 member Rob Townley, on the vote

“We have condemned the terror of 9/11. We have worked to ensure that our mosques are not recruiting grounds for terrorists.”
– Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, executive director of the Cordoba Initiative, one of the project’s sponsors, on the lingering pain over 9/11

“I don’t think anybody wants to do anything to disrespect those families. They made the ultimate sacrifice. At the same time, we have to balance diversity and look for opportunities to bring different groups together.”
– Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, on the sensitivities of the 9/11 families to a mosque being built

“The moderate Muslim voice has been squashed in America. Here is a chance to allow moderate Muslims to teach people that not all Muslims are terrorists.”
– Bruce Wallace, who lost a nephew on 9/11, on how the mosque can change misperceptions about Islam

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