New York: Just when the controversial
Ground Zero mosque seemed to get the go ahead for
construction, a conservative advocacy group has sued to stop
the project coming up on the site of the fallen twin towers.
The American Centre for Law and Justice, founded by
the Rev. Pat Robertson, filed suit yesterday to challenge a
decision by the Landmarks Preservation Commission to let
developers tear down a building to make way for the mosque two
blocks from ground zero.
"We seek to preserve and have landmarked a property
that terrorism on September 11th, 2001, was unable to destroy,
but which will be destroyed if the landmark`s decision stands
as is," ACLJ counsel Brett Joshpe was quoted as saying by CNN.
"We believe that they rushed to a vote, that they
rushed a decision without a full and fair public hearing and
public debate," he added.
The ACLH is filing this suit on behalf of Timothy
Brown -- a firefighter who survived 9/11.
Brown argues that the building in question was "not
only mid-19th century New York City, but also 16th-century
Rome and Florence," according to The New York Times.
The suit argues that the building "stands as an iconic
symbol to an uninterrupted linkage of the rise of American
capitalism with our current quest to preserve our freedom and
Brown has worked to achieve landmark status for other
buildings damaged in the September 11, according to NYT. The
building is presently home to a Muslim prayer space.
"Who decided the boundaries of ground zero? Where did
it end? It seems common sense to me that if part of the plane
went through the roof, that certainly means there could be
body parts there," Brown said.
The debate about building a mosque on the Ground Zero
site has been raging in the US for several months dividing New
Yorkers, families of the victims of 9/11, civil society
organisations and politicians.
Last week, leading Jewish organisation in the US, the
Anti-Defamation League, came out strongly against the
construction of a mosque near the site where the twin towers
of the World Trade Centre collapsed on 9/11.
"But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but
a question of what is right. In our judgement, building an
Islamic Centre in the shadow of the World Trade Centre will
cause some victims more pain unnecessarily and that is not
right," ADL said in a statement.
Parties that oppose the mosque, which will be called
Cordoba House, insist this project us inappropriate since the
terrorist attacks were carried out by extremist Muslims.
The Islamic centre will have a swimming pool,
basketball court, meeting rooms, a 500-seat auditorium,
banquet facilities, theatrical programming, art exhibitions
and cooking classes.
Last month, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin joined
the fray by speaking out against the mosque. Palin wrote on
twitter, "Peace-seeking Muslim, pls understand, Ground Zero
mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation."