New York: Controversial Indian-origin
author Salman Rushdie has spoken out in support of a mosque
near Ground Zero, an issue that has sparked a religious row in
US amid opinion polls suggesting that majority of Americans
"It`s just a stupid argument," Rushdie said at the
Brooklyn Book Festival in New York.
"Of course they should be able to build a mosque
there," he was quoted as saying by the New York Post.
The writer also noted that the controversy regarding
the proximity of the mosque near the World Trade Centre made
no sense, since the mosque was inside the World Trade Centre
Rushdie also spoke against the burning of Qurans,
which had been planned by Florida Pastor Terry Jones.
Rushdie was speaking a day after massive pro and
anti-mosque rallies were staged near Ground Zero on the ninth
anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
Both rallies had speakers from religious groups, civil
society organisations and local community leaders.
While the Muslims have the constitutional right to
build a mosque in that spot, a large group of people insist
that it is insensitive.
Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New
York on Monday, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, the main mosque
developer, said all options were on the table, when asked if
he would consider halting the project.
"Our advisers have been looking at every option --
including that," Rauf as quoted as saying by the New York
Post, while underlining that a solution needed to be agreed by
"I need a space where the voice of the moderates
can be heard. We need a platform where the voice of modern
Muslims can be amplified...This is an opportunity that we must
capitalise on," he added.
Meanwhile, Pastor Terry Jones from Florida finally
called off his plans to burn Qurans.
""Not today, not ever. We are not going to go back and
do it, he told NBC`s `Today` show, just ahead of the 9/11
anniversary on Saturday.
"It is totally cancelled, he said.