YEA OBAMA'S AMERICA.....YEA...IT IS SLOWLY STARTING- LIKE THE NSA- THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF CHRISTIANITY IN AMERICA. STRANGE THAT THIS SPECIFIC PLACE WAS CHOSEN FOR THIS "NEW MOSQUE" - WHILST THERE IS MILLIONS OF OTHER PLACES TO BUILD IT. NATURALLY- THERE WILL BE MILLIONS OF ISLAMIC EXCUSES FOR BUILDING IT THERE AS WELL....JUST LIKE THE MILLIONS OF EXCUSES THE DASTARDLY ANC COMMUNISTS CAME-UP WITH TO SCREW OUR CHRISTIANITY INTO THE GROUND!
Mosque for Ground Zero?
New York - An ambitious plan to build a mosque next to New York's Ground Zero is prompting hope - and anger - in a city scarred by terrorism.
There's little to see now at the site, an abandoned clothing store two blocks from the former World Trade Centre where nearly 3 000 people died on September 11 2001.
But Feisal Abdul Rauf, a New York imam and a leader of the project, says the planned multi-storey Islamic centre will transform both the drab lower Manhattan street and the way Americans have looked on Muslims since 9/11.
Boasting a mosque with sports facilities, a theatre and possibly day care, the centre would be open to all visitors to demonstrate that Muslims are part of their community, not some separate element.
"There's nothing like this that we know of in the United States," Rauf told AFP. "This will be a community centre for everyone, not just for Muslims, but non-Muslims."
These are tense times for American Muslims who find themselves increasingly painted both by the public and law enforcement bodies as a possible source of terrorism.
A failed car bomb in New York's Times Square on May 1 was allegedly planted by a Pakistani-born American, prompting senior figures in Washington to recommend stripping basic rights from US passport holders suspected of Islamist militant links.
The Islamic centre is part of Rauf's programme, called the Cordoba Initiative, meant to build bridges between the West and the Muslim world.
But because of the proposed mosque's location, just around the corner from the gaping Ground Zero hole, Rauf's call for peace is seen by some as a battle cry.
"The outrage continues," says website www.nomosquesatgroundzero.wordpress.com under a close-up of the collapsing Twin Towers.
Accusing the Cordoba Initiative of trying to "sneak it through," the protest site says the centre will "cast a rude shadow over Ground Zero."
Others compare the idea to building a German cultural centre at Auschwitz.
"Spitting in the Face of Everyone Murdered on 9/11," writes Blitz, a self-described "anti-jihadist newspaper."
That level of anger is not uncommon among New Yorkers who blame Islam, rather than just al-Qaeda or other militant groups, for 9/11 and the global confrontation with the United States.
"This is the wrong neighbourhood to put the mosque in," Scott Rachelson, 59, said as he went to his office. Rachelson, who works with people seeking compensation over 9/11 related damages, said his life changed forever the day that two hijacked airliners smashed into Manhattan.
"I was here. For me, and everyone else who was here, we have post-traumatic stress disorder," he said. "It feels like yesterday."
A woman living in the apartment building next to the proposed mosque said she couldn't accept the project.
"I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me a little nervous," said Jennifer Wood, 36, as she took her young son for a walk. "It seems a little in the face, a little too much too soon. I don't know why it has to be here - this is a big city."
An eloquent and erudite man, Rauf sounds slightly weary when asked about hardcore opposition, but says he hopes the centre will become a catalyst for helping Muslims and the wider community to integrate.
"It's about building an American Islamic identity, because we have second-, third-generation Muslims who don't feel they are part of (the country)," he said.
Terrorism is different
"The complaint throughout the years has been: 'Where's the voice of the moderate Muslims?'" Rauf said. "Well, here we are."
Many look forward to the centre, which Rauf estimates will cost $105-140m to build, possibly financed with bonds.
"Ground Zero - that is about terrorists. Terrorism is a different thing. There are a billion or more Muslims around the world. They aren't all terrorists! I hope people will see us coming here and see that all of us come from one god."
ARTICLE BY OUR EASTERN CAPE CORRESPONDENT.