By THOMAS CATAN
WASHINGTON—A leader of a planned Muslim community center near Manhattan’s Ground Zero compared opposition to the project to the persecution of Jews, in comments that could add to the controversy over the center’s proposed site.
Supporters and opponents of a proposed Muslim cultural center and mosque near the World Trade Center site staged competing rallies in downtown Manhattan. Jon Decker reports. Video Courtesy of Reuters.
“We are deeply concerned, because this is like a metastasized antisemitism,” said Daisy Khan, who is spearheading the project with her husband, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. “It’s beyond Islamophobia. It’s hate of Muslims.”
Ms. Khan, appearing on ABC News’s “This Week” on Sunday, vowed to push ahead with plans to build a 15-story complex two blocks from the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in lower Manhattan, saying there was “too much at stake.”
The words could further inflame an already angry debate about the proposed location of the community center, which opponents denounce as a “victory mosque.” Rival protests for and against the $100 million center were planned in lower Manhattan on Sunday.
Some politicians, including New York Governor David Paterson, have called for the project to be moved further away from the area where the World Trade Center collapsed. On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) also suggested the mosque’s location should be changed.
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