By Mark Memmott
A neighborhood advisory board in Manhattan last night gave its unanimous approval to plans for construction of a $100 million mosque on a site next to Ground Zero -- where nearly 3,000 people died when the World Trade Center towers came down after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The Wall Street Journal writes that "the project is driven in part by the needs of a growing Muslim population in Lower Manhattan. The nearest existing Islamic prayer space, the Tribeca Mosque, has been holding three evening prayer services on Fridays to keep up with demand."
The Journal interviewed Daisy Kahn, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, and writes that:
"When Kahn's organization found a vacant property on Park Place, the former site of a Burlington Coat Factory that had been damaged by airplane debris on September 11, 2001, the potent symbolism of the site also became a compelling rationale for the project. 'We decided we wanted to look at the legacy of 9/11 and do something positive,' she explained in an interview. Her group represents moderate Muslims who want 'to reverse to trend of extremism and the kind of ideology that the extremists are spreading'."
According to the New York Daily News:
"No one at last night's (community board) meeting protested the project. But some 9/11 families said they found the proposal offensive because the terrorists who launched the attacks were Muslim.
" 'I realize it's not all of them, but I don't want to have to go down to a memorial where my son died on 9/11 and look at a mosque,' said retired FDNY Deputy Chief Jim Riches -- whose son Jim, a firefighter, was killed on 9/11."