SOURCE NYP: Citibank is suing the developer of the proposed Ground Zero mosque to recover some $100,000 in overdue credit charges.
Not to worry, though, says Sharif El-Gamal — getting yourself sued, he alleges, is a way to get “financial institutions” to “restructure debt.”
Sounds a little loosey-goosey to us — and certainly not a practice that’s appropriate when tax dollars are involved.
Which, as chance would have it, is cause for concern: It seems that El-Gamal and mosque co-developer Imam Feisal Rauf have applied for some $5 million in grants from a fund set up with federal post-9/11 money meant for downtown cultural projects.
On its face, the use of federal funds for this project would be the height of irony. Picture it: an Islamic center hard by Ground Zero — the very site where Islamists struck Americans on 9/11 — built in part with post-9/11 money from . . . Americans.
Heck, if you’re going to rub your victims’ noses in the dirt, why not use their money to do it?
Could there be any more reason to oppose this project?
Well, yes: See above, defaulting on loans as a means of forcing the renegotiation of terms.
This isn’t to say that the developers don’t have the right to apply for federal money.
But the decision-makers have every right to turn it down flat.
Which they need to do.
Then again, who are the decision-makers? Turns out it’s those rocket scientists at the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. — i.e., the folks who still haven’t managed to tear down the old Deutsche Bank building, which was ruined almost 10 years ago in the strike on the World Trade Center. Uh-oh.
Those who back the mosque, like Mayor Bloomberg, argue that supporting it is necessary to show tolerance for Islam and a commitment to constitutional freedoms of religion and speech.
But the mosque debate has never been about that. Rather, it’s been about the intent of the project — ostensibly, to foster greater understanding of Islam and improve ties between cultures.
Fact is, everything its backers have done to ram this project through — from siting it near Ground Zero to this latest attempt to use 9/11 funds for, among other things, Arabic courses — gives the lie to that goal.
If these folks get even one dime of US taxpayer funding, Americans will be taken for fools — yet again.
If they don’t find themselves in court first, as El-Gamal seeks to “renegotiate” terms.