Leaders Unite to Oppose Mark Williams’ Hateful Comments about Ground Zero Mosque and Cultural Center
New York, May 20, 2010 – Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, State Senator Daniel L. Squadron, NYC Comptroller John C. Liu, Council Members Margaret Chin and Robert Jackson, and community and religious leaders, today stood together outside the proposed location of the Cordoba House in a show of unity against the racist comments made by Tea Party Express Chairman Mark Williams.
They were joined by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Cordoba Initiative, Dhalia Mahmoud of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and representatives of Community Board 1.
Borough President Stringer responded sharply to a statement posted yesterday on Williams’ web site that the planned Cordoba House facility would “consist of a Mosque for the worship of the terrorists’ monkey-god.”
“When a hate-filled individual like Mark Williams spreads lies intended to injure millions of Americans, incite bigotry, and undermine our democracy, we must stand up and respond with the truth,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. “Williams’ attack on Islam follows an earlier rant in which he called our President ‘an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and racist in chief.’ It is not our way to silence evil voices like this, but it is our responsibility to label these statements for what they are – un-American, unpatriotic, bigoted and race-baiting.”
The mission of the Cordoba House is “to establish a vibrant and world-class facility in New York City that promotes tolerance and pluralism that will strengthen relationships and attract those of other faiths to integrate and learn about Islam.” The proposed community and cultural center would provide crucial amenities to promote the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan, including a 500-seat auditorium, swimming pool, art exhibition spaces, bookstores and restaurants. The proposal, which would be located on Park Place, is slated to come before Manhattan’s Community Board 1 on Tuesday, May 25th.
“I join with Muslims, Jews, Christians and New Yorkers of all faiths and backgrounds to say that religious and ethnic bigotry have absolutely no place in our society,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler. “Tea Party leader Mark Williams’ ignorant and morally repugnant comments are nothing more than base prejudice and hate speech aimed at an overwhelmingly law-abiding and patriotic religious minority. New York City in particular is the culmination of centuries of hard-work and sacrifice by every religious and ethnic group under the sun, and we must express zero tolerance when any of our neighbors are singled out for hate or persecution. We must continue to remind the Mark Williamses of the world that the vast majority of Muslims have no connection to terrorism, to Al Qaeda, or to the evils that engineered 9/11.”
“The development of both the mosque and the center gained strong support of the local community board earlier this month,” said NYC Comptroller John C. Liu. “Both are dedicated to promoting education and understanding, and intended to help bridge the divide and unify New York.”
“The development of both the mosque and the center gained strong support of the local community board earlier this month,” said NYC Comptroller John C. Liu. “Both are dedicated to promoting education and understanding, and intended to help bridge the divide and unify New York.”“These sorts of hateful remarks only serve to perpetuate ignorance and encourage prejudices,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “It is our responsibility to stand up against instances of bigotry and hate each and every time they occur. We will not let the ignorance of a few undermine the reality that the great majority of Americans – and most certainly New Yorkers – believe in diversity, inclusion and acceptance.”
“Community, religious and civic organizations have been a big part of the extraordinary resurgence of Lower Manhattan,” said State Senator Daniel L. Squadron. “The Cordoba Initiative has been a part of that rebuilding, and a new community facility would contribute to Lower Manhattan’s role as a center for cultural diversity and tolerance. To be clear, religious intolerance, demagoguery, and fear-mongering have no place in the discussion about development on and around the World Trade Center site. I join Manhattan Community Board 1’s Financial District Committee in working with the Cordoba Initiative and all of our community organizations to ensure that Lower Manhattan continues to prosper and grow.”
“I would echo my colleague’s sentiments that racism and xenophobia have no place at Ground Zero or anywhere else,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “This community center will be an invaluable resource for Lower Manhattan as well as the Muslim community. By bringing New Yorkers of all faiths together, the center will help us put an end to the false and hurtful idea that all Muslims are terrorists. The sooner we put an end to this myth, the sooner we continue to rebuild Lower Manhattan as a strong, diverse community.”
“We are all connected in today’s world; to make room for peace, there can be no room for hatred, bigotry or prejudice. Not in Arizona. Not in New York City. Not in the hearts and minds of Americans. Not on planet earth,” said Council Member Robert Jackson. “Mark Williams is well on the way to becoming the poster child for hatred, bigotry and prejudice. I deplore his comments.”
“The Cordoba Initiative is about moderate American Muslims who are the vast majority of the Muslim in the world and who condemn terrorism and 9/11,” said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. “We have been and want to continue to be part of a coalition of Muslims and non-Muslims that work to eliminate terrorism.”
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