Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:58pm EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Muslim center planned near the site of the World Trade Center attack could qualify for tax-free financing, a spokesman for City Comptroller John Liu said on Friday, and Liu is willing to consider approving the public subsidy.
The Democratic comptroller's spokesman, Scott Sieber, said Liu supported the project. The center has sparked an intense debate over U.S. religious freedoms and the sanctity of the Trade Center site, where nearly 3,000 perished in the September 11, 2001 attack.
"If it turns out to be financially feasible and if they can demonstrate an ability to pay off the bonds and comply with the laws concerning tax-exempt financing, we'd certainly consider it," Sieber told Reuters. Spokesmen for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor David Paterson and the Islamic center and were not immediately available.
The proposed center, two blocks from the Trade Center site in lower Manhattan, has caused a split between people who lost relatives and friends in the attack, as well as conservative politicians, and those who support the project. Among those who support it are the mayor, civic and religious groups, and some families of victims.
The mosque's backers hope to raise a total of $70 million in tax-exempt debt to build the center, according to the New York Times. Tax laws allow such funding for religiously affiliated non-profits if they can prove the facility will benefit the general public and their religious activities are funded separately. The bonds could be issued through a local development corporation created for this purpose, experts said. The Islamic center would have to repay the bonds, which likely would be less expensive than taxable debt.
New York City's Industrial Development Authority could not issue debt for the center because the state civic facilities law, which governed this type of financing for non-profits, was allowed to expire about two years ago.
(Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Dan Grebler)
Rauf Tied to Founder of 9/11 Mosque
Laura: I’m sick of conservatives conceding that those behind the ground zero islamic supremacist mosque have the RIGHT to build it and then proceed to plead with them to be sensitive by not building it. This is a weak and pathetic approach. First of all it is a wasted effort because these stealth jihadis have no sensitivity toward the feelings of infidels and will not be persuaded. Secondly, if they are tied to terror groups or regimes then they DO NOT have the legal right to build it and indeed they ARE tied to terrorists. So therefore the ground zero mosque can and should be legally stopped. And this is the aggressive approach opponents must take. Americans need to understand that mosques are not benign houses of worship as in other religions, but places where incitement to hatred and violence and recruitement of jihadis takes place.
Ground Zero mosque modeled after notorious 9/11 mosque?Founder of hijackers’ D.C. worship center partners with N.Y. imam pushing shariah
The New York imam behind the Ground Zero mosque has struck a partnership with the founder of the so-called 9/11 mosque in the Washington suburbs that gave aid and comfort to some of the 9/11 hijackers, WND has learned.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf counts the lead trustee of the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center among partners in his Cordoba Initiative, which features a 13-story mosque and a “cultural center” for his project to bring shariah, or Islamic law, to America.
Families of 9/11 victims oppose construction of the proposed site so close to Ground Zero.
Jamal Barzinji, one of the founders of the radical Muslim Brotherhood in America, also founded Dar al-Hijrah in Falls Church, Va., which is run by the pro-jihad Brotherhood. The mosque has been tied to numerous terrorism plots, including the 9/11 attacks.
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In December 2008, the Brotherhood’s U.S. think tank — the International Institute of Islamic Thought, or IIIT – hosted Rauf. During their meeting, IIIT’s leadership, including Barzinji, “pledged cooperation and support” for Rauf’s project, according to this screenshot of the description of the event from IIIT’s scrubbed Web archives.
Rauf’s partner Barzinji is a founder and director of IIIT, which is under active federal investigation for funneling funds to Palestinian terrorists. Its Herndon, Va., offices were raided by federal agents after 9/11.
The U.S. government has accused Barzinji of being “closely associated” with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas and other terrorist organizations. He has not been charged with a crime, however.
Barzinji personally authorized the development of Dar al-Hijrah, according to Fairfax County, Va., property records obtained by investigative journalist Paul Sperry, author of “Infiltration” and “Muslim Mafia.”
Records also show the North American Islamic Trust, a recently named unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-financing case in U.S. history, holds the deed to the radical mosque. Barzinji is listed as a NAIT trustee on the document, and his signature appears on the deed.
In November 2008, Barzinji personally chaired a meeting at IIIT’s Herndon headquarters to launch an abridged edition of Rauf’s book, “What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America,” in which he calls for the establishment of a parallel system of justice in America run by Islamic jurists. Barzinji’s brother’s printing company published the digest.