Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Will controversy make it impossible to raise cash to build Cordoba House?

What if all the attacks on Cordoba House can actually stop the project from being built?

It's widely accepted that the question of whether the Islamic center gets built is completely separate from the national political war that's erupted over it. The center has been greenlighted by local government, this argument goes, making the battle over it largely an abstract one about American identity, freedom of religion, the real meaning of 9/11, and so forth.

But what if the attacks on it have successfully made it such a lightning rod that rich donors will be reluctant to pony up the cash to build it?

Maggie Haberman and Ben Smith report today for Politico that the project is far behind schedule in fundraising terms:

The Cordoba Initiative hasn't yet begun fundraising for its $100 million goal. The group's latest fundraising report with the state attorney general's office, from 2008, shows exactly $18,255 -- not enough even for a down payment on the half of the site the group has yet to purchase.

A spokesperson for the project told Politico that it would eventually be able to raise the money for the project, given the time. But the key takeaway here is that the national controversy over the project is going to make this far more difficult than it otherwise might have been.

The goal is to fund this project largely with money raised in America, according to the group's spokesman, though he wouldn't rule out the use of foreign money. If you don't think rich liberal and moderate Dem donors and wealthy American Muslims will now pause before chipping in money to build this thing you're kidding yourselves. They will -- especially with conservatives demanding transparency about who's funding it.

The $100 million goal is already a tall order; this will make it far more difficult. If there's one thing that can persuade Cordoba House's builders to move the site, it's pressure from donors, who may not want the headache associated with the controversy and may privately signal that they can't back it unless it moves.

In other words, those attacking the project very well may stop it from being built near Ground Zero. And if it is moved, that could send a terrible signal abroad. This is not just an abstract debate about enormously important principles. It could have actual real world consequences.

UPDATE, 4:28 p.m.: A number of people have pointed out that the project (if it ever happens) could end up relying on foreign money. That may be, but it seems to me it needs some kind of fundraising base here. Since the controvery is almost certainly going to chill fundraising here, that means the attacks are succeeding in making the project that much more unlikely to happen.

By Greg Sargent  |  August 19, 2010; 3:49 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Poll: Most of those who think Obama is Muslim learned it from media
Next: Happy Hour Roundup

Comments

Greg, you have bludgeoned this topic more than Capehart has gay marriage.

Posted by: sold2u | August 19, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

O Thank God. Relief at last. I was suffering from severe Mosque withdrawal symptoms.

One Pamela Geller is worth more than a thousand suicide bombers to Bin Laden.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 19, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Greg says, "...conservatives demanding transparency about who's funding it."

Quick question: is there any way the wingnuts can force transparency?

Regardless, I find the bullying and intimidation of the rightwing just plain wrong.

Why don't these wingnuts just donate their life savings to Al Quada then outfit themselves with exploding underwear? Their religious intolerance is validating the worst things monsters like Bin Laden have been saying about us. As long as the wingnuts are going to work with Al Quada and against America, they should go all in.

Posted by: nisleib | August 19, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

CAlD is going to be so happy that there's another post on the Near Ground Zero Not Mosque. He loves those stories the best!

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 19, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

you guys don't think it's important to point out that this fight could actually stop the project, with untold consequences for our image abroad?

seems like an important point.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 19, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

So you don't have a problem with the Mosque opponents exercising their free speech rights, provided the "battle over it largely an abstract one," but you object when it may have "actual real world consequences?"

Fair enough. You can campaign for climate change legislation all you want, and I won't object, as long as it doesn't result in any laws being passed.

Posted by: ath17 | August 19, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

I think it's an important point, but I also know it's going to irritate CalD, so there's a little good-natured ribbing to be had. ;)

That being said, why can't they start accepting small donations and have the folks who think they are getting the short end of the stick donate via PayPal? Might not get $100,000,000, but they can certainly get a million or two.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 19, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Have you seen the new NRSC web ad that uses the mosque issue including Obama's comments and CNN poll complete with Groud Zero pic?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFwsWN0XkQM&feature=player_embedded

Posted by: Truthteller12 | August 19, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I don't think there's anything that could save our image abroad anymore, so no. The hate already left the barn.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 19, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Have you seen the new NRSC web ad that uses the mosque issue including Obama's comments and CNN poll complete with Groud Zero pic?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFwsWN0XkQM&feature=player_embedded

Posted by: Truthteller12 | August 19, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Hah, thanks Kevin. :)

They need the big money folks to step up, otherwise this thing will never happen.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 19, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Greg, No. It is not important, and furthermore, there is no way of knowing if it will help or hurt the fund raising. In other words; an exercise in futility, to go chasing after that dubious hypothetical.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 19, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

ath17 - Yeah, science is BAD!

How dare 97+% of the earth's scientist believe in global warming? What do they know!?! What makes them experts?

Posted by: nisleib | August 19, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

It is ironic that Obama's comments may actually result in it not being built. I was going to point that out myself. Certainly worth pointing out.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | August 19, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Kristol (yeah, I know...) linked to this article in an arabic daily.

http://www.aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=2&id=21980

The punch line is that this isn't that big of a deal overseas. Obviously a sample size of 1, but it is an interesting data point.

Posted by: sold2u | August 19, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

"And if it is moved, that could send a terrible signal abroad. "

So, if it was unambiguously the right thing to do--like giving cancer-curing drugs to sick orphans--but it would be received negative abroad, we should let that effect our opinion?

As it is, the locality has the right to make decisions without interference and harassment, religious organization have the right to build community centers without harassment, and the constitution gives us freedom of religion, plus there's that whole "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" thing. Letting the center proceed unencumbered is the right thing to do, irrespective of what anybody abroad thinks of it. Of all the reasons to let Park 51 move ahead, what Europeans, various middle-eastern theocracies, or actual terrorists think of us seems to me like it should be the very least of our concerns.

Do they have a website taking PayPal? I'll donate $1. Which is one more $1 than I've donated to the GOP (or any political party or politician) in the last decade.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 19, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: This publicity isn't going to stop the project - it never had a freakin' chance to begin with! Frum had this pegged awhile ago:

"The lower Manhattan mosque has provoked many doubts and suspicions. Here’s mine: the whole thing is a phony-baloney publicity stunt by a developer in search of project financing."

http://www.frumforum.com/is-the-911-mosque-a-publicity-stunt

"The mosque developers are three Arab-American businessmen: Sharif and Sammy el-Gamal and Nour Moussa. They have a partner in Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Muslim writer and publicist who does most of the talking. But the money and credit pledged to the project belong to the company owned by Moussa and the el-Gamals, Soho Properties.

"Soho Properties has paid some $5 million in cash to buy the Burlington Coat Factory building, a building that yields no income. They are paying rent to hold rights to the Con Ed building, which also yields no income. All of this in the midst of the worst commercial property slump in memory, in an area of New York with a very uncertain economic future...

You can see why the Gamal-Moussa team would be dazzled by the notion that philanthropists in the Persian Gulf might donate $100 million to raise a grand gleaming Islamic center in lower Manhattan. You can tuck a lot of development fees into a $100 million project. And if not a mosque … what else do you do with their two loser properties on Park Place?"

Posted by: sbj3 | August 19, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I doubt if that project will be completed for just $100 Million. Cost overruns would probably drive the final figure up to almost five times that amount. They will surely run into a lot of structural damage problems. We are talking about the cost of labor in New York City, folks.

They could end up spending $100 million, on just the coffee and donuts, alone.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 19, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

The only person I've heard calling for an investigation of funding sources of the GZM is Nancy Pelosi. Why are you all using this as an excuse to bash Christian Americans?

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/08/18/4921713-pelosi-supports-mosque-but-wants-info-on-funding

Posted by: daveredhat | August 19, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

Given the level of vitriol, it could also be stopped simply by the Sufi congregation concluding that going forward on the site could be physically dangerous, thanks to all the nutcases that are out there being whipped in to a frenzy. I'd be extremely surprised if the Imam is not already being swamped with hateful messages and even death threats.

That kind of surrender would send an even worse signal abroad.

I actually think Kevin_Willis is on to something with Park51 using small donors. There are a lot of people in this country who don't like the suppression of religious liberty and who would be proud to make a small contribution in the name of freedom to keep the project on track in the face of so much foolishness.

Posted by: Patrick_M | August 19, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Rich American liberals may not want to fund it anymore but as long as they don't have to disclose I'm sure there are enough terrorist sympathizers overseas to come up with 100 million.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | August 19, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still, You're right about the possible structural damage. The building was actually hit by the landing gear of one of the Islamic suicide jets. But, of course, it's no where near ground zero.

Posted by: daveredhat | August 19, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"you guys don't think it's important to point out that this fight could actually stop the project, with untold consequences for our image abroad?"

Cmon Greg, for real?

This coming the DAY after out last combat brigade left Iraq? If you're concerned about America's image abroad, don't you think that might be worthwhile to cover at least in addition to an update on this fricking pathetic soap opera?

You're obsessed with this mosque thing Greg.

BREAK OUT. PLEASE.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 19, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Patrick - I think you and Kevin may be right about the small donors.

But if that is the case how come I haven't seen a link to a place to donate? I'd think that if that was their intent they would do everything in their power to be drumming up donations right now, while the issue is hot.

Posted by: nisleib | August 19, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

OK, since we are stuck between floors, on this Mosque elevator, and can not get off;

Time to ask some basic questions, about what people are really objecting too.

Are they objecting only to the building, and they have no problem with all the Muslim people who would be making use of the place?

Or are they against the building, because it will draw a lot of Muslim people into the area?

What is the crux of the objections?

Is it that they view all Muslims as being evil, and guilty, or is it that they feel a new building will chase after them, and make them wet their beds?

Posted by: Liam-still | August 19, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

@Liam, ask Harry Reid and Howard Dean.

Posted by: daveredhat | August 19, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Liam - Their rhetoric points towards them thinking all Muslims are terrorists.

If I were using wingnut logic this is the case I'd make: 1) Osama Bin Laden says the US is at war with Islam 2) The rightwingers are at war with Islam 3) Rightwingers are therefore all terrorists.

Does that arguement make any sense? No, not at all. But it does if you use Republican logic!

Posted by: nisleib | August 19, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I think the objection has something to do with Muslims flying planes into buildings right near that area.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | August 19, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

But those Muslims died in those planes, so what the hell does that have to do with the Muslim population of New York, and the opening of a Muslim Center at a location that they have owned for quite sometime?

Posted by: Liam-still | August 19, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The real weird part is that Burlington Coat Factory building is already being used daily as an overflow prayer place, and has been for a bit over a year already. So, it kinda already IS a MOSQUE.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 19, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

@Liam. They don't own it. They can't even afford to buy it. Try and keep up.

Posted by: daveredhat | August 19, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Truthteller12 - Are you telling me the same Muslims that flew plains into the WTC are now building this mosque? Really?

No, what you are saying is that all Muslims are terrorists.

So are all Catholics pedophiles?

Are all Southern Baptists racists bigots who lynch people for the crime of being black?

Are all Mormons Polygamists?

Are all Scientologists crazy-couch-jumpers?

Are all Protestants warmongers named Bush who start wars for no reason whatsoever?

Posted by: nisleib | August 19, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse


Liam - Their rhetoric points towards them thinking all Muslims are terrorists.

If I were using wingnut logic this is the case I'd make: 1) Osama Bin Laden says the US is at war with Islam 2) The rightwingers are at war with Islam 3) Rightwingers are therefore all terrorists.

Does that arguement make any sense? No, not at all. But it does if you use Republican logic!

Posted by: nisleib | August 19, 2010 4:24PM

.......................


Like I said earlier:

Pamela Geller is worth more than a thousand suicide bombers to Bin Laden.

His battery had run down, and he was stuck in the middle of nowhere, until Old Geller came along and gave him a jump start.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 19, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Lemme tell you something, all. You dump all over me for obsessing over the mosque. But look at the thread above. It is funny. It is smart. It is entertaining.

You are only encouraging me to obsess over the mosque more.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 19, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

@Liam: We are not at war with Islam, however we ARE at war with a form of Islam - call it Radical Islam - which we have been since the 80s.

I believe this un-ground zero un-mosque will be viewed by our radical Islamic enemies as a victory mosque, and as a form appeasement that will only encourage them.

Posted by: sold2u | August 19, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

"Lemme tell you something, all. You dump all over me for obsessing over the mosque. But look at the thread above. It is funny. It is smart. It is entertaining."

Greg: You are a wily coyote, My Friend.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 19, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Greg, you've convinced me. I'm setting up a paypal account to accept donations for the GZM. I'll let you all know when it's ready to accept donations. Stand by.

Posted by: daveredhat | August 19, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

@Liam. They don't own it. They can't even afford to buy it. Try and keep up.

Posted by: daveredhat |


Yeah, like YOU said, try to keep up. 45 Park Place was purchased A YEAR AGO. They have a lease w/ purchase option on the other half.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 19, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I know we are at war with radical Islam.

Even the stray dogs in the street know that, for cripes sake.

Answer my damn question;

Are you objecting to just an new building, because it will chase after you, and make you wet your beds, or are you objecting to having all those non-radical American Muslims in the neighborhood?

It sounds much the same to me, as when Christians restricted all Jews, because some "Jews killed Jesus".

Of course; since the Romans ran that operation, what they should have been doing, was restricting where Olive Garden Restaurants were constructed.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 19, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

It is important for conservatives to read Mr Sargent's blog with care. Here's two quotes from the blog as illustrations.
Yesterday Mr Sargent posted these words from Ms Pelosi:
"I support the statement made by the Interfaith Alliance that 'We agree with the ADL that there is a need for transparency about who is funding the effort to build this Islamic center."

Today Mr Sargent wrote:
"They will -- especially with conservatives demanding transparency about who's funding it."

is this intentionally designed to be misleading? Was it just a error on his part? Is mischaracterizing the facts to advance a specific POV just par for the course? Who knows.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | August 19, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Greg:

"you guys don't think it's important to point out that this fight could actually stop the project..."

Let me get this straight...you have produced tens, perhaps even hundreds, of posts and many thousands of words on the objections to this m/Ic/w, and all along you didn't think the project could actually be stopped by them? That they could stop the project has only just occurred to you such that it qualifies as "news"?

Are you serious, Greg?


"...with untold consequences for our image abroad?"

If our "image abroad" hangs on whether or not the organizers of this m/Ic/w can manage to finance the project, then I don't think anyone should have much respect or concern for "abroad's" opinion about much of anything.

BTW, have you ever been abroad? Do you honestly think people in other countries are waiting with bated breath to see if this m/Ic/w gets built? I lived overseas for 15 years on two different continents and travelled quite extensively during that time. My experience suggests that most people "abroad" won't give a rat's a** whether or not this thing gets built. They have their own problems to worry about. In fact, I venture to guess that there are few people on the planet who are as exercised about this thing as you are.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 19, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

@ Liam:

Neither. I am objecting because it will (IMO) be interpreted as a sign of weakness by our enemies and encourage further attacks.

Posted by: sold2u | August 19, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Skip - Republicans were demanding transparency long before Pelosi put in her 2cents.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio:

“President Obama and Attorney General Cuomo still are not listening to New Yorkers. With over 100 mosques in New York City, this is not an issue of religion, but one safety and security through transparency.”

“Since calling for transparency the first week of July along with several of the groups representing the victim’s families, I have been joined by the Anti-Defamation League, Governor George Pataki, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Representative Peter King in calling for the Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to open the books of the Cordoba Initiative, a registered charity with the Attorney General’s office.”

http://capitaltonight.com/2010/08/ny-republicans-respond-to-obama-and-the-mosque/

Posted by: nisleib | August 19, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

It will never be built.

1.It would be a lightning rod for every nutjob with a grudge.

2.The people working and living in the area will constantly be freaking out every time a truck backfired.

3.Any American who invests or donates will be vilified for doing so if the list ever became public. Rightly or wrongly depending on how you look at it.

4. Who is ever going to go their after this--at the beginning you might have people who go just to show off but once the novelty wears off what person is going to go to "That Mosque" the one that caused so much trouble most people just want to go about their lives no matter what their religion and going somewhere that is perceived as tainted is just not going to happen. Rightly or wrongly that is just the way it is.

5. And lastly America is just not ready to forgive and forget the wounds are still to fresh and raw.

Is what i said PC no it is not but it is the truth.

Posted by: PennyWisetheClown | August 19, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Won't you all please donate to help the Cordoba House survive? This is of vital national interest to our country and our image abroad.

Please give generously...

http://helpcordoba.bbnow.org/

Posted by: daveredhat | August 19, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse


@ Liam:

Neither. I am objecting because it will (IMO) be interpreted as a sign of weakness by our enemies and encourage further attacks.

Posted by: sold2u | August 19, 2010 4:50 PM |
......................

Well, that is a fine honest confession on your part. You have no objections to either the new building or the American Muslims who would make use of it. You just want to appease Terrorists.

And here was I having been finally convinced that: "we are fighting them over there, so that we will not have to fight them here", and now you go and tell me, that was all a lot of Chicken Hawk Neo-Con Bull Shite, and that the terrorists can hit us here any time they decide to.

Like I have always said: Right Wingers are afraid of their own shadows, and will not even defend their own constitution, least it upset a rag tag band of brainwashed lunatics.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 19, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

daveredhat:

"This is of vital national interest to our country and our image abroad."

Right. Those linked below are highly concerned about the fate of this m/Ic/w, so they know what to think of the US.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/20/world/asia/20pstan.html?src=mv

Get over yourself, people.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 19, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Let's put our differences aside and come together to support this worthy cause. The Cordoba House needs you.

Please give generously...

http://helpcordoba.bbnow.org/

Posted by: daveredhat | August 19, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

1.It would be a lightning rod for every nutjob with a grudge.

No it wouldn’t. There is already a mosque not far from the site and nobody seems to care.

2.The people working and living in the area will constantly be freaking out every time a truck backfired.

You’ve never been to New York have you? They don’t tend to pee their pants every time they here an Arab accent. That prediliction is reserved for rightwing bedwetters.

3.Any American who invests or donates will be vilified for doing so if the list ever became public. Rightly or wrongly depending on how you look at it.

Maybe that is true, but this issue really angers those of us who care about freedom. Many of us might give just to prove a point.

4. Who is ever going to go their after this--at the beginning you might have people who go just to show off but once the novelty wears off what person is going to go to "That Mosque" the one that caused so much trouble most people just want to go about their lives no matter what their religion and going somewhere that is perceived as tainted is just not going to happen. Rightly or wrongly that is just the way it is.

It isn’t a Mosque, it is a community center. Think the YMCA for Muslims. And on this, you really don’t have any idea what you are talking about.

5. And lastly America is just not ready to forgive and forget the wounds are still to fresh and raw.

Even if that where true, and I don’t think it is, so what? We don’t get to vote on whether the Mosque is built. The people of NY have already approved it.

Posted by: nisleib | August 19, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

skippy: "It is important for conservatives to read Mr Sargent's blog with care."

It's important for generally everyone to read skippy's posts with an eye toward their entertainment value.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 19, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

@liam

"It sounds much the same to me, as when Christians restricted all Jews, because some "Jews killed Jesus".

And are you suggesting that's not a valid argument? You better be careful my Hibernian brother otherwise Mel Gibson might get a snootfull and kick your Irish arse.
Mel got in all down in his documentary "The Passion of the Christ" and of course we've all heard the tape from his DUI arrest.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 19, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

A portion of all proceeds will support the construction of Cordoba House GZM.

Please give generously...

http://helpcordoba.bbnow.org/

Posted by: daveredhat | August 19, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

"Lemme tell you something, all. You dump all over me for obsessing over the mosque. But look at the thread above. It is funny. It is smart. It is entertaining."

Greg,

Rush Limbaugh probably feels the same way after every show. The question is when do we decide that simply because arguing over a trumped-up issue is "entertaining," we are abetting the trumping up, and aiding those who have ulterior motives in keeping the story at the center of the national discourse, and we are adding to divisiveness within what is supposed to be a pluralistic free society.

It may draw lots of comments to your blog, and it may drive up ratings for cable news, and it may get Sarah Palin more followers on Twitter, but none of that makes it right for Park51 to become the only topic for conversation.

And this endless dialog is far less "funny" and "entertaining" for patriotic Islamic Americans than it is for yourself.

Posted by: Patrick_M | August 19, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Liam, I don't think moving the GVM will radicalize moderate muslims (and add to the army), but it will encourage radicals.

I suggest you look up the word appeasement.

If you would have fought back against the high school bully just once, you would understand what I am saying.

Posted by: sold2u | August 19, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I still can not get a straight answer to the simple question:

Are you afraid that the New Building would chase after you, and make you wet your beds, or is it, that you just want to keep all American Muslims out of the area?

A little bit of housekeeping, that I must now tend to.

Some people have said that they are against the new building, because it would encourage the terrorists to attack us.

Here is a bit of news, that I should have passed on to you earlier.(My fault, and I apologize for not having kept you up to date on this.)

The Terrorists already attacked The Twin Towers, on two occasions, without being encouraged to do so, by any new Muslim center being located in that area.

Enough with the stupid lame excuses. Answer the question; are you afraid of the new building, or are you just for restricting all Muslims?

Posted by: Liam-still | August 19, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I am not on the stand, Liam. Both (a) and (b) are wrong.

It is (c) it will be viewed as appeasement by our enemies,

And, did it ever occur to you Liam, that the reason why the WTC was attacked a second time is because we did nothing after the first?

Just making nice and lobbing a cruise missile or two at an empty tent in the desert has been tried already. It bought us an attack every other year in the 90s.

Posted by: sold2u | August 19, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

sold2u - It will NOT be seen as appeasment.

However, not allowing it to be built will validate Bin Laden's claim that America is at war with Islam.

"Just making nice and lobbing a cruise missile or two at an empty tent in the desert has been tried already."

Yeah, so what we should do is invade every country with a Muslim population! There was no Al Quada in Iraq until we invaded, if our goal was to crush the terrorists that attacked us we would have been better served by invading Canada.

Posted by: nisleib | August 19, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

What I think most people don't understand is that it's staggeringly difficult to build anything in NYC. There's a reason it'll take the WTC more than 10 years to be rebuilt, and that's a project that had a huge chunk of its money lined up through insurance, that was staffed by experienced, seasoned developers, and that had a direct line of access to all the powers that be.

Look at this: http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/third_bond_blog/

It's the story of a multi-year process to build a freaking apartment building in Brooklyn two blocks from an old industrial canal, in a gentrifying neighborhood. They are on week 143 of this project! And it's freaking CONDOS in an industrial area! Can you imagine how much more complicated this process is in lower Manhattan, which is way more dense, totally developed and in-use, and has like 50 subway lines running through it? Hell, maybe they start excavating for this building and find an old burial ground and oops! National landmark site, gotta build someplace else. It could happen; it did, in fact, happen just three blocks away in 1991!

Building stuff in New York is just incredibly hard for a bazillion reasons, and lower Manhattan is a tough part of Manhattan to develop. And this building, it doesn't have any investors, much less any clear sources of revenue (like renters) yet! We're supposed to believe it's on a glide path to success? HA!

Without the controversy, this thing had maybe a 25% chance of success. With the controversy it's probably 20%. It was obviously a longshot going in, which makes this ginned-up hysteria by outsiders who don't know anything about New York and don't care about New York even more ridiculous.

Posted by: theorajones1 | August 19, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Looks like what we have here folks is:

A Collective Guilt Syndrome in search of a justification.

Bin Laden already brought down the Twin Towers.

According to some, that would not have encouraged him to keep on attacking us. No indeed. If we stop the Muslim Center from opening, then The Terrorists will become demoralized, and never come after us again.

Clearly what we have here folks is: A Confederacy Of Dunces, and Pamela Geller is their Queen.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 19, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

You better flag this. It looks like a scam. He keeps posting it over and over.

Notice the language: " a portion of" That is a huge red flag.

"

A portion of all proceeds will support the construction of Cordoba House GZM.

Please give generously...

http://helpcordoba.bbnow.org/

Posted by: daveredhat | August 19, 2010 5:11 PM

Posted by: Liam-still | August 19, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Here's some future for ya, GOP!

Influential Donor May Bolt From GOP Over Anti-Muslim Hysteria

An influential Muslim GOP donor is at the end of her tether, and tells TPM she may eventually have to leave the Republican party over its opposition to the Cordoba House project and other anti-Muslim positions.

"I don't know if I'll be a Republican a year from now," says Seeme Hasan, who chairs the Hasan Family Foundation in Colorado, and has close ties to the Republican party leadership. Hasan's frustration with the GOP was evident, and not just over their public opposition to the construction of a Muslim cultural center in lower Manhattan. "Every time a Muslim person becomes famous, they are viciously attacked," Hasan said.

"The past few years in the Republican party has been constant humiliation for Muslims," Hasan told TPM in an interview yesterday evening.


Over the past decade, Hasan said, she and her husband have given over a million dollars to the Republican party, and it was evident in conversation with her that she's on a first name basis with party party leaders. "All Republicans in Washington know us," Hasan said. "They could have called to say, 'Hey we are going to come out against this mosque, what do you think?' It's sad."

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/08/influential-donor-may-bolt-from-gop-over-anti-muslim-hysteria.php?ref=fpa

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 19, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

"That being said, why can't they start accepting small donations and have the folks who think they are getting the short end of the stick donate via PayPal? Might not get $100,000,000, but they can certainly get a million or two."

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 19, 2010 4:00 PM

Kevin--it's funny (not in a ha-ha way), but I was wondering the same thing after I read about the fundraising or lack thereof. I'd be willing to contribute something, although it wouldn't be enough to be much help. I'm not sure whether you were being sarcastic, but I'm not.

And Suekzoo1,
"The real weird part is that Burlington Coat Factory building is already being used daily as an overflow prayer place, and has been for a bit over a year already. So, it kinda already IS a MOSQUE."

Wow, I didn't know that. Ha! Is irony the right word? Maybe not, but I'm sure you know what I mean.

Yesterday, I called this subject a shiny object used to distract people from issues certain politicians and others don't want to talk about. I still think that's true, but I also think the reasons behind their use of it should be examined.


Posted by: carolanne528 | August 19, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Liam, you're being thick.

Obviously you are more interested in debating what you wish I said vs what I actually said.

But, no matter. Agree to disagree.

Posted by: sold2u | August 19, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/08/happy_hour_roundup_75.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 19, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I know what you said: you want to restrict one group of Americans from exercising their first amendment rights, because you think it might encourage terrorists to attack us again, even thought they already have been attacking us, on an ongoing basis.

If you want to see thick; just look in your mirror.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 19, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what kind of noise the republicans are going to be spewing when their hysteric/ignorant base fades away and only has the clout to carry North Dakota. I just can't wait for the Republican party's next generation message; "Oops, our bad, we didn't really mean to vilify and implicitly incite violence against a handful of minorities for short-term political gains".
Maybe that's why Ol'Mitch is trying to shred the 14th amendment- so nobody but the "right" people can become voting citizens.
Afterthought: Why is it that unless it begins with "2nd" Republicans don't seem very concerned about adhering to our amendments?

Posted by: eadsiv | August 19, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

There is another possibility, that the investors are hoping New York State bribes them to go away.

This thing is supposedly going to cost $100MM and be done in a couple years. Maybe. I doubt it - building anything in NYC is subject to delays and cost overruns. They don't have the money. Money isn't easy to come by these days. Getting Goldman to underwrite the mortgage and syndicate out the paper is going to be tough, and even tougher if they have to bring in Middle Eastern investors who insist of financing compatible with Islamic law. Maybe they get a Saudi sugar-daddy. Wonder how interested HE is in promoting moderate Islam.

So, after overruns and capitalized interest, they probably end up owing $175MM on this property before it even opens and are going to be paying about $1 million a month in interest alone. You are going to need a LOT of rich Muslim point guards and swimmers to make that nut every month. They would need 10,000 people willing to pay $100 a month for a membership just to cover the interest, let alone all the other expenses. Which is more people than the NY Athletic Club, btw.

So, they paid $4M for the building, Patterson buys them out at a premium, say $6M, and gives them an alternate spot with a sub-market lease (sorry for all the hard feelings, boys). Which the investors can assign to an Apple Store at full market value and pocket the difference immediately.

Not saying this is necessarily the case, but I wouldn't rule it out.

Posted by: sold2u | August 19, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Since they are already using the place, and it is overcrowded, and they can not accommodate all the people who wish to attend, then they clearly did not set it up, just to see if they could make a killing on a buyout.

Of course, you just revealed your true colors. You think all Muslims can not be trusted, and therefore you had to come up with your way to portray them as possible scam artists.


It is all the haters of the first amendment that have been trying to force them to abandon the building, not the other way around.

If they finally get fed up, and sell the place, just to end the constant assault on their good names, then of course, the very same hate mongers will turn around and say: see, they were just in it, to make money of the building.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 19, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Liam, stop thinking like an undergrad for once. How do you raise money for such an undertaking? You have to convince people to lend to you. You have to show them a business plan. You have to show them you can pay them back.

Maybe the numbers can work, but after a cursory back-of-the-envelope look, I have grave doubts. As will any institutional investor. It isn't like there is nowhere to put money these days. A ton of investment without the shortcomings of a public outcry and a daffy business plan are not getting financed because credit markets are so tight.

All I am saying is think about it. People don't invest $4MM lightly. And anyone who donates money to the Cordoba House through that website someone just created is a useful idiot indeed.

Posted by: sold2u | August 19, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Will controversy make it impossible? Here's hoping! http://rubylee1776.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/a-mosque-at-ground-zero/

Posted by: Constance_Goforth | August 19, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

All you are saying is; you want to imagine the worst about them, without because they are Muslims.

One excuse after another has come from you, as to why they should not be allowed to exercise their first amendment rights.

You are still a hate monger, who does not have the guts to admit what you are.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 19, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

@ Greg Sargent | August 19, 2010 3:58 PM:

If so, then at least you can have the satisfaction of knowing you've done your part (and, I'd have to think, part of someone else's by now) to help turn a local zoning dispute that had already been favorably resolved before you even got there thanks, into a high-profile national brouhaha. Quite frankly, this project never needed and certainly has not benefited to date from the attention that's been lavished upon it. And realistically, it never could have gotten it without a very energetic if misguided assist from the left. So give yourself an "Attaboy" and cue the vikings.

(Vikings: Mosque mosque mosque mosque mosque mosque mosque. Lovely mosque! Wonderful mosque! Mosque mosque mosque...)

Posted by: CalD | August 19, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Liam, I am going to go real slow here.

The business plan is daffy. I seriously doubt they can generate the revenue necessary to cover the interest. Look at where it is. Nobody lives there. This isn't Central Park West. It is a construction zone that was never, ever, a hip neighborhood. You will have to convince Muslims that a treadmill at the Cordoba House is worth more than a treadmill at Crunch, Equinox, or the NY Health and Racquet Club. Plus a 5 block walk. And even if you think Muslims are inclined to pay extra because it has a prayer room or because of solidarity, you have to convince institutional investors of that. I seriously, seriously doubt Bill Gross at PIMCO is licking his chops to lend to this venture at 7%. And Goldman is going to tell them that. Think they haven't already been turned down by everyone who can underwrite this thing?

So, what now?

Either (a) hope that you make enough noise with guys like you and Newt which forces the government to bribe them and go elsewhere, or

(b) you find some Saudi Prince to act as sugar daddy and finance the whole thing. Problem is, he has to be more interested in the GZM as a statement, because the commercial logic is missing and he isn't going to get paid back.

So, it is either (a) a victory mosque to commemorate 9/11 or (b) a scam to turn a quick buck off the government, or (c) a distressed buy of property in NYC and they hope to flip it back in a few years.

Posted by: sold2u | August 19, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Right. No one lives in Tribeca. Probably no one works around there either, come to think of it. That's probably why there aren't half a dozen health clubs and a couple of YMCAs within about a 5-minute walk... oh, wait. :-b

Posted by: CalD | August 19, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Not Tribeca. Tribeca's southern border is Chambers St. You have a bunch of commercial buildings bounded by the West Side Hwy, Ground Zero, City Hall, and the buffer zone before Tribeca.

I used to live in the Financial District. This area is more or less a wasteland.

Posted by: sold2u | August 19, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still: "Of course, you just revealed your true colors. You think all Muslims can not be trusted, and therefore you had to come up with your way to portray them as possible scam artists."

I dunno if it's the best conspiracy theory, given everything we know, but it's still not a bad theory. I don't think it has much with Muslims "can't be trusted". It probably has more to do with "real estate developers can't be trusted". Which is not a bad starting point when examining any real estate transaction.

Actually, I like the theory a lot. The only problem I see (sold2u's further elaborations aside) is that it seems too clever by half. It would involve the developers taking too much they couldn't have known ahead of time for granted.

But if you can change the ethnicity from Muslims to the Russian mob, I think you've got a heckuva good movie there. George Clooney discovers the CIA is in on it, and then he and Penlope Cruz are on the run. Dang, this just writes itself.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 19, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Where do I go to donate money for this project?

Posted by: jelperman | August 21, 2010 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company