The money woes keep growing for a developer of the Ground Zero mosque.
Valley National Bank is suing Sharif El-Gamal and his real-estate company, Soho Properties, seeking $95,778 plus interest for an unrepaid loan. The firm took out a $100,000 line of credit, guaranteed by El-Gamal, from the bank in 2008, but defaulted in early 2009, according to court papers.
A spokesman for El-Gamal declined to comment yesterday.
El-Gamal moved from the firm’s offices in September after his landlord initiated eviction proceedings over $39,000 in back rent.
He also failed to pay his city taxes in January and July, but agreed to a payment plan in September for $270,000, including interest.
The NY Post has more details,
Donald Trump makes bid for proposed mosque building
Trump’s offer is for the amount Egyptian businessman Hisham Elzanaty originally paid for the two-building site and related lease rights last year, plus a 25-percent premium. That would make the offer worth more than $6 million.
The offer also contains one key condition — that any mosque built by the backers elsewhere “would be located at least five blocks further from the World Trade Center site,” the mogul wrote in a letter to a major investor in the mosque site, Egyptian businessman Hisham Elzanaty.
But Trump’s low-ball offer might not quash the mosque brouhaha because Elzanaty yesterday said he was willing to sell the site and related lease rights for “18 or 20 million dollars.”
Elzanaty, who provided the majority of the $4.85 million financing used to acquire the site in 2009, said he has already received offers for three times that amount from other bidders.
Extortion. Pure and simple.
Well, that didn’t take long: NY mosque investor declines Trump’s buyout offer
Donald Trump offered Thursday to buy out a major investor in the real estate partnership that controls the site near ground zero where a Muslim group wants to build a 13-story Islamic center and mosque.
The offer, though, fell flat nearly instantly.
“This is just a cheap attempt to get publicity and get in the limelight,” said Wolodymyr Starosolsky, a lawyer for the investor, Hisham Elzanaty.
And of course Elzanaty would never stoop to such a thing.
Imam Rauf goes on CNN and says the handling of Islamic center plan is a matter of national security, because if they move the location
“The headlines in the Muslim world will be that Islam is under attack.”
Does that mean we Americans will be in danger?
Moving the project to another location would strengthen Islamist radicals’ ability to recruit followers and will likely increase violence against Americans, the imam said.
Do as he says or else.
Listen to him,
Veiled threats in the spirit of intertfaith understanding?
If some nut in Florida burns korans? Our national security is hurt.
If we don’t build a mosque? Our national security is hurt.
And of course the Imam claims,
“had I known [the controversy] would happen we certainly would never have done this.” Asked if he meant he would not have picked the location, Rauf said, “we would not have done something that would create more divisiveness.”
Today’s news is brought to you by the word Taqiyya:
The word “Taqiyya” literally means: “Concealing, precaution, guarding.” It is employed in disguising one’s beliefs, intentions, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions or strategies. In practical terms it is manifested as dissimulation, lying, deceiving, vexing and confounding with the intention of deflecting attention, foiling or pre-emptive blocking. It is currently employed in fending off and neutralising any criticism of Islam or Muslims.
Remember that word every time the Iman opens his mouth.
At Breitbart TV
The man who continues to talk about healing and building bridges has thrown down the gauntlet. He created this entire situation by demanding that his mega-mosque be built in this exact location, despite the legitimate concerns of families of lost heroes whom he claims to care about. And now that the opposition of this mosque has fully engaged and has successfully swayed a vast majority of Americans to their side, he tells an international audience that if his plans don’t go forward, America’s national security will be at risk.
It could be that the Imam’s threats, delivered in calm even tones, might end up doing more for the case against his mosque than any rally in the streets could ever do. And given Mr. Rauf’s knowledge of the irrational and violent nature of the most radical practitioners of his faith, one has to challenge his judgment in even proposing this project in the first place.
While Rauf was out of town and disdaining all questions about such venal matters as money, New Jersey’s Bergen Record was digging up some fascinating material on the Lexus-driving Armani-clad imam’s alternate career as a proprietor of roach-infested, filth-plagued, poorly maintained, taxpayer-subsidized low-income housing in New Jersey — including some of the related financial tangles. And Steve Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism was uncovering oddities pertaining to the tax-exempt “church” status of Rauf and Khan’s American Society for Muslim Advancement, or ASMA, which shares an office with the Cordoba Initiative, and is involved in its finances. As for building bridges… what does that mean? It’s a metaphor drawn from the same stack of baloney that the Islamic Republic of Iran served up when it proposed the U.N.’s 2001 project for a “Dialogue of Civilizations” (out of which came the UN’s current Alliance of Civilizations, now partnering with Rauf’s Cordoba Initiative). In planting one end of his bridge at Ground Zero, with all the attendant jarred nerves and publicity value, where exactly will Rauf be planting the other end? Who will be traversing this bridge? Which way? Who will be paying for it? And why?
Rauf presents his planned edifice as a sort of crossroads among Islam, Christianity and Judaism. And he’s a sensitive kind of guy: “I am very sensitive to the feelings of the families of victims of 9/11, as are my fellow leaders of many faiths. We will accordingly seek the support of those families, and the support of our vibrant neighborhood, as we consider the ultimate plans for the community center. Our objective has always been to make this a center for unification and healing.”
But in Rauf’s absence we have largely unified around the proposition that the mosque doesn’t belong there. And the healing will begin when Rauf abandons the project. Looking on the bright side, Daniel Pipes thinks that Rauf may have roused us from our slumbers
The reformers’ slim chance at prevailing hinges on the American people’s will to say “no” to our self-anointed betters. Ground Zero, once again the site of epic Islamist overreach, may be remembered as the place where we started to say “no.”
As of last Friday, 67% of NYC Residents Oppose Ground Zero Mosque According to NYT Poll.
A new song on the Ground Zero mosque,
Christopher Hitchens has a few choice words about the imam,
A Test of Tolerance
The “Ground Zero mosque” debate is about tolerance—and a whole lot more (emphasis added)
I do not find myself reassured by the fact that Imam Rauf publicly endorses the most extreme and repressive version of Muslim theocracy. The letterhead of the statement, incidentally, describes him as the Cordoba Initiative’s “Founder and Visionary.” Why does that not delight me, either?
Emboldened by the crass nature of the opposition to the center, its defenders have started to talk as if it represented no problem at all and as if the question were solely one of religious tolerance. It would be nice if this were true. But tolerance is one of the first and most awkward questions raised by any examination of Islamism. We are wrong to talk as if the only subject was that of terrorism. As Western Europe has already found to its cost, local Muslim leaders have a habit, once they feel strong enough, of making demands of the most intolerant kind. Sometimes it will be calls for censorship of anything “offensive” to Islam. Sometimes it will be demands for sexual segregation in schools and swimming pools. The script is becoming a very familiar one. And those who make such demands are of course usually quite careful to avoid any association with violence. They merely hint that, if their demands are not taken seriously, there just might be a teeny smidgeon of violence from some other unnamed quarter …
As for the gorgeous mosaic of religious pluralism, it’s easy enough to find mosque Web sites and DVDs that peddle the most disgusting attacks on Jews, Hindus, Christians, unbelievers, and other Muslims—to say nothing of insane diatribes about women and homosexuals. This is why the fake term Islamophobia is so dangerous: It insinuates that any reservations about Islam must ipso facto be “phobic.” A phobia is an irrational fear or dislike. Islamic preaching very often manifests precisely this feature, which is why suspicion of it is by no means irrational.
From my window, I can see the beautiful minaret of the Washington, D.C., mosque on Massachusetts Avenue. It is situated at the heart of the capital city’s diplomatic quarter, and it is where President Bush went immediately after 9/11 to make his gesture toward the “religion of peace.” A short while ago, the wife of a new ambassador told me that she had been taking her dog for a walk when a bearded man accosted her and brusquely warned her not to take the animal so close to the sacred precincts. Muslim cabdrivers in other American cities have already refused to take passengers with “unclean” canines.
Another feature of my local mosque that I don’t entirely like is the display of flags outside, purportedly showing all those nations that are already Muslim. Some of these flags are of countries like Malaysia, where Islam barely has a majority, or of Turkey, which still has a secular constitution. At the United Nations, the voting bloc of the Organization of the Islamic Conference nations is already proposing a resolution that would circumscribe any criticism of religion in general and of Islam in particular. So, before he is used by our State Department on any more goodwill missions overseas, I would like to see Imam Rauf asked a few searching questions about his support for clerical dictatorship in, just for now, Iran. Let us by all means make the “Ground Zero” debate a test of tolerance. But this will be a one-way street unless it is to be a test of Muslim tolerance.
As you may recall from yesterday’s post, the imam believes the US is worse than al-Qaeda; The imam is the guy the State Department calls
“a moderate Muslim figure here in the United States” who preaches “religious tolerance throughout the world.”
As Ron Radosh states
Rauf is the Obama administration’s and the State Department’s man in the Middle East, sent to assure his audiences that the US will be sensitive to their needs, and is ever ready to appease them in the interests of “peace.” We do all this, while the Imam tells his audiences quite the opposite .” Like them, he wants the destruction of Israel, rationalizes terrorism and accuses the United States of real terrorism against Muslims, while seeking to have his fellow Americans accept the Islamic theocracy as the regime he says is favored by the people of Iran.
How much longer can the fiction be maintained that this man and his proposed Ground Zero mosque is a moderate and a man of peace?
Ryan Mauro looks at other Ground Zero mosque supporters,
Another signatory of the letter is Suhail Khan, a long-time associate of Norquist’s. Khan’s father served as Vice President of the Muslim Students Association, founded by the Brotherhood. His father also served as an official of the Islamic Society of North America, another Brotherhood-tied group currently listed by the government as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Holy Land Foundation trial, a designation shared with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Khan’s mother served on the board of CAIR’s California branch and Khan accused critics of CAIR of exploiting the Fort Hood shooting for their “political partisan and worse, for their racist ends.” Frank Gaffney, President of the Center for Security Policy, told me that an FBI Special Agent involved in terrorism investigations informed him that Khan is indeed a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Imam’s wife is also traveling on US taxpayer’s dime. Claudia Rosett explains how the two are Cashing In On Ground Zero
Among the prime planners of a $100 million Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero, it’s not just Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf who is visiting the Middle East this summer at U.S. taxpayer expense. The State Department is also about to send Rauf’s wife and Cordoba Initiative fellow director, Daisy Khan, on her own taxpayer-funded “public diplomacy” trip to the United Arab Emirates. Khan is scheduled to visit the UAE from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2, overlapping there with Rauf, for whom it will be the final leg of a three-country trip including Bahrain and Qatar.
The Imam & Mrs are on a roll,
For Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and Daisy Khan, Ground Zero has become a bonanza. Since their plans hit the headlines this spring, they have achieved celebrity status on a scale that millions in advertising, or less abrasive “outreach” efforts, could not buy. Their names are all over the news. Their project has become a fixture on the summer talk shows. In the escalating furor, along with the criticisms , they have received de facto endorsements from such prominent folks as New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Barack Obama (whose supportive remarks about their project, delivered at an Aug. 13 Iftar dinner at the White House, are now featured on U.S. embassy websites worldwide; but whose later waffling is not). Their real-estate partner, El-Gamal, has told the press, “This might become the most famous community center in the world.” Whatever comes of this, Rauf, Khan and El-Gamal are likely to dine out on it–and well–for a long time.
And make no mistake. While the Cordoba Initiative is now implying on its website that the mosque and Islamic center is mainly about serving a neighborhood, and “is not located at Ground Zero,” Rauf himself told a very different tale to the New York Times last December. Back then, Rauf said the location’s chief attraction was its proximity to Ground Zero–so close that it is, as he noted, “Where a piece of the wreckage fell.” In Rauf’s view, that made for an ideal venue to make “the opposite statement to what happened on 9/11.”
And, by the way, Claudia Rosett made the trip on far less than $12,000,
Hmmm. I flew out to the UAE this spring, spent more time there than they plan to, spent another two weeks in Turkey, stayed in some very pleasant hotels, hired cars, ate well, and somehow it all came to significantly less than Khan’s trip alone… next time, I’ve got to get this right.
But then, Claudia wasn’t flying at US taxpayers’ expense.
The question remains, Why Are We ‘Driving Ms. Daisy’? And her husband, too?
A lot of people have been posting on Imam Feisal’s statement saying the USA is worse than al-Qaeda,
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf: “We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al Qaida has on its hands of innocent non Muslims. You may remember that the US-led sanctions against Iraq led to the death of over half a million Iraqi children. This has been documented by the United Nations. And when Madeleine Albright, who has become a friend of mine over the last couple of years, when she was Secretary of State and was asked whether this was worth it, said it was worth it.
Bad enough, yes.
But there’s also this, which Andy McCarthy noticed,
We now have post-Zionism movements in Israel. We have a very broad spectrum of people in Israel who regard Israel as a nation state, as a secular state, as a multicultural state. The very fabric and demographic, and I would say even identity, of Israel has shifted enormously in the last 60 years since its founding. . . .
The differences, perhaps, may lie on whether the solution lies in the two-state solution or in a one-state solution. I believe that you had someone here recently who spoke about having a “one land and two peoples” solution to Israel. And I personally — my own personal analysis tells me that a one-state solution is a more coherent one than a two-state solution.
No, he is not talking about Israel being the “one state”; to the contrary. What it means is, as McCarthy explains,
This is the “solution to Israel” preferred by the Muslim Brotherhood and the anti-Israel Left.
For the Islamists, the terror campaign of Hamas (which is the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch) is a method of keeping up the pressure. It is not something they believe will, by itself, destroy Israel. Terrorism is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. The end in question here is the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. Hamas is pledged to use violent jihad, but the important thing is accomplishing the mission, not how it is accomplished.
The idea is that once Israel’s status as a Jewish state is delegitimized and democratically overturned, the Palestinian territories can be formally joined to Israel, and it will soon become a Palestinian Islamic state — at which point there will be no further need for democracy. That’s the one-state political solution. It just happens to be the same as Hamas’s terrorist solution: No more Israel.
McCarthy also wants to know why is the State Department paying for the Imam’s tour of the Middle East?
For anyone who has studied how the Brotherhood operates, taken note of Rauf’s Brotherhood associations, and listened to the imam’s slippery answers to simple questions such as Do you believe Hamas is a terrorist organization?, none of this is surprising. But it does raise a question for the Obama administration as it pressures Israel to return to the negotiating table: If the official policy of the United States is that Hamas is a terrorist organization and that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “two states living side-by-side in peace,” how can the State Department be using, for diplomatic missions to Arab states, an emissary who doesn’t believe Hamas is a terrorist organization and who favors a one-state solution in which the Jewish state is disappeared?
For more of the Imam’s words, go to Pamela’s post. Here’s the video, but you must read the rest,
(will be adding to this post throughout the day)
Charles Krauthammer spells out the Moral myopia at Ground Zero
Radical Islam is not, by any means, a majority of Islam. But with its financiers, clerics, propagandists, trainers, leaders, operatives and sympathizers — according to a conservative estimate, it commands the allegiance of 7 percent of Muslims, i.e., more than 80 million souls — it is a very powerful strain within Islam. It has changed the course of nations and affected the lives of millions. It is the reason every airport in the West is an armed camp and every land is on constant alert.
Ground Zero is the site of the most lethal attack of that worldwide movement, which consists entirely of Muslims, acts in the name of Islam and is deeply embedded within the Islamic world. These are regrettable facts, but facts they are. And that is why putting up a monument to Islam in this place is not just insensitive but provocative.
No Sheeples Here has the video as part of a great post,
Scott Johnson has the latest about Rauf on the road
Claudia Rosett has taken a professional interest in the taxpayer-funded travels of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. For reasons that escape me, Rosett is apparently alone in her efforts. In any event, in a dispatch posted late last night, Rosett reports:
[L]ate Thursday night, New York time — Thursday morning in the Middle East — I phoned the U.S. Embassy in Bahrain, the first stop on Rauf’s “public diplomacy” tour.
Asked if the imam had arrived in Bahrain, an embassy official told me: “Yes, that’s correct.”
And that, folks, is the sum total right now of the information available to the American public about the taxpayer-funded public outreach activities these next few days of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf in Bahrain. I had more questions. But Imam Feisal evidently moves in circles in which inquiries about whom he’s meeting overseas, what he’s telling them, or where he plans to get $100 million for his mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero are seen by both Rauf and his hosts as an extraordinary intrusion on his public outreach and bridge-building endeavors. The U.S. Embassy in Bahrain would offer nothing further on the record about Ambassador Adam Ereli’s controversial guest. There is so far no reply to queries I emailed to the U.S. embassies in Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE.
Jammie links to a NY Daily News article on the unions – no building goes up in New York City without union work: The workers are even wearing stickers on their hardhats,
They won’t build it! Hardhats vow not to work on controversial mosque near Ground Zero
A growing number of New York construction workers are vowing not to work on the mosque planned near Ground Zero.
The grass-roots movement is gaining momentum on the Internet. One construction worker created the “Hard Hat Pledge” on his blog and asked others to vow not to work on the project if it stays on Park Place.
“Thousands of people are signing up from all over the country,” said creator Andy Sullivan, a construction worker from Brooklyn. “People who sell glass, steel, lumber, insurance. They are all refusing to do work if they build there.”
Darleen has the cartoon (click on it for larger image),
And one of this year’s greatest ironies, Ground Zero Mosque Proponents Now Seeking Support of … George W. Bush
As a counterweight to Imam Rauf’s propaganda coup, The El Cid Project aims to establish a different narrative around the hallowed ground in Lower Manhattan. The Castilian nobleman Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, popularly known as “El Cid”, led a successful campaign in the 11th century against the Moors. He is a hero of the Reconquista, the centuries-long Christian struggle to drive the Muslims out of Iberia.
In 1961 El Cid was made into a movie starring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren. It’s a gorgeous production — they don’t make movies like that anymore. Just imagine: Christian soldiers marching proudly into battle under the banner of the Cross — in a Hollywood movie!
What a difference fifty years makes.
The El Cid Project proposes screening the movie near the Ground Zero site. We’ll do our part by showing a YouTube version of it here in seventeen installments
Here is part 1,
Watch the rest here.