More than 1,000 people took to the streets near Ground Zero in New York City on Sunday to protest the proposed building of a mosque. Protesters are angry that a Muslim house of worship would stand in the former shadow of the World Trade Center, where Islamic militants killed nearly 3,000 people.
"It's not a question of building a mosque. It's where they're building it," said Glenn Corbett, a former deputy fire chief in New Jersey. "It's insensitive to the 9/11 families because Islam's faith was so central to the actions of 9/11."
In addition to members of the Tea Party, several relatives of 9/11 victims showed up. "This proposed mosque is an insult to my son," said Joyce Boland (above), whose son died in the attack.
"They say they want to teach us and want to be friends to us," she said of the mosque supporters. "You can't be friends when you are sticking someone in the eye with a knife."
Photo Courtesy Bergen Record
Supporters of the mosque, however, say it is just that sentiment they are trying to combat.
"Islam was hijacked by the terrorists," said Aref Assaf, who is president of the New Jersey-based American Arab Forum and who has donated funds to the Ground Zero mosque. "It was not Islam that caused the events of 9/11. It was the terrorists."
Plans to build the mosque were boosted when a local community board voted last month to support the project.