The first piece is at New York Post, "Half-baked mosque: Developer owns only part of site." (Via Memeorandum.) The piece notes that Daisy Khan, the wife of mosque-builder and jihad-sponsor Imam Rauf, has denied knowledge that one of the two buildings on location is owned by Con Edison. According to the article, "Rep. Peter King, who opposes the mosque, said the developers seemed to be "operating under false pretenses'."
The second piece, which is even more breathtaking, is Claudia Rosett's at Forbes, "Further Travels of Imam Feisal." As reported by Rossett, Imam Rauf is "about to embark on a nearly month-long swing through the Middle East, with plans to visit Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar." This could well be considered a routine goodwill visit to the region, and not a Persian Gulf fundraising drive for the Ground Zero Mosque. The problem is that Imam Rauf's tour is actually a junket sponsored by the U.S. State Department, and apparently no one at Foggy Bottom wants to talk about it:
At the State Department, which presumably will be spending taxpayer money on Rauf's tour, I have yet to receive confirmation or any other information about his program, despite three days of my repeated requests by phone and e-mail. Apparently it is taking a while for State's Bureau of Public Diplomacy to get "clearance" to release any details of this particular public outreach effort, though Rauf's wife says it has been in the works for months.Rauf's wife is Daisy Khan, now coming under fire for her "ignorance" of Con Ed's half-ownership of Park Place. And Rossett continues on why the State Department tour is problematic:
All this comes at a moment when Rauf and his partners in New York are preparing to raise $100 million to build a 13-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero. A Manhattan Landmarks committee gave the necessary approval on Aug. 3 to tear down the old Burlington Coat Factory building already purchased for $4.85 million by a real estate developer partnering with Rauf. That building is so close to Ground Zero that on the morning of the Sept. 11 attacks parts of one of the hijacked planes damaged its roof. On that lot, the Islamic center project is now cleared to roll forward, once the money rolls in.
In May the English-language website of Asharq Al-Awsat reported that Rauf, in a London interview, had said his Islamic center will be financed by donations both from Muslims in the U.S. and from Arab and Islamic countries. Asked recently how this might work in detail, Kahn said she doesn't know; all plans are still in flux while a new entity to handle the Islamic center project "is being formed."Damn straight.
To some of the defenders of this project, such specifics don't matter. New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg this week said he doesn't care where the $100 million comes from; he sees it as none of the government's business. If the only criterion here is that Rauf and his partners comply with the minimum due diligence and disclosure required by law, Bloomberg has a point.
But to a great many Americans, it quite likely does matter where the money comes from. For one thing, there is always the potential for the preferences of big donors to sway the behavior of nonprofit ventures. Countries such as Saudi Arabia are not known for full-throated support of American values and freedoms.
For another, the current uproar over the project is testimony all by itself that to many Americans, the site of the World Trade Center is freighted with symbolism. That may not always register as a matter of law, but it does matter. Ground Zero is both the geographic and symbolic heart of the attacks in which Islamist terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001, murdered almost 3,000 Americans.
Of those 19 terrorists, 15 were from Saudi Arabia and two were from the United Arab Emirates; the others were Egyptian and Lebanese. If Rauf wishes to raise money from the part of the world that raised these terrorists, especially from Saudi Arabia or the UAE, then within normal constraints of U.S. law, he is entitled to do so.
But if Rauf's aim is truly, as he says, to build bridges, reach out and promote harmony in America, then punctuating his Ground Zero project with a summer swing past fonts of Islamic oil money seems an odd way to go about it. With emotions rubbed raw among some families of Sept. 11 victims, with arguments boiling over the "bridge-building" project Rauf himself set in motion, it would seem far more fitting for him to spend his time in America, answering, not least, the many questions he has repeatedly deflected about the money.
It's going to take more reporting like this for these facts to sink in among the jihadi-enabling MSM. These questions are worth investigating, but the debate is completely polarized, just as we saw with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab ("the system worked") and Major Nidal Malik Hasan ("he was just, sort of, a religious nut").
Meanwhile, I've borrowed the title of this post from Daniel Greenfield, "The Muslim Hijacking of Ground Zero":
Islam doesn't just hijack planes, it hijacks the things that mean something to people. The great cities of the world are littered with relics of the Muslim occupation of their sacred places. Jerusalem, Delhi, Constantinople and Alexandria all testify to the Muslim predilection for taking over other people's sacred places, and turning them into mosques. It wasn't enough for Muslims to conquer Jerusalem and subjugate its inhabitants. No, they also had to take the holiest place in Judaism and build a mosque on top of it. Similarly it wasn't enough for them to conquer and rename Constantinople, they also had to turn the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. These are not exceptions to the rule. In Asia, the Middle East and Europe, there are numberless examples of the same thing ...Powerful.
Ground Zero is not only the central point of the Muslim massacre of 3000 people. It is also the central point of the memory of that massacre. The area is the place where people come to remember what happened. To see, to hear and to pay tribute to the dead. Which is exactly why Muslims are determined to hijack it for their own purposes, with a highly visible mosque and their own 9/11 museum that will feature a radically altered version of history. What they are after is the equivalent of putting up a Holocaust Revisionism museum outside the Holocaust museum ...
At Ground Zero, all Americans realized that Islam was an inescapable question that they must grapple with. It is a powerful symbol. And symbols are dangerous. People will fight and die for symbols, as they will not for cold hard facts. It is why the left has tried to hijack it using the IFC. They failed. Now where they failed, the Islamists intend to succeed. And just as the IFC was backed by Bloomberg, so too the Ground Zero mosque is being backed by Bloomberg. It's why the media and liberals are shouting down all criticism of the Ground Zero mosque. Islam and the left both want to suppress the real history of September 11. They want Americans to forget who did it, and instead feed them excuses about "American foreign policy" and of course those omnipresent Jews, who are really to blame for it all ....
The Great Lie told and retold over and over again for the last 9 years, is that Islam was not responsible for 9/11. That lie has been repeated over and over again. It has permeated our culture. It has filled our media. The politicians have echoed it. Books and articles are written that treat it as something every reasonable person understands. Islam had nothing to do with 9/11. Not a damn thing.
The Ground Zero mosque is that lie made flesh. It is that revisionist history given physical form, turned into brick and mortar, steel and cement, raised up to the sky, to look down mockingly on the Ground Zero construction site itself, and the people who come there to reflect and remember. It mocks their memories. It mocks the dead. Its arrogance is the same as that of the Muslim burners of the Great Library of Alexandria, of Hanan Ashrawi claiming there was no Jewish connection to Joseph's Tomb, or Anwar Al-Awlaki, who had advised the 9/11 hijackers, telling reporters after the attacks that Islam opposes terrorism. It is an act of beheading, not of flesh, but of identity. It takes a blade and saws at the neck of a culture, cutting off its head through lies and deceit.
I can't add to that, but see also:
* "Ground Zero Mosque Would Desecrate the Memory of 9/11 Victims."RELATED: At NYT (FWIW), "Battles Around Nation Over Proposed Mosques."
* "Dishonest Imam Rauf in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar for Ground Zero Mosque Money."
* "A Muslim victim of 9/11: 'Build your mosque somewhere else'."
* "Dershowitz vs. Hanson on the ADL and the Ground Zero Mosque."
* "Why won't the Left defend Christians as fiercely as it defends Muslims?"