Paterson to meet with mosque developers on possible new locationBy ANTHONY M. DESTEFANO
August 17, 2010
Gov. David A. Paterson is planning to sit down this week with developers of a planned mosque and Muslim community center near Ground Zero in the hopes of discussing a possible new site for the project, U.S. Rep. Peter King told Newsday on Tuesday.
During a phone call Tuesday to thank King for supporting him on the idea of a new location, Paterson said he was planning a meeting about the facility's location, said the Long Island Republican from Seaford.
"He believes that - which I do - that an alternative site is certainly worth exploring and would satisfy everyone," King said.
As a way of defusing emotions, Paterson floated the idea of moving the center from its planned location on Park Place in lower Manhattan, about 200 yards from Ground Zero. The placement of the mosque has ignited a political firestorm with consequences beyond New York City politics.
The governor's office and developers have been working together on the staff level, Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Hook said there have been no formal talks between the
Democratic governor and the imam or developer planning the $100 million project, the AP reported.
Last week, Paterson said he may be able to provide state land to relocate the project. Paterson said while he is not against the complex, he wanted to help quell controversy.
"I don't have any objection to it being built there, but I'm very sensitive to the desire of those who are adamant against it to see something else worked out," Paterson said.
King has said the mosque and community center should not be built so close to Ground Zero.
"While the Muslim community has the right to build the mosque, they are abusing that right by needlessly offending so many people who have suffered so much," he told Newsday on Monday.