Facebook Group Opposes Mosque at Ground Zero

Controversial new neighbor at Ground Zero: A mosque

By Lynda Baquero
|  Tuesday, Aug 17, 2010  |  Updated 4:03 PM EDT
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Mosque Coming to Ground Zero

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Construction cranes work at Ground Zero.

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Mosque Coming to Ground Zero

Ground zero could have another new tenant soon: a mosque. There are plans to build a mosque just yards from the site of the World Trade Center...to help meet the needs of the growing number of Muslims Downtown. But there's growing opposition... Through Facebook. Lynda Baquero reports.
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Construction continues in and around Ground Zero more than eight years after the events of September Eleventh. And one of the newest construction projects could be a mosque two blocks away.

A former Burlington Coat Factory building on Park Place is being eyed as the future home of the Cordoba House, sponsored by the American Society for Muslim Advancement, in partnership with the Cordoba Initiative. Community Board 1 has reportedly already  passed a resolution in favor of the proposal.

In addition to a mosque, the Cordoba House would have rooms for community events, a performance space, fitness facilities and classrooms. It would cost about $100 million to build, and fundraising efforts are just now underway. The mosque could be open in three years.

But before construction even begins, there's already opposition from a group on Facebook. The page is called "1,000,000+ people who disapprove of building a mosque at Ground Zero!" and just days after launching, there are already over 20,000 members.

The page's administrator spoke with NBCNewYork by telephone from his home upstate. He asked that we not name him, because of "security concerns."

He said the idea behind the page is "not to bash Muslims or tell them they can't practice their faith", but to express his belief that  the location is an "inappropriate place". He added that the page is "growing at a rate of 200 people an hour."

Supporters though say the mosque's location is ideal because it would address the growing number of Muslims downtown.

Nooh Al-Arcon, who lives in Brooklyn but works near Ground Zero, told us, "there's a very small amount of mosques throughout New York", and added, "I think it's better to definitely have more mosques in more places because this is the best way to integrate into society."

As for opponents of the planned mosque, Al-Arcon says "I would hope that people would have an open  heart and mind to the dignity and respect that Islam portrays."

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