A Fox News talk show host says he plans to build a gay bar catering to homosexual Muslim men on the same block as the proposed Islamic mosque and community center two blocks from Ground Zero.
"This is not a joke," Greg Gutfield wrote on his blog. "I've already spoken to a number of investors, who have pledged their support in this bipartisan bid for understanding and tolerance." According to his blog, there is available commercial space next to Park51's future location, and he is in negotiations to purchase it.
Gutfield, the host of late-night talk show Red Eye, says this planned drinking establishment would cater specifically to Muslim gay men. Gutfield calls the plan "an effort to break down barriers and reduce deadly homophobia in the Islamic world."
His announcement has been met with skepticism. This morning, Mediaite called it "one of the most brilliant pieces of provocation in recent years." Mediaite's Jon Bershad continued, "The only thing that would make this plan perfect would be if Gutfield created a chain of gay bars and plopped them down next to churches and synagogues since it's not like those religions have been super open-minded."
The Muslim American Society also questioned Gutfield's intent. "Any mosque that's built in America is not built with the idea of having contentious or hostile relations with any other community around it," Human and Civil Rights program director Ibrahim Ramey told NBCNewYork. "We have our own faith and our own values but we certainly aren't going to attack other people even though they have values and orientations that are not necessarily of our faith and our religion."
"It's a free country...if [Gutfield] wanted to do that it would suggest that the idea of this location being some kind of quote-unquote sacred space...is obviously not true." Ramey added that "We doubt very seriously that the proposed initiative would have any direct connection with or patronage from people attending the mosque."
The group GLAAD has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Assuming Gutfield is both serious and successful in building an Islamic gay bar, Bershad deadpanned, "this is going to be an exciting block."
"Bottom line," wrote Gutfield on his blog, "I hope that the mosque owners will be as open to the bar as I am to the new mosque. After all, the belief driving them to open up their center near Ground Zero is no different than mine.
"My place, however, will have better music," he added.