New York’s Governor and Archbishop to Discuss ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ on Tuesday

August 24, 2010 - 6:02 AM
Gov. David Paterson and Archbishop Timothy Dolan have sought to offer an alternative site because of the tensions surrounding the current plans for a new Islamic community center and mosque.
Albany, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. David Paterson said Monday he'll meet with Archbishop Timothy Dolan to discuss a mosque and Islamic community center planned two blocks from ground zero.
 
The private meeting will be held Tuesday at the Democratic governor's Manhattan office.
 
Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook wouldn't detail the agenda of the meeting, which will be closed to the press. But Paterson and Dolan have sought to offer an alternative site because of the tensions surrounding the current plan.
 
Some Republicans have called the current proposal an insult to Americans and those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Polls have shown a rising majority of New Yorkers oppose the project. Last week's Siena College poll found 63 percent of New York voters opposed the plan, with the strongest support -- 36 percent -- coming from New York City voters.
 
Opponents and protesters say the mosque should be moved farther away from where Islamic extremists destroyed the World Trade Center in 2001. Supporters say religious freedom should be protected.
 
Paterson also has renewed his Aug. 10 offer of state assistance to the project's developers if they want to move.
 
Hook said the offer still stands despite little response from the center's planners. He said no meeting is scheduled between the governor and the center's organizers, including The Cordoba Initiative.
 
Cordoba co-founder Daisy Khan declined to comment Monday on whether the organization would consider a move.
 
Khan, the wife of Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf, told reporters in recent days that proponents hope to soon meet with Paterson, families of victims of the terrorist attacks and others. That appears to be a departure from Friday, when Cordoba announced no meetings were scheduled with Paterson.
 
It appears to be a departure from Friday, when the Cordoba Initiative announced no meetings had been scheduled were scheduled with Paterson.
 
On Monday, Kahn declined further comment. Asked when she would comment, Khan said "probably in early September ... right now, I'm not commenting on anything."
 
There was no immediate comment from Dolan's spokesman on Tuesday's meeting.
 
"The governor offered to meet with the imam and or the developers," Hook said Monday. "It still stands. He's just willing to help in any way he can to ease the tensions on this issue."
 
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Associated Press writer Deepti Hajela contributed to this report from New York.