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Saudi King Denies Proposal to Move Ground Zero Mosque

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By Lawrence D. Jones, Christian Post Reporter
December 21, 2010|5:58 pm

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has denied any involvement in efforts to move the ground zero Islamic center to another location in Manhattan.

The New York Post recently cited Manhattan attorney Dudley Gaffin saying that the Saudi billionaire was interested in transferring the site of the controversial mosque near The World Trade Center up to St. Vincent's Medical Center's old campus in Greenwich Village.

According to the report, Abdullah would purchase the hospital site and build the Islamic center on 12th Street, just east of Seventh Avenue.

The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia to the United States in Washington, D.C., issued a statement this week rejecting the report.

"The Government of Saudi Arabia has no involvement, either directly or indirectly, with Park51, formerly known as Cordoba House, in New York City, nor is it involved – in anyway – in talks that may be taking place to relocate the proposed community center," the embassy stated.

"The Government of Saudi Arabia considers this issue a domestic American matter."

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The mosque's proximity to the site where 3,000 people lost their lives in on Sept. 11, 2001, has fueled anger and protests with opponents demanding that the center to be moved elsewhere.

Developers behind Park51 have remain undeterred, if not insistent, on constructing the $100 million project at the former Burlington Coat Factory in Lower Manhattan. Multiple protests opposing the center's location nor a threat to burn the Quran have swayed leaders of the Cordoba Initiative who spearheaded the project.

The proposed 13- to 16-story center would include a mosque, a daycare, preschool, gym and 9/11 memorial.

The imam behind the project, Feisal Abdul Rauf, recently announced the launch of the Cordoba Movement as a way to "retake" control of the global discussion on the link between Islam and violence.

"The battle isn’t between America and Islam," Imam Feisal said in a statement. "Instead, it is a battle between the 95 percent of people in the world who want peace and the violent radicals who benefit from hatred and violence."

Last month, opponents were outraged that Park51 developers applied for a $5 million grant in federal money, intended to rebuild the area surrounding the 9/11 attacks, to fund the project.

"It's just so disingenuous. It took us by complete surprise," Tim Brown, a former New York firefighter and 9/11 First Responder, told Fox News. "It's like getting the middle finger put right in your face."

 

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