A protest rally has been scheduled for Sunday afternoon against the proposed construction of a mosque at the Ground Zero site in lower Manhattan.
The rally, organized by Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), was set to kick off at noon at the corner of Church Street and Liberty Street and will feature about a dozen speakers, including the family member of a 9/11 victim, a Hindu human rights activist, and a former Muslim.
"Building the Ground Zero mosque is not an issue of religious freedom, but of resisting an effort to insult the victims of 9/11 and to establish a beachhead for political Islam and Islamic supremacism in New York," SIOA states in its announcement of the rally.
"SIOA is calling upon the Imam Feisal [Abdul Rauf] and other mosque organizers to withdraw their plans of the Ground Zero mosque in the interests of mutual understanding and mutual respect. Ground Zero is a war memorial, a burial ground. Respect it," the group adds.
Sunday's rally comes less than two weeks after a New York community board voted 29 to 1 in favor of plans to build a mosque and Islam center near the 9/11 site.
The center, which will be known as the Cordoba House, is being marketed by project organizers as a world-class facility that promotes tolerance and reflects the rich diversity of New York City.
Able to hold up to 1,500 worshipers for Friday prayer meetings, the center "will be community-driven, serving as a platform for inter-community gatherings and cooperation at all levels, providing a space for all New Yorkers to enjoy," say organizers.
SIOA, however, claims that Ground Zero mosque imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and other mosque organizers have been inconsistent and deceptive in reporting their plans for the Cordoba House.
"Belying his claim that this mosque will become a place for interreligious harmony, he (Rauf) has told the Arabic press: 'I don't believe in religious dialogue,'" SIOA reports.
"His wife Daisy Khan has trivialized and insulted the memories of the victims of the 9/11 jihad attacks by saying that the mosque is intended to 'make something positive out of 9/11,'" it adds.
SIOA's efforts against the proposed center is being backed by a number of groups in New York, including the Freedom Defense Initiative, the Staten Island Tea Party, Shalom International, the Unity Coalition for Israel, 911 Families, and Faith Freedom International.
SIOA describes itself as an organization that defends human rights, religious liberty, and the freedom of speech against "Islamic supremacist intimidation" and attempts to bring elements of Sharia to the United States.