During last night's Ramadan dinner at Gracie Mansion, Mayor Bloomberg took the opportunity to once again remind New York (and the country), "America is a nation of immigrants, and no place opens its doors more widely to the world than New York City. America is the land of opportunity, and no place offers its residents more opportunity to pursue their dreams than New York City. America is beacon of freedom, and no place defends those freedoms more fervently, or has been attacked for those freedoms more ferociously, than New York City." And, specifically getting to the issue of the summer:

"The wounds of 9/11 are still very much with us. And I know that is true for Talat Hamdani, who is here with us tonight, and who lost her son, Salman Hamdani, on 9/11. There will always be a hole in our hearts for the men and women who perished that day.

"After the attacks, some argued - including some of those who lost loved ones - that the entire site should be reserved for a memorial. But we decided - together, as a city - that the best way to honor all those we lost, and to repudiate our enemies, was to build a moving memorial and to rebuild the site.

"We wanted the site to be an inspiring reminder to the world that this city will never forget our dead and never stop living. We vowed to bring Lower Manhattan back - stronger than ever - as a symbol of our defiance and I think it's fair to say we have. Today, it is more of a community neighborhood than ever before, with more people than ever living, working, playing and praying there.

"But if we say that a mosque or a community center should not be built near the perimeter of the World Trade Center site, we would compromise our commitment to fighting terror with freedom.

"We would undercut the values and principles that so many heroes died protecting. We would feed the false impressions that some Americans have about Muslims. We would send a signal around the world that Muslim Americans may be equal in the eyes of the law, but separate in the eyes of their countrymen. And we would hand a valuable propaganda tool to terrorist recruiters, who spread the fallacy that America is at war with Islam."

You can read his entire remarks here. Both Sharif El-Gamal, developer of the controversial Park 51 mosque and community center project, and Daisy Khan, the wife of its imam, attended the dinner: El-Gamal said, "Mayor Bloomberg's speech embodied the values and the mores that we as Muslim Americans live and cherish," while Khan said she was "almost in tears."

However a protester across the street told the Wall Street Journal, "There is no responsibility of a Jewish mayor of a largely Jewish town to give an Iftar dinner. The fact that he is says again that he is sticking a stick in our eye."