There was once a sign in front of the Lower Manhattan building that the nonprofit Cordoba Initiative plans to tear down to build a 15-story Islamic community center. The sign read, "Islam Is Welcome Here," but would you believe that the sign is now missing, and that some people don't want to welcome their Muslim brothers and sisters? MyFoxNY discovered the sign was gone while shooting a segment on the "Ground Zero" mosque this morning. According to MyFoxNY, "It is unclear who had erected the sign and who removed it." Hmm, has anyone checked the back of the Fox news van?
In other late-breaking mosque news, NY1 landed an exclusive interview with the project's developer, Sharif El-Gamal. According to a tweet from NY1 reporter Josh Robin, El-Gamal declared, "This is a defining moment for the Muslim Americans across all 52 states." (To be fair, he was probably including Iraq and Afghanistan.) El-Gamal's gaffe has been edited out of the NY1 segment, but elsewhere in the interview El-Gamal reiterates that he will not accept Governor Paterson's offer to accommodate the project somewhere else on state property. (Earlier today Rep. Peter King (R-Anti-Mosqueville) told Politico that Governor Paterson would be meeting with El-Gamal this week, but that has not been confirmed by Paterson's staff.)
And finally tonight, Salon's published a thorough Snopes-esque timeline of how the "Ground Zero" mosque controversy got inflamed in the first place, tracing it back to wannabe Anne Coulter blogger Pamela Geller. Five quiet months passed between the NY Times' front page feature on the project in December and Andrea Peyser's first inaccurate rant in the Post ("The opening date shall live in infamy: Sept. 11, 2011!"). Geller was quoted in Peyser's column at length, and Salon sees the blogger's demagogic fingerprints all over the anti-mosque movement. Maybe there's a Webby Award in this for her!