While Governor Paterson has said he'll help the developers of the community center and mosque planned for 45-47 Park Place find a new site, the Park 51 developer say there are no plans to meet with him to discuss relocation. The project has gained controversy because of its location two blocks from the World Trade Center site, as some feel constructing a mosque so close to Ground Zero is a slap in the face (however, others point out the United States' founding principles of religious freedom). Developer Daisy Khan said she and her husband Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf will not back down, "There is too much at stake. Constitutional rights, the development of the Muslims here, how the world is watching the United States. We tell people America upholds religious freedom. We should not compromise those values."
In other words, they have no plans to refudiate. Khan also noted how it's "aa community center for everyone in the neighborhood, to scale up and build up people of all religions has become so skewed. It's hard for us to imagine we are in the thick of a controversy like this. The Republicans are really going after us." She added that it's "evident that there is still healing that needs to happen. There are bigger issues here and it's also about how Muslims are perceived. When will Muslims be accepted as plain old Americans?" Hmm—maybe she should ask that question of the anti-mosque protesters who will be outside the site tomorrow! If you happen to be there, remember that the site, a former Burlington Coat Factory, is the same distance from the hallowed ground of the World Trade Center as a Burger King, a Dunkin' Donuts and the NY Dolls strip club.
Rauf is in the Middle East, on a State Department-sponsored trip to, as it happens, discuss religious tolerance. He didn't discuss the Park 51 plans, but did say, "This issue of extremism is something that has been a national security issue — not only for the United States but also for many countries and nations in the Muslim world. This is why this particular trip has a great importance because all countries in the Muslim world — as well as the Western world — are facing this ... major security challenge."