Earlier this week

, Republican gubernatorial candidate and former U.S. Congressman Rick Lazio called upon Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (who, coincidentally, is also running for governor!) to investigate the funding sources for the proposed mosque near the WTC site. Cuomo dismissed Lazio's opposition to the mosque as Islamophobia, which only inspired Lazio to push back hard during a TV interview:

Andrew Cuomo should be ashamed of himself. The imam blames the United States for the attacks of 9/11 and now Andrew Cuomo calls into question the motivation of the victims! Andrew Cuomo stating that those who oppose a sympathizer of terrorism are somehow guilty of bigotry is outrageous.

And Debra Burlingame, whose brother was a pilot on the plane that hit the Pentagon in the Sept. 11 attacks, told the Daily Caller, "Shame on Andrew Cuomo. He is unaware of the facts and should not be weighing in without full knowledge of our concerns. It is somewhat galling for 9/11 families to be lectured to about religious tolerance when we experienced the height of intolerance with the attacks that day."

In case you were worried that the debate hadn't gotten shrill enough yet, now the Port Authority Police Benevolent Society has entered the fray! Paul Nunziato, president of the organization that represents the cops, has flamed Lazio, issuing a feisty statement, obtained by Capitol Confidential, which reads:

The Port Authority Police Benevolent Association has heard from some of it’s 9/11 families who are opposed to using the events of September 11, 2001 for political gain. Rick Lazio should stop exploiting the worst day in New York history for the sake of his campaign. For any candidate for public office to politicize Ground Zero shows a lack of respect to the families, who will forever live with the terrible memory of that dark day. It seems to me, that for the sake of politics, Rick Lazio is willing to use scare tactics. This conduct forsakes the memory of all those who lost their lives on September 11th.

The mosque plan faces one final hurdle Tuesday when the Landmarks Commission will hold a public hearing to decide whether to allow the demolition of the old Burlington Coat Factory building, which is located on the site of the proposed mosque and community center. For a taste of what's in store at the public hearing, enjoy this video from Sunday's protest against the mosque downtown. One thousand xenophobic reactionaries can't be wrong!: