The NY Times conducted its own poll of New York City residents to find out how they feel about the Park 51 mosque and community center project proposed for 45-47 Park Place, which is two blocks from the World Trade Center site. And guess what—many want it to move: "Two-thirds of New York City residents want a planned Muslim community center and mosque to be relocated to a less controversial site farther away from ground zero in Lower Manhattan, including many who describe themselves as supporters of the project."
A 71-year-old Bensonhurst resident said, "My granddaughter and I were having this conversation and she said stopping them from building is going against the freedom of religion guaranteed by our Constitution. I absolutely agree with her except in this case. I think everything in this world is not black and white; there is always a gray area and the gray area right now is sensitivity to those affected by 9/11, the survivors of the people lost." And a 56-year-old Upper West Side resident added, "Freedom of religion is one of the guarantees we give in this country, so they are free to worship where they chose. I just think it’s very bad manners on their part to be so insensitive as to put a mosque in that area."
Some other findings: "Thirty-three percent said that compared with other American citizens, Muslims were more sympathetic to terrorists. And nearly 60 percent said people they know had negative feelings toward Muslims because of 9/11. Over all, 50 percent of those surveyed oppose building the project two blocks north of the World Trade Center site, even though a majority believe that the developers have the right to do so. Thirty-five percent favor it." Oh, and "One-fifth said [it should be moved] at least 20 blocks, while almost the same number said at least 10 blocks. Seven percent said at least five blocks."
This poll comes after a Quinnipiac poll of NY state residents which found 71% think the mosque should move. Developers will need to raise millions to tear down the building, which used to house a Burlington Coat Factory, and put up the planned 13-story complex, and there are significant financial hurdles.