Mayor Bloomberg has made no secret of his support for the would-be "Ground Zero Mosque," a proposed Islamic community center for lower Manhattan that isn't actually at Ground Zero. But the dallies seem mildly shocked by the "revelation" that his administration was actively trying to help Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf make the Park 51 project a reality. Among the emails released yesterday include a drafted letter written by Community Affairs Commissioner Nazli Parvizi for Rauf's wife, Daisy Khan, to send to Community Board 1, which was voting on the project at the time.

However, Community Board 1 Chairwoman Julie Menin says her board never even received the letter-in-question from Khan, and the Mayor's involvement "certainly didn't change the way we view the project." Another email stated that Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Fatima Shama expedited a temporary public assembly permit for the group to conduct prayers in January; another email noted that organizers agreed to fund a 2009 Ramadan event, Iftar, at Gracie Mansion.

Critics of the mosque charge that this proves the administration was in collusion with the project's backers to rig public opinion, but Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser said today that these kinds of assistance were typical of the regular work of the Community Affairs department.