Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This Might Be Part Of The Next Bad Idea Jeans Commercial

Remember, the Grond Zero mosque isn't located at Ground Zero.  Which is why it's applied for a government grant designed to rebuild Manhatten after 9/11.
Park51’s developers clearly have a legal right to apply for the grant. A list of Frequently Asked Questions that accompanied the application specifically states that religious organizations can make funding requests for capital projects “as long as the request is for a facility or portion of a facility that is dedicated to non-religious activities or uses.” According to an individual familiar with the Park51 application, it requests funds to cover a number of cultural, educational and community development aspects of the proposed 13-story building—but the prayer room is excluded from the grant application.

But the question on whether they could have is trumped by the question of whether they should have. The stated aim of the Park51 developers is to provide a community center for lower Manhattan’s 4,000 Muslim residents. Their own website explained that they understood the need to “appeal to the undecided, and change the conversation about Muslims in America.” It’s pretty clear that this play for federal dollars will generate none of that, starting with the lack of disclosure or community consultation before developers submitted their application, which was due November 5.

"If Imam Feisal and his retinue want know why they're not trusted, here's yet another reason,” says Irshad Manji, author of The Trouble with Islam and director of the Moral Courage Project at NYU, when I asked her about the grant proposal. “The New Yorkers I speak with have questions about Park51. Requesting money from public coffers without engaging the public shows a staggering lack of empathy—especially from a man who says he's all about dialogue."
The Daily Beast isn't exactly a hotbed of conservative thought, and the author is pretty sympathetic to those who have asserted that the developers have the right to build the mosque. But he also acknowledges, as one must, that they're tone-deaf when it comes to PR (and this is before we consider the fact that they don't seem to have the financing necessary for their cause).

Personally, if they get funding, I want the proposed gay bar next door to get funding as well.  Now those are words I never expected to type...

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