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B'siyata d'shmaya - With the help of Heaven


Confronted over Mosque at Ground Zero, Mayor Explodes

By Shelomo Alfassa

While attending the June 15, 2010 annual invitation-only Jewish Heritage Dinner at Gracie Mansion, the New York City mayor's symbolic home, this writer had an astonishing and unforeseen run-in with Mayor Michael Bloomberg regarding the proposed controversial mosque at Ground Zero.

(June 15, 2010) New York's Jewish establishment gathered for a pleasant kosher barbecue held on the lush back lawn of the mayor's graceful 19th century mansion on New York's Upper East Side. When the dinner and program ended, I walked over to the west side of the stage, along with a dozen or so others which were hoping to get a photo of the mayor. As the mayor came off the stage, both uniformed and plainclothes policemen demanded that everyone step back. A short elderly woman with white cottony hair rushed the security line and begged the mayor for a photo. Surrendering to her calls for a photo and much to the chagrin of his security detail, the mayor stopped. He gathered a small group and said "just one picture." -"Ok everyone, look into the camera, look into the camera," the mayor said with a rushed smile.

Mayor Bloomberg a moment before his anger peaked. Photo: Shelomo Alfassa

At that moment, I clicked my iPhone camera shutter and simultaneously exclaimed in a serious but gentle voice, "MR. MAYOR, NO MOSQUE AT GROUND ZERO!" The mayor's face immediately became somber. He quickly disregarded his elderly constituent and in a serious tone, while staring me directly in the eye, leaned forward, pointed to my face and said matter-of-factly, "If we don't let them build a mosque, we won't be able to build a temple!" Some in the crowd gasped. I quickly responded, "But we don't need a temple-that's not the issue, a mosque is a symbol of jihad victory." While still standing in the crowd and amongst his staffers, which attempted to shuffle him away, the mayor suddenly lurched forward, walked right up to me and with a perturbed voice and stern eyes, said what sounded like "we need to allow it." "But mayor, this is my field of study, and I am telling you, they are building it as a symbol of victory over us." At that time the mayor's staff shuffled him away but not before the mayor looked back at me, obviously annoyed that I raised the subject with him in public. His staffer also asked me to "just drop it" as the mayor was whisked away.

I was in emergency management for 15 years. For several years I was a deputy commander of a federal emergency response team which existed to respond to terrorist attacks. I was also one of the rescue workers at Ground Zero. Today, I am an historian and my field of study includes life in Islamic Spain. What the mayor does not understand, is that a practice associated with conquering Islamic armies was the construction of a mosque at the location where their triumphant battle was won.

There is a New York based Islamic organization seeking to build a mosque at the site of the 9/11 attack-an attack which was carried out by 19 Muslim hijackers who considered their mission holy war. A Muslim house of prayer, cemented in the ashes of catastrophe at the foot of New York's lost Twin Towers, would be a symbolic victory flag for Muslims who seek the destruction of America. The mayor needs to realize that no matter how the construction of a mosque at 'Ground Zero' may be perceived by well-meaning Americans, the construction of a mosque on the spot where Al-Qaeda brought jihad to the United States will unquestionably represent victory to the worldwide forces of Radical Islam.

Shelomo Alfassa is a scholar of Judaic life in Islamic and Christian Spain and was
the f
ormer U.S. Director of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries

Read: Mosque at 9/11 Site Would be Jihad Victory Symbol in the USA by Shelomo Alfassa



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