Ground Zero Mosque Applies for $5 Million Federal Grant


mosque-ground-zeroDevelopers of a mosque near Ground Zero are fanning a new flame of controversy by applying for a $5 million federal grant reserved for the redevelopment of lower Manhattan. “I think it’s an insult to the 9/11¬†families. It’s another smack in the face,” said retired FDNY Deputy Chief Jim Riches, whose 29-year-old son, Jim, a firefighter, was killed on 9/11.

“I think it’s becoming more and more comical,” he said of the latest twist over the proposed 13-story Islamic community center and mosque. “Now we’re going to have to pay for it.”

Sharif El-Gamal, developer of the proposed Park Place project, confirmed his group has applied for the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. grant.

He said the grant would fund social service programs open to all lower Manhattan residents–such as domestic-violence prevention, Arabic and other foreign language classes–and two multicultural art exhibits.

Grant money would not go to pay for the mosque at the 13-story center two blocks from Ground Zero, according to a report posted on Monday.

“Park51 remains committed to exploring all sources of revenue and funding to build the community center in lower Manhattan,” said El-Gamal, adding that the $100 million project will “provide hundreds of construction jobs” and 150 permanent jobs once opened.

He said Park51 also plans to apply for federal tax-exempt status as a not-for-profit corporation.

Lower Manhattan Development Corp. officials said they could not comment on individual grant applications but are looking to fund projects that would be an economic boon to downtown.

Spokesman John De Libero said LMDC, which has allocated $17 million for community and cultural enhancement programs, has received more than 265 appplications from nonprofits seeking more than $175 million.

“We are now turning to the challenging but important task of sorting through the applications to identify those that address long-standing community and cultural needs,” he said.

Grants are expected to be awarded in the early part of 2011.

Diane Horning, 63, founder of the WTC Families for a Proper Burial, scoffed at the developer’s application and questioned the LMDC’s use of federal money.

“All I know is that we asked for assistance from the LMDC to give our dead decent and proper burials and were rejected,” said Horning, referring to a proposal to re-comb the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island for remains of 911 victims.

{NY Daily News/}


  1. Insult upon insult…it’s the Muslim way. Kill the infidels, take over their lands, put up a stink and cry like babies if you lose the land in a war, never stop with the terrorism,

  2. This is not only an offense to all Americans, but is also in violation of the establishment clause. This is an unconstitutional use of public funds.