From the Daily Beast today, we learn that the Ground Zero mosque developers, who still owe more than $200,000 in back taxes, have jumped the funding shark. Evidently, those Saudi millions have failed to come through as planned and the mosque developers have applied for a federal grant to get their “cultural bridge” out of the water.
The mosque developers, having at last report only about $20,000 in their bank account, have applied for — stop the presses — five million taxpayer dollars. The grant money, if approved, will come from a special fund set aside for rebuilding the area around the Islamist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. And, of course, there are no restrictions on religious organizations applying for the taxpayer funding. The only requirement imposed by federal bureaucrats is that the structure, when complete, have some space allocated for non-religious purposes. The Ground Zero mosque plans include a “community center” along with their Muslim prayer rooms.
According to the Weekly Standard:
The application was submitted under a “community and cultural enhancement” grant program administered by the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corporation (LMDC), which oversaw the $20 billion in federal aid allocated in the wake of 9/11 and is currently doling out millions in remaining taxpayer funds for community development. The redevelopment board declined to comment on the application (as did officials from Park51), citing the still ongoing and confidential process of determining the grant winners.
The Ground Zero mosque became an issue in the New York gubernatorial campaign this year. Dark-horse Republican candidate Carl Paladino hammered home his complete opposition to the building of a monument to the attackers on the hallowed ground where the “dust cloud” of “human remains” had settled in the wake of the 9/11 explosions. Paladino further pledged during the campaign to set aside a large area (not absolutely specified) where a monument could be built in honor of all who died in the 9/11 attacks, as well as to all of the soldiers and Marines who have given their lives in the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Andrew Cuomo, the Democrat candidate and eventual winner of the governor’s race, tried to hedge the issue with a “no contest” approach, saying he neither supported the Ground Zero mosque nor opposed it. Using the purely legal argument employed by both Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama, Cuomo pointed to the “religious freedom” rights of all Americans. As attorney general of New York, prior to winning the gubernatorial contest this year, Cuomo was beseeched by New Yorkers to investigate the proposed funding of the mosque. And despite polling that showed 70% of New York’s citizens supported such an investigation to root out terror-network ties, Cuomo refused, saying such a probe of a religious project could set a “terrible, dangerous precedent.”
Well, now that issue will apparently be moot. If our own federal government bestows $5 million confiscated from the citizenry by taxation to the Ground Zero mosque developers, no investigation will be necessary. The seed money for the monument to the killers over the graves of their victims will be completely transparent. Bravo, big government.