In a letter written by Donald Trump to Elzanaty, Trump explained his decision to make an offer for the property: “Please let this letter serve to represent my offer to purchase your site located at 45 Park Place, New York, NY 10007, for what you paid plus 25 percent. I am making this offer as a resident of New York and a citizen of the United States, not because the location is a spectacular one (because it is not), but because it will end a very serious, inflammatory, and highly divisive situation that is destined, in my opinion, to only get worse.”
One of the stipulations of Trump’s offer was that Elzanaty would have to agree to move the site of the mosque “at least five blocks further from the World Trade Center site.”
After Elzanaty rejected Trump’s offer, Elzanaty’s lawyer Wolodymyr Starosolsky told the Associated Press, “This is just a cheap attempt to get publicity and get in the limelight.”
The Imam behind the mosque, Feisal Abdul Rauf, indicated his unwillingness to find a different location for the mosque in an interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien. “If we moved from that location, the story will be that the radicals have taken over the discourse. The headlines in the Muslim world will be that Islam is under attack.”
An August CBS News poll shows that 71 percent of Americans are opposed to building the mosque at the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
When asked about the wisdom of building the mosque at Ground Zero, President Obama gave a lengthy response about the morality of criticizing the plans to build the mosque, and asked, “When we start acting as if their religion is somehow offensive, what are we saying to them?” Though Obama never addressed the wisdom of building the mosque, his complete answer indicates his support of the project.
Since the Landmarks Preservation Commission denied “historic” status to the two adjoining 19th-century buildings that the Muslim group plans to demolish for construction of the mosque, very few obstacles remain. While opposition to the mosque continues to call for an investigation into its funding, demolition of the buildings is expected to begin soon, and the building is slated for completion in two years.
Photo of Donald Trump: AP Images