Whatever became of the Ground Zero mosque? The answer might surprise you

Whatever became of the Ground Zero mosque? The answer might surprise you

Remember the “Ground Zero mosque”? I mean, who could forget it? The controversial project drove a jetliner-size wedge between Americans outraged at the insensitive notion of building a shrine to Islam several blocks from the site of the World Trade Center and those who swallowed the hands-across-the-water spiel delivered by the mosque’s shady chief cleric, Feisel Abdul Rauf. One of the latter, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg publicly excoriated critics of the project, telling them they “ought to be ashamed of themselves.”

Despite a green light from the city, the mosque never went up, though word has emerged that something is finally in the works. That “something,” however, will not be the cultural center open to all faiths that Rauf once promised. What it will be is luxury condos.

According to Bloomberg Business, longtime Rauf crony and real estate developer Sharif El-Gamal “has proposed a 667-foot (203-meter) condominium tower at lower Manhattan’s 45 Park Place. The glass skyscraper, which has yet to break ground, will include at least 15 full-floor units of 3,200 to 3,700 square feet (297 to 344 square meters), and average prices higher than $3,000 a square foot.”

“The tower is going to be a market-maker,” El-Gamal is quoted as having boasted to Bloomberg. “We’ve perfected a building that’s really going to share in a unique moment.”

Lest Gamal — and by association Rauf — be seen as the dollar-hungry capitalists they are, El-Gamal still plans to install a three-story museum devoted to things Islamic adjacent to the tower.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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