A controversial proposal to build an Islamic Centre near Ground Zero, where the twin towers of the World Trade Centre once stood in New York City, was met with loud opposition from the “Stop Islamisation of America Movement” (led by “birther” Pamela Geller), who say the centre has no business being near Ground Zero.
Local authorities, including New York’s mayor, Republican Michael Bloomberg, as well as residents in the neighborhood, have welcomed the centre.
Two hijacked airliners were flown into the towers on September 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people, an event blamed on, and claimed by, al-Qaeda.
The Cordoba Initiative group says it aims to improve Muslim-West relations by building the community centre near the site to help spread the message of tolerance. The proposed centre would include a “prayer room” inside, which protesters are calling a “mosque.”