Joining the debate on the controversy over the proposed mosque near Ground Zero, the father of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was beheaded by militants in Pakistan, has said the mosque should not be built there and should be moved to another location.
"If I were Mayor Bloomberg, I would reassert the right to build the mosque, but I would expend the same energy trying to convince them to put it somewhere else," Judea Pearl told the Jewish Telegraph Agency.
"Public reaction tells us that it is not the right time, and that it will create further animosity and division in this country," he said.
Daniel Pearl, the then South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal, was beheaded by militants in Pakistan on February 1, 2002.
Pearl, who was based in Mumbai, had been to Pakistan on an official engagement when he was kidnapped.
Despite stiff opposition to the proposed Islamic Centre and mosque near Ground Zero, Mayor Michael Bloomberg continues to strongly support the construction of the Muslim community centre close to the site of the fallen Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre.
Polls suggest that the majority of Americans inside and out of New York, both Republican and Democrats, are against a mosque so close to the 9/11 site.
Prominent Republicans like Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich have already spoken out against the mosque as have Democrats like Senate majority leader Harry Reid.
Pearl, however, did not join in condemning the mosque developer Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf who has been targeted by the anti-mosque groups.
At the same time, he pointed out that reactions to the mosque indicated a failure in Muslim leadership in the country.
"At the time, I truly believed Danny's murder would be a turning point in the reaction of the civilized world toward terrorism," said Judea, who engages in public conversations with Akbar Ahmed, an Islamic studies professor at American University, on behalf of the Daniel Pearl Dialogue for Muslim-Jewish Understanding.
The established Muslim leadership in the United States, Pearl said, 'has had nine years to build up trust by pro-actively resisting anti-American ideologies of victimhood, anger and entitlement.'
"Reactions to the mosque project indicate that they were not too successful in this endeavour," he said.
Image: Daniel Pearl Photograph: Reuters