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'It's beyond Islamophobia. It is hate of Muslims'

Last updated on: August 24, 2010 08:21 IST

'It's beyond Islamophobia. It is hate of Muslims'

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The proposed mosque near Ground Zero, just two blocks away from the site of the fallen World Trade Centre twin towers, drew hundreds of protesters. The protestors -- both for and against the idea -- staged rallies next to each other.

The latest opinion polls show that Americans overwhelmingly oppose the construction.

The opponents of the mosque, far outnumbering those supporting the construction, played songs like 'Born in the USA' and waved the Star and Stripe during the rally.

But the rallies were peaceful and no violence was reported. More and more people in the metropolis are coming out in support of a demand that the proposed mosque be moved further away from the site where more than 2,700 people were killed in bombings on September 11, 2001.

Reportage: Betwa Sharma in New York/PTI


Photographs: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters
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'A metastasised anti-Semitism'

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The leaders of the construction project defended their plans to locate the mosque, and compared the present situation to anti-Semitism.

Daisy Khan, a co-developer of the mosque, described the reaction to the project "like a metastasised anti-Semitism".

"It's not even Islamophobia. It's beyond Islamophobia. It is hate of Muslims," she said, on ABC's The Week.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Khan blamed the current fallout over the mosque on the Republicans who have been more vocal than Democrats in their opposition to the Islamic Centre.

However, the two polls conducted to gauge public opinion on the mosque indicate that even chunks of Democrats are against the site. A poll by the Siena Research Institute found that 63 per cent of New Yorkers oppose the Islamic Centre and mosque. 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.

Photographs: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters
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68 per cent of Americans opposed the mosque

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A CNN poll found that 68 per cent of Americans nationwide, both Republicans and Democrats, were opposed to building a mosque near the Ground Zero site.

Kuwaiti-born Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the developer of the $100 million Muslim community centre, which will include the mosque, insists that it "a centre for all New Yorkers" and "its purpose is to interweave America's Muslim population into the mainstream".

Khan also said that she and her husband had received death threats.


Photographs: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters
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