Or so the AP’s David Caruso would have us believe:
A proposed Islamic center near ground zero is slowly being embraced by some Muslims who initially were indifferent about the plan, partly in response to a sense that their faith is under attack.
A summit of U.S. Muslim organizations is scheduled to begin Sunday in New York City to address both the project and a rise in anti-Muslim sentiments and rhetoric that has accompanied the nationwide debate over the project.
It has yet to be seen whether the groups will emerge with a firm stand on the proposed community center, dubbed Park51. The primary purpose of the meeting is to talk about ways to combat religious bigotry.
But Shaik Ubaid of the Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan New York, one of the groups organizing the gathering, said he has a growing sense that some American Muslims who initially had trepidation are now throwing their support behind the plan.
“Once it became a rallying cry for extremists, we had no choice but to stand with Feisal (Abdul) Rauf,” he said, referring to the New York City imam who has been leading the drive for the center.
Of course, the same David Caruso of the AP was reporting something different just 10 days before:
The group of Muslims planning to build a 13-story Islamic center and mosque near ground zero appears plagued by divisions that raise questions about the future of the project, with one major investor saying he is prepared to sell some or all of the site if the price is right.
Hisham Elzanaty, an Egyptian-born businessman who says he provided a majority of the financing to gain control over the two buildings where the center would be built, told The Associated Press this week that while he supports the concept, he needs to turn a profit.
He said one of the buildings is worth millions if it is redeveloped, and he intends to seize the opportunity. He said he would like to see the other building turned into a mosque, but if his community doesn’t come forward with enough cash for him to break even, he will turn it over to someone else.
“I’m a businessman. This was a mere business transaction for me,” said Elzanaty, a U.S. citizen who has lived on Long Island for decades, owns medical clinics in New York City and invests in real estate on the side.
Representatives of some of the project’s backers said they have just started trying to raise the estimated $100 million needed to build the center and the millions more required to run it.
Elzanaty said his real estate partnership, which paid $4.8 million for half the site last year, has already received offers three times that much to sell that parcel.
“Develop it, raze it, sell it,” he said. “If someone wants to give me 18 or 20 million dollars today, it’s all theirs.”
A spokesman for the developer leading the investment team declined to confirm Elzanaty’s claim that he has a majority stake in the partnership, or comment on whether he needs approval from the rest of the group to decide the fate of the two buildings.
Dealing with potential conflicts among investors is but one of the challenges facing the group trying to organize the center.
The only thing that changed in the 10 days since the two pieces were published is the Koran burning threat that never materialized.
Methinks Mr. Caruso is attempting not to report the news but to manufacture it. Interesting that his second piece makes no reference to the first. Have Mr. Elzanaty’s money demands disappeared? What of the $100 million that needed raising? There’s a passing reference to finances in the more recent piece but couldn’t Caruso find out where the Mosque’s financial backers are in their goals to raise the $100 million? What of Rauf’s fund raising trip to the Middle East? How did that go?
Something stinks here and I can’t quite put my finger on it.
H/T to Dan Friedman via email who’s got his own theory:
Standard operating procedure. Islam does not bend to the will of the infidel, the infidel bends to the will of Islam. Stop it here, or get used to the prone position, America.