The State Dept used taxpayer funds to buy and distribute a book written by the sharia-preaching Ground Zero imam, while refusing to divulge how taxpayer funds were used to send him around the world promoting Islam. And the giant victory mosque may get $70 million, tax-exempt, public financing and Sharia-compliant loans.
Not to mention that Ground Zero mosque investors are involved in everything from Medicaid fraud (video) to funding Hamas-linked Charities, and the developer has a long history of legal troubles and boasts of being a thug. The imam and his deceptive wife also happen to be slumlords in NJ who refused to meet basic standards of living for their tenants.
Now, these professional con artists are taking it to another level, possibly on the advice of the Obama administration, and asking for $5 million in taxpayer dollars to pay for their Islamic dawah and command center where nearly 3,000 Americans were killed by Muslims in the name of Islam.
Developers of the controversial Park51 Islamic community center and mosque located two blocks from ground zero earlier this month applied for roughly $5 million in federal grant money set aside for the redevelopment of lower Manhattan after the attacks of September 11, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
The application was submitted under a “community and cultural enhancement” grant program administered by the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corporation (LMDC), which oversaw the $20 billion in federal aid allocated in the wake of 9/11 and is currently doling out millions in remaining taxpayer funds for community development. The redevelopment board declined to comment on the application (as did officials from Park51), citing the continuing and confidential process of determining the grant winners.
A list of Frequently Asked Questions that accompanied the application specifically states that religious organizations can make funding requests for capital projects “as long as the request is for a facility or portion of a facility that is dedicated to non-religious activities or uses.” According to an individual familiar with the Park51 application, it requests funds to cover a number of cultural, educational and community development aspects of the proposed 13-story building—but the prayer room is excluded from the grant application.
“If Imam Feisal and his retinue want know why they’re not trusted, here’s yet another reason,” says Irshad Manji, author of The Trouble with Islam and director of the Moral Courage Project at NYU, when I asked her about the grant proposal. “The New Yorkers I speak with have questions about Park51. Requesting money from public coffers without engaging the public shows a staggering lack of empathy—especially from a man who says he’s all about dialogue.”
Part of the strangeness of the application is that it blows past the suggested range of $100,000 to $1 million that these grants are supposed to fall to within (I’m told the entire pool for this round of cultural funding will come in under $20 million). According to the two sources knowledgeable about the thinking behind the proposal, the strategy behind the $5 million ballpark was trying to yield a higher figure in the end.
But the project likely doesn’t qualify for a grant in the first place. Specifically, the grant criteria mandate a demonstration of a project’s financial feasibility, based on benchmarks set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The government will help complete development projects—but it does not provide seed capital. And in their last public financial statement, Park51 was found to have less than $20,000 in the bank for a project with a slated cost of $100 million.
Update: Contact the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, via Doug Hagmann’s CFP post:
Lower Manhattan Development Corporation
One Liberty Plaza, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10006
Phone: (212) 962-2300
Fax: (212) 962-2431 / 33
LMDC Board of Directors
Avi Schick, Chairman
John C. Whitehead, Founding Chairman
Lawrence T. Babbio, Jr.
Amanda M. Burden
Robert M. Harding
Thomas S. Johnson
Kate D. Levin
Robert K. Steel
Kevin M. Rampe
William C. Rudin