A coalition that includes relatives of victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks staged a demonstration Wednesday in support of a plan to build a mosque near the attack site in lower Manhattan.
The group, calling itself “New York Neighbors for American Values,” gathered Wednesday near “Ground Zero” and the site of the proposed Islamic center and mosque two blocks away.
“As community groups and organizations representing hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, we welcome the planned Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan as we would welcome any center planned by neighbors of good will,” they said in a statement.
The group includes the Arab Muslim American Federation, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Dialogue Project, The New York City Chapter of the Humanist Party, The Shalom Center and Woodstock International.
The New York municipal council in May approved construction of the Islamic center mosque near the site of the former World Trade Center, setting off a national debate as it would be so close to where Al-Qaeda hijackers brought down the Twin Towers, killing nearly 3,000 people.
President Barack Obama weighed in on the issue in August, with a defense of religious freedom. A recent CNN/Opinion Research poll revealed that 68 percent of Americans oppose the project and 29 percent are in favor.