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Brother Azeem Khan Speaks about the Ground Zero Mosque Controversy

As some of you might already heard, the plans for the expansion of the Mosque near Ground Zero has been approved by the city.

In his New York state of mind this morning, Good Day NY spoke with Azeem Khan, assistant secretary general of media relations at the Islamic Circle of North America.

It’s great to see that the mainstream media is reaching out to respected Islamic organizations to show a balanced perspective into the Ground Zero Mosque Controversy. Although there is hardly anything controversial, as Azeem points out the issue is being hyped up because of Islamophobia.

Some quotes by Azeem:

When asked why wouldn’t the mosque be moved away from Ground Zero since there is so much real estate available elsewhere, Azeem responded:

“Like I said, They are 12 blocks within ground zero, it’s their neighborhood, they have been there for 25 years and they are not outsiders and that’s the biggest problem I see here.”

“We have to be careful about not being institutionally biased against one religious group, the same level of scrutiny that they’re undergoing, it has to be the same that every other organization and religious group has to endure because that’s just what the constitution says.”

“Nationally we’re seeing the rise of Islamophobia, and we have some people, individuals with bigoted views which would like to deny our community most basic legitimate rights, such as building houses of worship. Our organization (ICNA) was even criticized for having an event at Six Flags. Even a recreational day out becomes a big issue, so we feel that Islamophobia is increasing dramatically in this country. In the state of Florida, their is a church that’s going to be holding an event where they will burn copies of the Holy Qur’an. So While that might be protected by freedom of speech, the underlying feeling or motion that’s being spread is hatred, and that can lead to illegal activities such hate crimes”

Anyway, here is the video below:

Although facing heat from opponents, Mayor Bloomberg has expressed strong tolerance, religious freedom and clear support for the construction of the Mosque recently saying:

“The World Trade Center site will forever hold a special place in our city, in our hearts,” Bloomberg said.

“But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves, and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans, if we said no to a mosque in lower Manhattan.”