William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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DIRECT FROM YOUR CHECKBOOK – AT 2:47 P.M. ET:  This is pretty incredble, but watch the sympathy that will come from the left:

The so-called Ground Zero mosque recently applied for a $5 million federal grant from a fund designed to rebuild lower Manhattan after 9/11, reports The Daily Beast’s John Avlon.

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 11th, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The audacious move stands to reignite the embers of a divisive debate that dominated headlines surrounding the ninth anniversary of the attacks this fall, say people vested in the issue.

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 still ongoing and confidential process of determining the grant winners.

While news of the application has not previously been made public, developer Sharif El-Gamal outlined it in closed-door meetings, according to two individuals he spoke with directly. The thirtysomething, Brooklyn-born El-Gamal is motivated more by real estate ambition—one of these sources describes him as aspiring to be the next Donald Trump—than Islamic theology or ideology.

COMMENT:  Public funds?  For a religious center?  Now, just imagine if a Christian church had applied for this money.  The libs would go berserk.  They'd stamp the First Amendment on their foreheads.  I just can't wait for the revision of thought we're almost sure to see here.

The grant should be turned down.  Religious groups should raise their own funds. 

November 22, 2010