NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880/1010 WINS/AP) — Despite recent assurances from the developer Sharif El-Gamal, an overwhelming number of New Yorkers want prosecutors to keep tabs on the financing for the proposed mosque and cultural center near Ground Zero.

A new poll by Quinnipiac University shows that by a margin of 71 to 21, New Yorkers want the mosque moved someplace else, and by a margin of 71 to 22, they want Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to investigate the source of the funding.

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Cuomo, a Democrat running for governor, has said little about the issue. He said it’s protected by the Constitution, although he will investigate if concerns are found.

The poll finds the same percentage of New Yorkers want the developers of an Islamic center and mosque near ground zero to voluntarily move the project.

Sixty-three percent of New York City voters polled think the builders should voluntarily find another spot, compared to 28 percent who don’t and 9 percent who don’t have an opinion.

In upstate and suburban counties, 76 percent of voters favor a move, compared to 17 percent who don’t and 7 percent who don’t have an opinion.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg stood firm and refused to back down from his strong support for the controversial mosque near ground zero.

Bloomberg shrugged off reports Tuesday that the imam behind the project was a slumlord.

“I don’t know anything about his personal life,” Bloomberg said. “The issue here is very simple, the government shouldn’t be in the business of telling people who they pray to, where they pray, when they pray, what they say.”

He believes the mosque would add to the character of the neighborhood and the city.

In addition, Bloomberg says an investigation by Cuomo into the finances of the proposed $100 million Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero would set “a terrible precedent.”

Bloomberg says there’s no reason for the government to investigate donations to religious organizations.

U.S. Rep. Peter King disagrees. The ranking minority leader of the Homeland Security Committee says “a number” of terror plots have ’emanated from mosques.” He cited the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center as an example.

“The heated, sometimes angry debate over the proposal to build a mosque two blocks from ground zero has New York state voters twisted in knots,” said Quinnipiac poll Director Maurice “Mickey” Carroll.

“The Q findings show that the terrorists, the people who blew up the World Trade Center, and who continue to do things like that have convinced an awful lot of people that Islam is a menace, is a violent religion,” Carroll told WCBS 880.

The poll finds 54 percent of New Yorkers agree the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of religion allows the mosque to be built near ground zero. Forty percent disagree.

But 53 percent feel that because of the “sensitivities of Sept. 11 relatives,” Muslims shouldn’t be about allowed to build a mosque near ground zero. Thirty-nine percent disagree.

Carroll said the poll also asked whether they thought Islam was a peaceful religion or if it encouraged violence.

“54 percent said ‘peaceful’ but 24 percent, almost a quarter of respondents…said it encouraged violence,” Carroll told WCBS 880.

Carroll said the poll shows New Yorkers want a potential compromise, a voluntary change of location for the project that would likely result in a feeling of goodwill. But the developers so far haven’t chosen to consider a new site, despite offers by Gov. David Paterson to use state resources to look at sites farther from ground zero.

Quinnipiac questioned 1,497 registered voters Aug. 23-29. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (34)
  1. Roy says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they find out the funding,or part of it comes from the same Countries,implicated in the 9-11 terror attack……….

  2. satineye says:

    I will like to see where all of the above bloggers will be when we are faced with another terror attack close to the last major attack (WTC). We said that “we will never forget”, yet a lot of people are forgetting. I had a very close girlfriend killed in one of the towers. She actually knew for over 50 minutes what her fate was, for someone with her was on his cell phone with a friend and his last words were “it’s getting too hot, gotta go, love ya man!” I will never forget. I am not saying all muslims are responsible, but why not just build the “mosque/culture center” somewhere else and respect the people who lost loved ones in that horrible act of terrorism. They have enough money to build wherever they want, why is it so important to build there? You just can’t help but to believe this mosque being built there is like an act of marking territory or relishing in victory/conquest!

  3. z z zodiac says:

    Build the mosque. It does not matter that 70% of New Yorkers oppose it. That’s a good way to build bridges.

  4. Brian says:

    Ignore the misinformed crybabies and build the mosque. Make it huge and beautiful. Those opposed to the mosque embarrass America.

  5. petepak says:

    When Jewish activists complained display of Christian crosses at the site of concentration camp in Auschwitz Poland, the practice was abandoned out of respect for the Jewish victims. When an African burial site was unearthed several blocks away from Ground Zero, it changed a lot about how this area can be developed. Don’t the victims of 9/11, most of whom were Christians, deserve the same consideration? What was wrong about them?
    But many could tell you what’s wrong with Islam in this country: How many imams you saw on TV deploring acts of terrorism, threaten those who sin this way with punishment? How many Islamic names can you find on the list of Disabled Veterans donors? And so on and on.
    Democracy should be reserved for those who want to be democrats, or we all, naïve virgins, will one day be buried because of our wonderful virtues.

  6. Vik says:

    Did anybody bother to ask the people, who leave in downtown:”Do you need a mosque?”

  7. Scared Little Sheeple says:

    I have a catholic church across the street from me. They are responsible for millions upon millions of deaths through the ages. I want it destroyed. They also rape little childern. Oh and theres is a Jewish house of worship in the area. They killed Jesus. I want it out of the city! There is a baptist churh around here also. Those people are strange and I think they will one day do something bad so they have to go also.

  8. G says:

    Are you people insane? This is flat out discrimination.

    Just because somebody is Muslim doesn’t mean they condone the acts of terrorists.

    I am honestly ashamed to be an American right now.

    1. YouRacistPigs says:

      G, these people are finally showing their true colors. Racist. Scared. Weak. They can’t help it. They have been programmed to think and act like this.

    2. Anna says:

      G if you are ashamed to be an American and you believe we need a mosque at Ground Zero, perhaps you need to live elsewhere, perhaps in a country where they have Islamic rule.would you like to live under Sharia law? What? you like having free speech? Well then wake up and realize, these individuals building the mosque don’t want you to keep this right that we have taken for granted in America. thanks.

  9. Ira Schwartz says:

    I think all the people that are against this cultural center need to relax. Stop and think for a sec. Would you want someone telling where you can pray? I think the majority of people are using their emotions to think this through. What’s sad is that they’re also connecting Islam to what happened on 9/11. That’s so not far to the other Muslims in this country. It also so un-American.

  10. lovemycountry says:

    This whole thing is so outrageous I could cry…

  11. Toy says:

    Ben, New York city’s government was for sale, and Bloomberg was the highest bidder… After 9/11 Rudy wanted to overstay his welcome.. the courts said “NO!”… Bloomberg didn’t want to leave, and his term limit was up.. but the courts said “YES!” so he overturnd the law he didn’t like and bought the mayors office.. Cash on the barrel head.

  12. Ben says:

    Where did you people find that little man and how did he get elected. Do you let Dubai voters cast absentee?
    Mr Bloomerburg spends more time promoting the muslims than he does Christians and Jews.. What have they done? Threatened to behead him if he does not cooperate?

  13. Toy says:

    There’s no need to investigate the financing ?…OUR mayor issued this blanket dismissal ???.. Someone needs to inform “Monty Burns” that he works for the city of New York and NOT the Imam…. Or.. could it be that old Mr. Burns (out mayor) is somehow profiting from this, and has gotten too greedy for his own good?

  14. jme says:

    Mr. Bloomberg is a tremendous disappointment to me and I would think to many New Yorkers. I can’t understand why he is pushing this Mosque so much. It doesn’t belong by the WTC site. Shame on him and the other politicians who are supporting it – they want the Muslim vote.

  15. Neither left nor right says:

    I wonder how HRH Bloomberg would feel if a mosque, oops, I mean ‘Islamic cultural center’ were to be placed across the street from his townhouse?

    1. jme says:

      You’re right.I wonder what Bloomberg if it were by his condo or even next door the Gracie Mansion.

  16. reader says:

    Bloomberg’s alleged statement that “an investigation by the state attorney general into the finances of the proposed $100 million Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero would set “a terrible precedent” is reason enough for the state attorney general to investigate the finances of the proposed center. Two-to-one, someway, somehow, he’s got an investment in the project

  17. Eli says:

    Too many of those commenting here were NOT in a one block proximity of WTC on 9/11. They also didn’t see the images of Moslem men celebrating that evening on NJ docks. Yes it is not just emotional …it is traumatic. When it comes to the mosque just say NO!!!

    1. TskTskTsk says:

      I work in the area and witnessed the event. Whats your point? You lie about people celebratting on the New Jersey docks. Those were not Muslims – they was Israeli – you can google this. A group of them were arrested. Stop spreading falsehood.

  18. JasonS says:

    In other contexts, the left places great importance on “emotions.” We’re constantly told that “emotional intelligence,” i.e. the ability to communicate and understand emotions, is just as important as cognitive intelligence. In fact emotion is the hard currency of the left – when it comes to health care, wealth redistribution, international policy etc. Yet when it’s a display of emotion that they don’t like – people getting upset about a mosque at Ground Zero for instance, then all of a sudden liberals forget all about the importance of emotion and spontaneously decide that only cold, hard facts are relevant and that it’s wrong to oppose something on the basis of “feeling.” Human emotion is now seen as vulgar and unsophisticated and therefore irrelevant. No matter what your feelings on the mosque, you have to admit the left’s ability to shape-shift its principles according to the soup of the day is pretty hilarious.

    1. mike says:

      if people are so concerned about emotions, then why do they destroy Muslims emotions by demeaning their religion?
      its not about emotion, this is just a very egotistical society

  19. marie says:




    1. Peter North says:

      Marie, you’re pretty stupid you know that. You should quit posting here cause you sound awefully dumb.

      1. Marie says:

        Peter North your a d-i -c-k.

        crawl back into your hole.

      2. Reegs says:

        lastly i think there are more serious matters pressing that we need to be involved with

    2. mike says:

      you arent being heard when you say uneducated comments such as this

    3. Reegs says:

      Marie, i have to be honest, your prospective needs a bit more light, where this center is being built is not even on the actual ground of wtc

      1. Marie says:

        Hi reegs,
        yes, I realize it’s non “on ground zero”, but I have serious reservations, and feel that it was fast tracked by our darling mayor.
        Sorry to sound dark-I just don’t have a good feeling about this.

        Thanks for being civil.

    4. Eileen says:

      We as a country are so naiive to even consider such a ludicrous “project.” We had better wake up before we end up like ancient Spain!
      God bless you.

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