NEW YORK (WCBS880) — Opponents of Park51, the proposed mosque and Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site gathered at Memorial Garden in Staten Island Sunday, WCBS’ Ginny Kosola reports.
Unlike other protests, those attending the crowd of about 100 were New Yorkers who lost at least one friend or relative on September 11.READ MORE: Long Island Parents Racing Against Time To Find Cure For 2-Year-Old Son's Rare Genetic Disorder, FOXG1 Syndrome
People carried American flags and signs that said to move the mosque. At one point the crowd broke into a chant of “no mosque.”READ MORE: New Yorkers Turn To City, State Leadership For Change Following Another Day Riddled With Gun Violence
Former Congressman Vito Fossella led a group of speakers. “They can worship if they want. They don’t have to worship. This country is 3 million square miles. We ask one simple question: ‘Why here and why now’?”
State Senator Andrew Lanza said we are not saying you can not build it. We’re saying you should not build it there.MORE NEWS: COVID Restrictions: New York City Restaurants Can Increase Capacity, New Jersey Raises Gathering Limits
Congressman Peter King was also at the peaceful protest. He argued the builders of the mosque should understand where protesters were coming from. “The time has come to tell people that sensitivity goes both ways, that yes we have to be sensitive to other people’s religions, but also those religions have to be sensitive to the memory of those who died on September 11.”