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This past summer it seemed as if every day Michael Bloomberg, the arrogant, out of touch Mayor of New York was making another speech implying that the opponents of the ground-zero mosque were either stupid or bigoted.  And when he wasn’t calling the mosque opponents names, he was  proclaiming there should be no compromise. What the Arrogant Mayor neglected to mention during any of his many rants is that the Ground Zero Mosque fight was fixed from the beginning. The Mayor had his top aides helping the mosque planners, writing letters for them and helping them politically navigate around the anti-mosque forces.

Emails released due to a FOIA lawsuit by The American Center for Law and Justice reveal

…City Hall had direct communications with the Mosque’s developers, explicitly tried to assist with the political process, and was involved with discussions between the developers and the Community Board 1.  An email from the developers’ attorney, Shelly Friedman, also acknowledged that Robert Tierney, the Chairman of the LPC, was seeking “political cover” from politicians in order not to landmark the building. 

 The emails released by City Hall revealed the coaching Bloomberg’s brass gave to the imam pushing to build the mosque, Feisal Abdul Rauf.  At one point, Community Affairs Commissioner Nazli Parvizi even drafted a letter for Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s wife, Daisy Khan, to send to Community Board 1, which was voting on the project.

“As a Muslim-American and a New Yorker, I take my role in keeping New York the greatest City in the world serious,” the draft said. Parvizi also provided the contact information for the board.

In a email sent in May, Shelly Friedman, the organizers’ lawyer, wrote that Manhattan Community Board 1’s vote in support of the project would be helpful as organizers urged landmark commission Chairman Robert Tierney and other panel members to reject landmark status for the building currently on the site. “I do know that chairman Tierney was looking forward to having the ‘political cover’ their support would bring him,” Ms. Friedman wrote.

Parvizi also sent the Imam an email advising  Rauf not to go back to Community Board 1 for approval for the project after the Landmarks Preservation Commission gave the project the green light.

“Hi Feisal,” the letter begins. “I know that [Community Board 1 President] Julie [Menin] is incredibly anxious to get the letter and she was really upset to hear that such a landmarking issue exists and was not even mentioned.

“My recommendation is given you mau [sic] have to go up to the community board again to discuss this issue, send the letter to julie asap and keep her on your good side. Tommorow or monday am at the latest.

“I would at this point keep the issues separate. What the letter will do I hope is get the media attention off everyone’s backs and give you guys time to regroup on your strategy, as discussed.”

Another email reveals that Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Fatima Shama expedited a temporary public assembly permit for the group to conduct prayers in January at Park 51

In another letter, Shama congratulated the group after the project was approved by CB1’s finance committee, writing,

“Sharif, Daisy, Iman Faisal,
Again—congratulations!!! This is very exciting for all of you and our community at large!”

The Mayor’s office contends that they get behind everyone’s projects just as much:

City Hall says it is the job of the community and immigrant affairs commissioners to assist community groups, including drafting letters for them. Officials noted Bloomberg has always been in favor of building the mosque near Ground Zero.

“The Community Affairs Unit exists to help groups navigate city government, and from helping prepare for a Papal visit to expediting approval of a Sukkah in a midtown Manhattan park, this kind of assistance is typical of its regular work,” said Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser.

It seems that these emails show more than the usual amount of support coming from the mayor’s office.  In fact they reveal another example of  Mayor Bloomberg’s contempt for the vast majority of  people of his own city, indeed the people of the United States. While people worked so hard to protect what they see as hallowed grounds, the Mayor’s office was sneaking behind their backs to fight against them.

Sources: NY Observer, Wall Street Journal, NY Post and The ACLJ

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