I'm not exactly sure what to make of this. First of all, I'm not sure I believe it. It very well might be a ploy that the Cordoba Initiative is floating in the wake of Obama's on again-off again support. The president's inartful rhetoric on the mosque over the weekend did nothing to calm the storm and instead, ratcheted up opposition. Perhaps they want to get the opposition to lower their guard and then announce a move to a site a couple of hundred feet away from where they originally planned to build.
But Haaretz is saying they are reconsidering building the mosque:
After weeks of heated debate over plans for an Islamic community center near Ground Zero - the site of the 9/11 attacks on New York - it seems Muslim leaders will soon back down, agreeing to move to a new site.
The decision follows a high-profile campaign against the project that included advertisements on New York buses showing images of the burning Twin Towers, an iconic landmark razed when al-Qaida terrorists flew packed passenger planes into them in 2001. The New York Republican party is also said to be planning a hostile television campaign. Sources in New York said on Monday that Muslim religious and business leaders will announce plans to abandon the project in the next few days.
New York Governor David Patterson said last weekend that Muslim leaders had rejected outright his proposal tto swap the site in for another in Manhattan.
But several people familiar with the debate among New York's Islamic activists now claim that the leaders are convinced abandoning the site is preferable to unleashing a wave of bitterness towards Muslims.
It has always struck me nearly dumb that the backers of this project didn't have a clue - or at least claim they didn't - that building a mosque within sight of Ground Zero wouldn't raise the hackles of America. Over 70% of the country is firmly opposed to their little project. You would think before investing $100 million, the Muslim moneybags would have asked some PR flak - anyone would have sufficed - what kinds of PR problems they would have had in pushing the project.
The idea that they say they didn't understand the depth of feeling that would arise if they tried to build their mosque convinces me that this was some kind of deliberate provocation. All they apparently cared about was how Muslims would view the project. Now that they are faced with a solid phalanx of opposition, it seems they prefer the better part of valor to making their statement.