NEW YORK, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani weighed in on the controversial proposal to build a mosque near Ground Zero, calling the plan divisive.
Giuliani said organizers seeking to build the mosque and Islamic cultural center just blocks from where the Twin Towers stood are "creating more division, more anger, more hatred," The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
"The reality is that right now, if you are a healer, you do not go forward with this project. If you're a warrior you do," Giuliani, who emerged to the forefront in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, said during an interview on NBC's "Today" show Thursday.
Organizers have "every right" to build the center two blocks from Ground Zero, but "the question is, should they build it?" Giuliani said. "Are they displaying the sensitivity they claim by building it?"
Giuliani's remarks place him at odds with his successor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an outspoken advocate for the proposed mosque.
If the development comes to fruition, it would "horribly offend" the families of the victims, Giuliani said.
The former mayor, who vied to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, praised Democratic Gov. David Paterson for proposing to meet with project organizers in an effort to find an alternative, less controversial location.
"Governor Paterson had the best approach here," Mr. Giuliani said. "Nice compromise, find another place, have a beautiful mosque there. Don't have it there."
Oz Sultan, a spokesman for the mosque project, told the Journal "no one is available" to comment on Giuliani's remarks and that he was unaware of any meetings with Paterson.