Lawmaker withdraws anti-mosque resolution

Sept. 22, 2010 at 11:09 AM
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KINGSTON, N.Y., Sept. 22 (UPI) -- A suburban New York lawmaker withdrew a resolution opposing a planned Muslim community center and mosque near the city's Ground Zero, citing lack of support.

Ulster County Legislator Kevin Roberts, a Republican from Walkill, N.Y., about 70 miles north of New York City, also said he would likely not reintroduce the measure, which would have urged city and state officials and U.S. President Barack Obama "to use all legal measures" to prevent the proposed center's construction.

The draft resolution said the Legislature supported "the fundamental right to build any religious center in the country, but we do not support the right to build it anywhere."

Roberts, whose resolution spoke of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist-attack site as "sacred ground," pulled the measure about an hour before the legislature's monthly session after Chairman Fred Wadnola, a Republican from Lake Katrine, N.Y., told him he thought the resolution was not "appropriate," the Daily Freeman of Kingston, N.Y., reported.

Still, the session drew a firestorm of public criticism.

Donald Badgley, a resident of New Paltz, N.Y., said the resolution treaded on "the profoundly unhallowed ground of religious bigotry."

"Political pandering never surprises me, but this resolution disgusts me," the Freeman quoted him as saying.

Other residents called the proposal bigoted, fear-mongering and unAmerican, the newspaper said.

New York City officials, particularly Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, forcefully defended the project on the grounds of religious freedom, saying government had no place dictating where a house of worship is located.

Organizers of the 13-story complex say it would promote moderate Islam and interfaith dialogue.

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