On October 23 the New York Post ran an article about the developer of a community center near Ground Zero, wrting that he is due in court on Thursday for a case about violations in a Washington Heights building. "If he doesn’t show up, he risks being sent to jail."
Curious as to what was the outcome, I googled the case but could find no reference to what happened this past Thursday. I did find this article and this disturbing article which includes a list of active lawsuits pending against him and his company.
A WSJ article states that "the developer behind the proposed Islamic community center near the World Trade Center said Tuesday he is exploring commercial uses there, including condominiums, a hotel and an office tower."
The NYT reported that "Mr. El-Gamal said his vision remained: a Muslim-led community center modeled on the Jewish Community Center on the Upper West Side, where his children learned to swim."
The Park51 site offers a vision that "we will foster cooperation and understanding between people of all faiths."
It also has a list of activities scheduled activities and lectures. On November 16 the public is invited to a book release of In the Presence of Absence by Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, translated by Sinan Antoon.
A book description at Amazon contains the following sentence.
"In this self-eulogy written in the final years of Mahmoud Darwish's life, Palestine becomes a metaphor for the injustice and pain of our contemporary moment."
Adam Shatz wrote the following.
His 1988 poem "Those Who Pass Between Fleeting Words," published in the early days of the first intifada, provoked an outcry among Israelis, including some of the poet's left- wing friends. Although Mr. Darwish insisted that he was addressing Israeli soldiers ("Live wherever you like, but do not live among us"), many Israelis interpreted the poem as a call for them to evacuate the region altogether.
Ben Cohen calls attention to Darwish making a connection between Palestine and the Jews in an article titled The Candour of Mahmoud Darwish.
Is presenting the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish the way to go to foster understanding between people of all faiths? Or, is it a way of indoctrinating a new generation into the terms of "occupation" and encouraging more anti-Israel sentiment? Is the community center really modeled after the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan?
I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg's office and those who have expressed support for the community center to be developed.