The Washington Times - August 9, 2010, 09:13AM

The controversial New York City proposed mosque, known as Cordoba House, made it past a large hurdle last week, when a city panel denied the site landmark status taking the Ground Zero mosque one step closer to becoming a reality.

Ground Zero is in the district represented by Congressman Jerry Nadler, New York Democrat, who told me in late July, “My feeling is we have freedom of religion in this country. Its not the business of government (not state, not local, not federal government) to tell anybody where they may build a church, or a mosque, or a synagogue, because we don’t like them or anyone else,” he said. “If it’s within the zoning law, government should have nothing to say.”

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Mr. Nadler would only tell me of those who were protesting the mosque, “Some of them, I appreciate their raw emotions, but I think they’re mistaken.” AUDIO:

However, his view on the protesters has more recently become more decisive as some New York Democrats are finally breaking their silence over the issue after laying low on commenting about the mosque. Salon is reporting Mr. Nadler saying last week:

“As an elected official who believes strongly in the separation of church and state, I contend that the government has no business deciding whether there should or should not be a Muslim house of worship near Ground Zero. And, as a representative of New Yorkers of all faiths and cultures, I find the singling out of Muslim-Americans — because of their faith — for animus and hate to be shameful and divisive.”

New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Republican turned Independent,  is not looking to block the construction of the mosque or look into who is funding it either.

The Imam pushing for the construction of the mosque, Feisal Abdul Rauf refuses to describe Hamas as a terrorist organization.  Abdul Rauf was asked by WABC radio interviewer Aaron Klein about the issue and hedged with his answer.  The New York Post reports:

According to the State Department’s assessment, “Hamas terrorists, especially those in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have conducted many attacks, including large-scale suicide bombings, against Israeli civilian and military targets.”

Asked if he agreed with the State Department’s assessment, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf told WABC radio, “Look, I’m not a politician.

“The issue of terrorism is a very complex question,” he told interviewer Aaron Klein.

“There was an attempt in the ‘90s to have the UN define what terrorism is and say who was a terrorist. There was no ability to get agreement on that.”

In the meantime, the imam reportedly went on a month long trip to the Middle East and cannot be reached by media.

New York 1 reported Mr. Bloomberg went after former Congressman, New York Republican, Rick Lazio for calling for an investigation on the mosque’s funding:

 Bloomberg blasted Lazio’s comment by saying an investigation would be un-American.

“It’s so out of character for what this nation stands for and the way we conduct ourselves. I’ve said that the government should never, never be in the business of telling people how they should pray or where they can pray,” said the mayor.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, Democrat, was quiet about the Ground Zero mosque for some time and only recently gave his thoughts on the issue through a letter to Mr.Bloomberg that was sent to some media:

“I honor you for your powerful statement about the proposed cultural center with a mosque in Lower Manhattan.”

“Your remarks on Tuesday put this controversial issue into context,” he said.

As of now, New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gilllibrand, both Democrats, have remained largely silent on the issue.

A new poll from Sienna Research shows that 60 percent of New Yorkers do not support the construction of the mosque near the remains of the September 11th site, so witnessing Democrats wading carefully around the Cordoba House controversy, is not unexpected.  New York residents are well aware of the terrorist attempts, both failed and successful, the city has faced in recent years.

New York’s Times Square was the target of a failed bomb attack by terrorist Faisal Shahzad back in May.

 During a court appearance he told the judge  (h/t NY Daily News):

 “Did you look around to see who they were?” Cedarbaum asked him of his potential victims.

“Well, the people select the government,” Shahzad said. “We consider them all the same. …”

“Including the children?” the judge demanded.

“Well, the drone hits in Afghanistan and Iraq, they don’t see children, they don’t see anybody,” Shahzad fired back.

“They kill women, children, they kill everybody. It’s a war, and in war, they kill people. They’re killing all Muslims.”

“One has to understand where I’m coming from,” Shahzad told the judge. “I consider myself … a Muslim soldier.”

“And it’s a war to kill people,” he coldly declared.