By Pamela Geller
While New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg works in anxious haste to build the cultural obscenity that is the Ground Zero mosque, the iconic St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which was built in 1916 and destroyed in the attack on the World Trade Center towers by Muslim terrorists, remains vanquished, unable to rebuild.
Bloomberg is lobbying for 9/11 taxpayer funds for the Islamic supremacist grifters behind the Ground Zero mosque, but St. Nicholas Church is in purgatory ten years after the worst day in modern American history.
Perhaps St. Nicholas Church should claim that it is a mosque — then Bloomberg and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn would probably pour the cement for its foundation. Remember: the New York Daily News reported last December that “Mayor Bloomberg’s top deputies went to great lengths to help those trying to build a mosque at Ground Zero — even drafting a letter to the community board for them.”
After a Freedom of Information Act request from Judicial Watch, New York City officials released “a flurry of emails between its brass and Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam pushing to build a mosque near the sensitive site, and his supporters.” It was worse than we imagined. The release of these documents, emails, and various exchanges between Mayor Bloomberg’s office and the radical Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his motley crew of Islamic supremacists showed evidence of collusion, inappropriate political support for the Ground Zero mega-mosque, and favoritism given to the project.
Rauf is an open proponent of Islamic law, Sharia, with its oppression of women, stonings, and amputations. He is a prominent member of the Perdana organization, a leading funder of the jihad flotilla launched against Israel last year by the genocidal Islamic terror group, IHH. And he’s a slumlord and grifter: Rauf snagged more than $2 million in public financing to renovate low-income apartments. He took the money, never did the renovations, and forced good people to live with vermin and dilapidation.
So why did the mayor apparently break ethical rules for a slumlord with radical ties, whose buildings were placed in receivership? And why isn’t he working just as energetically for the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church? Technically, he has no jurisdiction over the Port Authority, which is blocking the rebuilding of the church, but he could speak out more energetically for it — and meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver could do a great deal to help the church’s cause — but in sharp contrast to Bloomberg’s work for the mosque, they haven’t done a thing for the church.
Cuomo could order Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward to stop blocking the church’s reconstruction. He hasn’t. Silver hasn’t done a thing, either. Yet if they support the Ground Zero mosque, they should at least extend the same level of support to this church that was on the site for 85 years.
I spoke with Evan C. Lambrou, who is a former editor of the National Herald, the country’s oldest and largest Greek-American newspaper, and a distinguished graduate of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston. He explained that it was “wrong for the Port Authority to take the church’s original property for its purposes, in exchange for another parcel nearby; extract the church’s good faith by promising to actually deliver the promised new parcel; and then not make good on that promise. In short, the Port Authority got the church to do something it didn’t really want to do by promising the church something else instead, and then refused to give what was promised. That’s just not right. It’s morally reprehensible, in fact.”
Yes, it is, and it gets worse. Lambrou continued: “It’s very disgraceful that the Port Authority has compelled the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese to file a federal lawsuit just to rebuild one of our churches. And it’s simply astounding that people work themselves into such a frenzy about Park 51; that so many elected officials have rushed to defend development of an Islamic community center two blocks away from Ground Zero; and that virtually no one cares about the Port Authority’s plans to exclude a Christian church from Ground Zero altogether.”
Lambrou skewered the double standard: “This country was founded on Judeo-Christian ethics and principles, so if elected officials are going to support religious freedom for Muslims in America, they should do the same for one of this country’s Christian minorities.”
“That’s why I’m disappointed,” Lambrou said, “in Governor Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.” He sent them both letters and emails, but their response “wasn’t even lukewarm.” He received “one feel-good call from a press officer at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation assuring me that the “Cuomo Administration cares.” And as for Silver, one of his aides told Lambrou that he was “concerned” about the church. That was it. Lambrou sent them both information from the American Center for Law and Justice that pointed out that in refusing to rebuild the church, the Port Authority had violated three constitutional amendments. Nonetheless, Lammbrou said, “neither Mr. Cuomo nor Mr. Silver have voiced their support for the church publicly. I have urged them to do so several times, and they still haven’t yet.”
Lambrou told me: “This is both a moral and a Constitutional matter. Is it really that difficult for them to release a substantive public statement of support for rebuilding this church? Is it really so hard for them to tell the Port Authority to do the right thing for the church?” When I asked him if the lawsuit that the church had filed against various New York officials might be causing the silence, he responded: “This is a no-brainer, and the lawsuit is no excuse. Anyway, the lack of response to my concerns has been deeply disheartening. Orthodox Christian rights are being violated by a powerful public entity under their watch, and the people who should be defending us are doing nothing about it.”
While those of us who oppose the Islamic supremacist mosquestrosity at Ground Zero are routinely called bigots, it is St. Nicholas Church that is encountering actual bigotry. Lambrou said, “I never thought I would find myself contending with this kind of bigotry in 21st Century America, and I feel completely betrayed that those who are in a position to reverse the problem have done nothing about it. That indicates they’re actually willing to relegate this innocent and historic house of worship to oblivion and, in so doing, perpetuate the tragedy of 9/11.”
They are, but we aren’t. Stop the Islamization of lower Manhattan. Stand with us against the Ground Zero Mosque and for St. Nicholas Church on September 11 at our Freedom Rally at Ground Zero.
Pamela Geller is the publisher of AtlasShrugs.com and the author of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War On America (Simon & Schuster).