Emails: NYC pushes for mosque near ground zero

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

December 23, 2010 8:20:52 PM PST
Newly released e-mails show New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office worked behind the scenes for organizers of a proposed mosque and Islamic community center near ground zero.

The mosque a few blocks from ground zero hit critical mass in the public eye last summer, and the mayor left no doubt then about where he and his administration stood.

But a group of 9/11 families opposed to the mosque and cultural center called Park 51, says the mayor exerted political pressure to get the mosque built and produced documents Thursday that they say support their claims.

In January, a person associated with the project wrote a mayoral aide saying, "I need your help, we need your help making sure we are granted a particular kind of permit this Friday."

The aid writes back, "Please go see Deputy Borough Commissioner Raymond Plumey, he is aware of your issues."

And in May, an administration official helps draft a letter for the mosque proponents saying, "What we hope the letter will do, is get the media attention off of everyone's backs and give you guys time to regroup on your strategy."

But the mayor's office says they do this same type of work for everyone, "From helping prepare for a papal visit to expediting approval for a Jewish Sukkah in a Midtown Manhattan park, this kind of assistance is typical its regular work."

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