Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the hugely controversial Ground Zero mosque and Mayor Bloomberg , were all smiles last night as they posed with lefty blogger Arianna Huffington, who anointed them both “Game Changers.” They were among the guests Huffington hosted at the Skylight Studio in SoHo at her party honoring “100 innovators, visionaries and leaders.” If one picture is worth a thousand words, this one — the first of the three of them together — raises at least as many questions.
But the mayor has long been one of the biggest supporters of the imam’s mosque, despite the fact that a great many of his constituents — and the vast majority of the nation — are vehemently opposed, and there’s no evidence to think that either he or Rauf changed their games when it came to that. Bloomberg did not mention the mosque in his speech, his reps said. He was invited to speak about gun control — and that’s all he talked about in his public presentation.
But at an event at Gracie Mansion for Muslim leaders last summer, Bloomberg declared, “If we say that a mosque and community center should not be built near the World Trade Center site, we would compromise our commitment to fighting terror with freedom.
“Islam did not attack the World Trade Center — al Qaeda did.”
And Rauf certainly has not changed his tune. Only hours before the event last night, he rejected the advice of influential Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who suggested he build the mosque at a site not associated with the “wound” of 9/11.
Rauf stuck to his guns, issuing a statement saying, “While we respect the points of view of other interested observers, we plan to build this community center in this location.”