New York, Aug.17 (ANI): A retired New York Fire Department deputy chief has criticised the city administration for going ahead with a plan to build an Islamic culture centre and a mosque near Ground Zero, the place where nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives in a terror strike.
Jim Riches, who lost his fire fighter son Jimmy on 9/11, categorically said Muslims had murdered his son, and therefore, he was strongly objecting to the two Islamic buildings coming up near Ground Zero.
"I'm not for all those buildings, but, you know, they didn't murder my son. Muslims murdered my son. That's why I'm offended at this being here," CBS News quoted Riches, as saying.
Emotions are particularly intense in New York City
An artist who wants to remain anonymous - giving only John Q. Public as his name, said: "They have a right to build it constitutionally, but that doesn't mean it should be built right here on this battlefield."
Some victims' families say the Islamic centre would pervert the mood at Ground Zero, but two blocks from what Mr. Obama called "hallowed ground" are a number of businesses - strip joints, stores selling X-rated DVD's - striking a far different tone than the families want.
What really complicates the issue is that there already is a vibrant Muslim community near Ground Zero.
Seven hundred thousand Muslims live in New York City's five boroughs, including 10,000 in lower Manhattan, where there are 87 Muslim organizations and businesses.
But this is an issue being driven by emotions on both sides, not numbers.
The anonymous artist said: "It is a sensitive, provocative, confrontational issue." (ANI)