By: Maggie Haberman
Sarah Palin, who waded into a New York political fight by endorsing Ann Marie Buerkle in NY-25, is drifting into a decidedly higher-charged battle: The fray over a planned mosque near Ground Zero.
“Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing,” she tweeted Sunday.
The building’s planners, the American Society for Muslim Advancement and the Cordoba Initiative, have said it’s modeled on religious and community centers such as the YMCA, and that the 13-story, $100 million building would also include an arts center, gym and a swimming pool, as well as a mosque. It would be two blocks away from Ground Zero.
The project, which has become an increasingly partisan issue in New York, received a renewed burst of national attention when CBS and NBC rejected an ad from the National Republican Trust PAC that crosscut footage of the 9/11 attacks with the sounds of Muslim prayer.
While a recent poll showed a majority of New Yorkers oppose the plan to build the mosque built near Ground Zero, an aide in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s City Hall hit back at Palin, first tweeting “@SarahPalinUSA mind your business.”
The aide, policy hand Andrea Batista Schlesinger, followed that up with:
“@SarahPalinUSA whose hearts? Racist hearts?”
Schlesinger deleted both tweets shortly after a call was placed to city hall asking for comment on them.
“Andrea was only speaking for herself, and she has the right to her own opinions,” said Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser.
Schlesinger posted threee new tweets Sunday evening, explaining why she wrote, and took down, her Palin response:
“Deleted post bc I regretted curt response. But fact is, I believe this city belongs to everyone – and no one more than another”
“Unlike @SarahPalinUSA, I was born here grew up here. Was showing off to a visitor today – look at how beautiful and diverse my city is.”
“I felt pain of 9/11, the trauma. I got through it by believing in my city. Not through fear and hate.”
Bloomberg has defended the plan for the mosque, arguing that blocking it would impinge on religious freedom, and he’s denounced calls to look into the group’s funding – led by Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rick Lazio in a bid to engage his rival, Democrat Andrew Cuomo – “un-American.”
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