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Shocker: Rudy Giuliani Opposes The Park51 Project (UPDATED)


Read that post title with dripping sarcasm please.

Who isn't surprised by the completely unsurprising position that Giuliani has taken?
Former New York City major Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that if the developer of a proposed Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero was genuinely concerned with healing religious wounds, "he [would] not go forward with this project."

"This project is not healing," Giuliani, the mayor of New York during the 9/11 attacks, told Matt Lauer on NBC's Today Show. "This project is divisive, this project is creating tremendous pain to people who have already paid the ultimate sacrifice."

Giuliani said the developer, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, appears to "recognize that there are two ways to interpret the Koran: the better way, which is the peaceful way; or the warrior way, which is the way in which you get into trouble with jihad."

"The reality is that, right now, if you are a healer you do not go forward with this project. If you're a warrior, you do," Giuliani added.
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Photo: Ben Baker

UPDATE:: Reader Kris points out in the comments, that I have not included all of Rudy Giuliani's comments in my post -- and he is correct. Here is the entire transcript of the interview:
>> now the debate raging over those plans to build a mosque near ground zero. the current mayor of new york city, michael bloomberg, has been one of the most vocal proponents of that mosque. but former mayor rudolph giuliani has a different opinion. mr. mayor, good morning. it's nice to see you.

>> good morning.

>> what's your problem with it? most people say, look, it's legal, it's within the constitution. we protect religious freedom in this country. why don't you think it should be built there?

>> i agree with all that. and beyond that it's an act of right project as far as i can tell under new york law. they never even had to go through all the reviews they went through. the question here is a question of sensitivity. people's feelings. and, are you really what you pretend to be? as i understand this cordoba house, the idea of it is to healing, to show that muslims care about the same things that christians and jews do. that we're one people. that we should be one. well, if you're going to so horribly offend the people who are most directly offended by this, most directly affected by this, the families of the september 11th victims, who i happen to know and have got ton know, you know, really well, then how are you healing? i mean all this is doing is creating more division, more anger, more hatred, and i mean, there are --

>> are you worried about the imam behind this project? in terms of his politics, his religious beliefs, do you find him to be anything but the moderate that he's described as by the current administration? and by the way, the bush administration before that?

>> i'm confused by the imam. i see all the things that you're saying. but i also see a man who said that america was an accessory to september 11th. those are the very words that require me to give $10 million back to an arab chic or prince. he gave us $10 million for the 9/11 --

>> let me clarify so people understand what you're saying. shortly after 9/11 on "60 minutes" he said, quote, i wouldn't say the united states deserved what happened, but united states policies were an accessory to the crime that happened on 9/11, because we have been accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world.

>> well, that's exactly what the the -- what the arab prince said when he gave me $10 million. that america was an accessory to september 11th because of its foreign policy. america was not an accessory to september 11th. all you've got to do is read about jihad and -- second thing, the second thing he said was, he refused to condemn hamas, with whom he is alleged to have had some ties. a terrorist group. it's recognized by everyone as a terrorist group. and he said america should apologize. so, okay, that's one part of it. the other part of the it is, he has had a history of appearing to be a hero, appearing to be someone that wants to talk about a moderate islam.

>> he's made appearances with condoleezza rice--

>> there are two ways you could interpret the koran. the better way, which is the peaceful way, or the warrior way, which is the way in which you get into trouble with jihad. but those quotes trouble me. but here's what troubles me more. if he's truly about healing, he will not go forward with this project. because this project is not healing. this project is divisive. this project is creating tremendous pain to people who have already paid the ultimate sacrifice.

>> there are a lot of issues are divisive, and yet they have to be tough choices --

>> matt, matt, but not this. that's true. a lot of issues are divisive. but if you want to claim to be the healer, then you're not on the side of the person who is pushing those issues.

>> let me play you something you said on our program, "meet the press" back on december 22nd of 2002. so about 14 months after 9/11.

>> if you think about the attacks on september 11th, i think everyone will acknowledge that part of the core of that attack was the fact that we have freedom of religion in america. that -- that part of why america was founded. it's part of what we're all about. it's one of the most prominent things about us, that you can be a catholic, a protestant, a jew, a muslim, or no religion at all, and no one's going to interfere with you.

>> and no one's going to interfere with you. by saying that these people shouldn't build their mosque where they plan to build it, isn't that interfering?

>> no, of course not. first of all, they have freedom of religion. they can build it. they have every right to build it. the question is, should they build it? are they displaying the sensitivity they claim by building it? for example, the pope asked the nuns to take the convent back from right in front of auschwitz or one of the concentration camps. they had a perfect right to be there. they had the freedom of religion there. the nuns were sensitive enough to the concerns of jews that they pulled it back. now here's a man who is selling sensitivity. he's got $180,000 in the bank, he wants to raise $100 million. ask me how he's going to do it, i don't know. you don't do it by creating this kind of vicious, sort of angry battle that's going on. the people who are speaking about it --

>> some would say he didn't create the vicious, angry battle. that it's the people who decided to weigh in on it who added it to the battle?

>> i was the first person on september 11th that stepped forward in the heat of battle, that afternoon, my first press conference and said, no group blamed. do not blame arabs. we have to understand this is a small group, and we have to focus on them. but, the reality is, that right now, if you are a healer, you do not go forward with this project.

>> a couple of real quick --

>> if you're a warrior you do.

>> a couple of quick things. do you think union workers in this city, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, will build on that site?

>> before i returned to new york last night on an airplane, i was talking to a couple construction workers there. they told me, typical new york accent. we ain't working on that project. let them see if they can go find somebody to work on that project. my answer is, i know new york well enough, you're going to probably find somebody to work on it. i question whether they can raise the money. every indication from the attorney general's report of their charity is they have about $180,000. $100 million project. where is the money coming from?

>> in your gut do you think if we sit down a year from right now the project will be under construction at this site?

>> i think governor paterson had an approach. nice compromise, find another place, have a beautiful mosque there. don't offend easily 80%, 90% of the families are seriously offended. i know people who are crying over this who have lost loved ones. you or i might not even agree. we might say, okay, put the mosque there. but maybe we haven't lost that -- that son, that father, person who is watching their child today, and still remember every day that person is gone. it wasn't an attack in the name of islam. it was a perverted kind of islam. but the kind of prevalent view that goes on in a lot of parts of the world. we've got to be sensitive to everybody here.

>> rudy giuliani, good to have you here.

>> good to see you.
My emphasis.