Confirming Claudia Rosett's report on Forbes.com:
- 8/10, "The Ground Zero Mosque and the Obama Administration," by Dan McLaughlin, RedState.com
The imam behind controversial plans for a mosque near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks is being sent by the State Department on a religious outreach trip to the Middle East, officials said Tuesday.
The department is sponsoring Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s visit to Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, where he will discuss Muslim life in America and promote religious tolerance, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. He said the imam had been on two similar trips and that plans for the upcoming tour predated the mosque controversy.
“We have a long-term relationship with him,” Crowley told reporters, noting that Rauf had visited Bahrain, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in 2007 and went to Egypt last January as part of an exchange program run by the department’s Office of International Information Programs.'"
Mr. McLaughlin adds:
"The local politics of the issue aren’t settled yet, either. As it turns out, Cordoba actually owns only 50% of the land, and is still trying to buy the rest from Con Edison, the local power utility, and has not been forthcoming about this. As Pete King explains, that means the sale will need approval from state power company regulators. And Governor Paterson is trying to intervene by offering land at a less offensive location, a favor that few other struggling lower Manhattan developers are allowed..."