Face-off

Mosque Protesters Swarm Ground Zero

Supporters and detractors of Park51, the Muslim cultural center and mosque that’s planned to be built two blocks from the World Trade Center site, took to the streets of Lower Manhattan on Sunday, and the opposition came in greater numbers. Roughly 1,000 protesters gathered to rail against the project, which has conflagrated into a national political issue. “It’s very insensitive to the families,” said Tim Brown, a retired firefighter. “This is not about religious freedom. All we are saying is don’t build this mosque here at ground zero on our cemetery.” Later, the mosque’s opponents chanted, “No mosque, no way!” About 200 activists in favor of the mosque showed up, too. Said one, “These people against it need to open their eyes and see how much hate this is bringing.” In other Park51-related news, Newt Gingrich, one of the mosque’s harshest critics, has announced that he will not be the headliner at another planned protest on September 11.