Bloomberg: New York City Islamic Center and Mosque 'Not a Campaign Issue'

New York City's mayor calls political rhetoric about issue "a disgrace."

ByABC News via logo
September 7, 2010, 11:43 PM

Sept. 8, 2010 — -- New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg disagrees with a Florida pastor's impending Koran-burning rally on the coming 9th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, calling the plan "boneheaded and wrong."

Even as he defended the pastor's right to carry out his plan, Bloomberg told "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts that he didn't believe the pastor should do it.

Bloomberg made the comments to Roberts on a recent tour of the Ground Zero site, which is being prepared to house a memorial and underground museum to honor the more than 3,000 people who were killed when terrorists flew two jetliners into the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

His reaction echoed similar sentiments expressed by interfaith leaders, politicians, and the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

Pastor Terry Jones of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., has cited the terror attack as the reason for his planned bonfire of Korans Saturday.

Gen. David Petraeus has warned that Jones' plan could inflame some in the Muslim world, resulting in danger to U.S. troops even as the 9th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks approaches.

A proposed Islamic community center and mosque at Ground Zero in New York seems to have sharply polarized the public: critics say such a facility has no place at Ground Zero, while supporters say the nation's Constitution guarantees each individual the freedom to practice his or her religion.

Bloomberg told Roberts that the mosque sends a message, adding that most of the 9/11 victims' family members with whom he has talked have said builders should have the right to erect the community center and mosque.