We just put up a report that so far seems to be untrue. The Ground Zero Mosque is apparently going forward.
Here’s our original lead, what we had and the updated material on the bottom:
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that Muslim leaders will soon announce plans to abandon building a mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero – a plan that has been inaccurately described as being at Ground Zero as critics leave out the part about it also being a community center.
After weeks of heated debate over plans for an Islamic community center near Ground Zero – the site of the 9/11 attacks on New York – it seems Muslim leaders will soon back down, agreeing to move to a new site.
The decision follows a high-profile campaign against the project that included advertisements on New York buses showing images of the burning Twin Towers, an iconic landmark razed when al-Qaida terrorists flew packed passenger planes into them in 2001. The New York Republican party is also said to be planning a hostile television campaign.
Sources in New York said on Monday that Muslim religious and business leaders will announce plans to abandon the project in the next few days.
New York Governor David Paterson said last weekend that Muslim leaders had rejected outright his proposal to swap the site in for another in Manhattan.
But several people familiar with the debate among New York’s Islamic activists now claim that the leaders are convinced abandoning the site is preferable to unleashing a wave of bitterness towards Muslims.
Which raises these questions:
The official Twitter account of Park51, the developer constructing the center, has now stepped in to deny the story. “Reports by Haaretz are completely false,” tweeted @Park51. “We are committed to plans of building Park 51 to serve the community of Lower Manhattan.
Score one for American media. And cross Haaretz off your list of sources for news on this story.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.