World trade center depicted in flames with Ground Zero mosque.
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
The New York City transit agency approved a bus advertisement Monday depicting a plane flying toward the World Trade Center's towers as they burn along with a rendering of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero.The ad was paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an organization that opposes radical Islamic influence in the United States. The group's executive director says she doesn't find the ad offensive.RELATED:Opinion: Is a giant mosque at Ground Zero justified?Go-ahead for New York Islamic Cultural CenterThe group sued the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to demand it accept the ad, which was approved Monday.MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz says the agency doesn't endorse the ad's views.The plan for a mosque just blocks from the World Trade Center site has ignited a national debate about the limits of tolerance and the symbolism of Ground Zero.The Anti-Defamation League recently came out against the planned mosque and Islamic community center near ground zero, saying more information is needed about funding for the project and the location is "counterproductive to the healing process."AdvertisementADL National Director Abe Foxman compared the idea of a mosque near GroundZ ero to the Roman Catholic Carmelite nuns who had a convent at the Auschwitz death camp. In 1993, Pope John Paul II responded to Jewish protests by ordering the nuns to move."We're saying if your purpose is to heal differences, it's the wrong place," Foxman said of the mosque. "Don't do it. The symbolism is wrong."J Street supports the Ground Zero mosque, saying that "in the battle against violent extremism, core democratic values like respect for minorities and freedom of religion can be potent weapons in ensuring security and advancing tolerance and understanding. Now is the time to stand in support of those core values."
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