New York GOP Sends “Ground Zero Mosque” Flier To NY-9 Voters

A Republican mailer in the surprisingly competitive Special Election to replace Anthony Weiner has dredged up last summer’s controversy over the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque”:

New York Republicans have sent out a kitchen-sink mailer in the hotly-contested Queens congressional special election depicting a mosque superimposed over the scarred Ground Zero site on one side, and Democrat David Weprin alongside President Barack Obama on the other.

The mailer is one of a string that the New York State Republican Party sent out in this close race between state Assembly member Weprin and Republican businessman Bob Turner for the 9th congressional district seat that was held by scandal-singed Democrat Anthony Weiner.

But it’s also one of the more incendiary fliers in the contest that was supposed to be a lock for Democrats in a reliably blue district, but has turned into a dogfight in which Turner has the momentum.

The front of the flier features a golden-domed mosque rising in front of the demolished World Trade Center site, a shell of metal rising near a photo of Weprin and a quote of his from last September, saying: “I support the right of the mosque to build …”

The reverse page is a picture of Weprin juxtaposed against a photo of the president, and text reading: “Weprin stands with Obama — and they stand together in support of the mosque at Ground Zero.”

The piece was received by a registered voter in NY-9 in the past week, landing in the days leading up to the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

The mosque was a major controversy around the time of last year’s 9/11 anniversary, but since then it has died down. That’s been in no small part because the mosque builders have run into several problems as they’ve tried to fundraise, raising questions about whether the project will ever even come to fruition.

Nonetheless, Turner has made political hay of it, releasing a TV ad that focused on the mosque issue. Last week, Democrats trying to boost Weprin released, and then tried to yank, a spot showing an airplane flying across the sky, in what was seen as an attempt to refer to the terror attacks. The spot reportedly still ended up running in New York on Friday.

Other candidates who attempted to get political gain out of appeals to intolerance such as this have failed,  I’m tempted to say that Turner deserves to follow them.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Al says:

    What exactly does congress have to do with with this anyway? Does the mosque need some kind of permission from the House of Representatives to be built?

  2. @Al: You act as if pesky “facts” are important!

  3. @Al:

    They want to use Eminent Domain in order to prevent the community center from being built. In the Gubernatorial election Tea Party then Republican candidate Carl Paladino campaigned on using eminent domain to prevent it’s construction. The other candidates in the Democrat, Libertarian, Green parties supported it. Since NY is one of the biggest states for eminent domain abuse one would think that actually supporting such a thuggish move would turn people off but NY conservatives that supported Paladino saw no double standard in using the thugerment for theft.

  4. Rick Shreiner says:

    And the fright-wing Islamophobes, xenophobes and racists will win again, this time in a “RELIABLY blue disctict” .. .. ..
    Just one more reason this American moved to Sweden many years back.
    . . . got tired of all the hatred being granted “air-time” . . .

    Hope you Dems enjoy your new representative, you will have actually earned him.

  5. Tom Margolis says:

    Did he support the mosque? Yes.
    Is it fair game? Yes.
    How come voters are susceptible to appeals to intolerance only when a Dem is in trouble? Obama got 55% of the vote here, so the race card needs to be tucked away. The new answer: Islamophobia!!!! Perfect.
    How about the Dem candidate justs sucks? Is that ever an option?

  6. Rob in CT says:

    Imagine that, being in favor of allowing people to build something that was approved by the local zoning commission. I mean, the GALL of those awful Democrats, refusing to intervene in local politics to pander to bigots!

    The entire “Ground Zero Mosque” episode has been a depressing farce.

  7. mr. katz says:

    I say NO MOSQUE, it is like invading a grave site with satanic images.