George Demos, a Republican Candidate for Congress in New York's First Congressional District, wrote on the subject that, "On September 11, 2001, over 3,000 Americans … were taken from us by the evil acts of Islamic extremists bent on destroying our freedoms.
"Amid the thick smoke and choking ashes of that fateful day, the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was reduced to dust," he said.
"What an outrage that our government has put roadblocks in the path of its own citizens trying rebuild their beloved Church destroyed by Islamic extremists, while Saudi Arabia, a nation that prohibits people from even wearing a Cross or the Star of David, now provokes the families of those who lost loved ones by apparently funneling money to build a mosque at the same location," he said.
The St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, built in the early 1900’s to serve Greek and other Orthodox immigrants of the neighborhood, was crushed by the falling south tower. Since the attack, the church has met with many delays and red tape in its rebuilding, mostly from the Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey, Demos said.
Supporters of the Initiative have stated that they think the opponents, the most outspoken of whom are families of victims, are “bigoted.”
The name “Cordoba House” was most likely conceived as reminiscent of the Cordoba Mosque in Spain. The website InforCordoba writes of the history of the mosque:
“The Great Aljama Mosque of Cordoba, begun in 786 by Abd al-Rahman I, is the highest expression of Islamic art in Spain and the most important historic mosque of the West. Its last touches were made by Almanzor in 988, and it was the place of worship for the rulers of the western Islamic empire Al-Andalus…
Abd al-Rahman I purchased the land for the mosque, destroying the Visigothic monastery of San Vicente and using its columns and capitals, along with columns brought from elsewhere. Recently, part of the floor of the 5th-century San Vicente church has been revealed for viewing. Before the existence of the monastery, there had been a Roman temple dedicated to Janus on the site.”
The mosque was consecrated as a Catholic cathedral in 1236.