‘Ground Zero mosque’ opponents made abusive phone calls

LOWER MANHATTAN — Community Board 1 has received threatening phone calls since members backed a controversial plan to build a mosque near the World Trade Center.

Shortly after the board voiced support for the Cordoba House, a 13-story mosque and community center two blocks north of the World Trade Center site, the community board office and at least one board member received menacing calls, and notified the NYPD.

The board member, who requested his name not be published, abstained from CB1’s mosque vote and argued at the meeting that the board should not weigh in at all. But that distinction did not matter to the caller. “The guy used four-letter words and said I should die a horrible death,” the board member said. “He just launched into an attack, screaming at me.”

The board member called the police, and they tracked down the harassing caller, who had used a cell phone with a 347 area code. Since the caller had said, “You should die,” not, “I will kill you,” he was protected by the First Amendment, officers told the board member.

DNAinfo, 16 June 2010