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- August 20, 2011
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Town Sports International (TSI) – the company that owns and operates New York Sports Clubs (NYSC), Philadelphia Sports Clubs (PSC), Boston Sports Clubs (BSC) and Washington D.C. Sports Clubs (WSC) – is honoring first responders by offering a special discounted membership rate to all police, firefighters, EMS workers and military personnel, in appreciation for all of their hard work and sacrifice. Through September 11, first responders can sign up at any TSI Club location to receive a rate of $20 per month for the lifetime of the membership.
- September 3, 2010
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The Muslim cleric at the center of the proposed mosque and community center near Ground Zero is also a New Jersey landlord who got more than $2 million in public financing to renovate low-income apartments and has been beset for years by tenant complaints and financial problems.
Imam Feisal A. Rauf won support for his Hudson County projects from powerful politicians, among them Robert C. Janiszewski, the disgraced former county executive. He also was awarded grants from Union City when U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez was mayor.
The proposed $100 million development two blocks north of Ground Zero has sparked a firestorm of emotions. Menendez recently added his name to the list of prominent supporters, which includes New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Rauf forged ties with Fred Daibes, the prominent waterfront developer and bank chairman. Additionally, Rauf is a onetime business ally of a Daibes associate who sued the imam for alleged mortgage fraud. The 2008 suit was quietly settled in June.
The revelations about Rauf, who lives in North Bergen, add another dimension to the public profile of a man both lauded as a builder of bridges between diverse religions and cultures and vilified as being insensitive to the survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack by proposing a mosque near the World Trade Center site.
Best known as the religious face of the controversial proposal, called Park51, Rauf, the revelations show, has had some success navigating the realm of secular power — in this case the rough-and-tumble world of Hudson County government.
- August 14, 2010
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WASHINGTON — After skirting the controversy for weeks, President Barack Obama is weighing in forcefully on the mosque near ground zero, saying a nation built on religious freedom must allow it.
"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country," Obama told an intently listening crowd gathered at the White House Friday evening to observe the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
"That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances," he said. "This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable."
- July 13, 2010
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The ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee said he favors an investigation into the funding of a proposed mosque near Ground Zero in New York City. A hearing on the mosque was set for Tuesday.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Rep. Peter King raised concerns about the sources of funding for the proposed $100 million mosque, just blocks away from the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, where nearly 3,000 Americans died at the hands of Islamic terrorists.
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