NEW YORK (AP) — The planned mosque and Islamic center blocks from ground zero is getting a new boost from a coalition of supporters that includes 9/11 families.

The coalition, New York Neighbors for American Values, rallied for the first time Wednesday at a municipal building near ground zero.

Talat Hamdani says her paramedic son, a Muslim, gave his life on Sept. 11 to save Americans and their values, including freedom of religion.

The group was started by members of 40 civic and religious organizations.

They plan a candlelight vigil near ground zero on Sept. 10, the eve of the ninth Sept. 11 anniversary.

The head of watchdog group Common Cause New York, Susan Lerner, says the controversy over the Islamic cultural center was triggered by “irresponsible politicians” using it as an election issue.

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