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Paterson offers to help mosque find a different home

Gov. David Paterson has an offer for developers of the mosque that may be built near Ground Zero: Move it and we’ll help.

Paterson said yesterday he doesn't oppose the project as planned but indicated he understands where opponents are coming from. He said he was willing to intervene to seek other suitable state property if the developers agreed.

“I am very sensitive to the desire of those who are adamant against it," Paterson said after a news conference.

Paterson said he expected a state commission to sign off on the project, and not involve politics in its review. The project’s developers declined to comment Tuesday.

He noted that "we really are still suffering in many respects" 9/11 and that impassioned feelings were bound to emerge from a mosque just a couple of blocks from where nearly 3,000 people died at the hands of Muslim extremists.

In other related developments:
- A Marist College poll released yesterday found that 53 percent of city voters oppose constructing the mosque at 49-51 Park Place, while 34 percent favor it.

- Graphic ads protesting the mosque will start blanketing 26 buses next week as part of a month-long campaign. The $8,000 ads depict the first airplane striking one of the towers and decry the “WTC Jihad Attacks.” The MTA originally refused to run the ads, but backed down Monday when the campaign’s sponsor, the Stop Islamization of America group, said they would sue.

- The mosque’s Imam is reportedly departing on a jaunt through the Middle East funded by the State Department, which some fear will be used to raise funds for the $100 million project, according to published reports.

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