Developers of the proposed mosque near New York City's Ground Zero have rejected New York Gov. David Paterson's offer to help them find an alternative location.
Paterson said Wednesday despite his attempts to reach out to the leaders of the Cordoba Initiative, they have refused to meet with him on the matter. The initiative bills itself as an advocacy group that promotes improved relations between Islam and the West.
"I think they would like to stay where they are, and I certainly respect that and I certainly respect them," the governor said. "Having said that, how much more foresighted would it have been if the imam who is the developer of the project had been willing to hear what we are actually talking about?"
Paterson added that he is disappointed the group that says it wants to foster better understanding of cultural differences is refusing to even discuss other points of view.
Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he will not offer the group incentives to choose another location for 13-story Islamic center.
"If the governor wants to offer [it], he can speak for himself," Bloomberg said, with Paterson standing beside him. "I'm just telling you that I've always believed the government should not be involved in deciding who you pray to, what you say and where you say it. "