Daniel Pearl's father: don't build mosque

By Jennifer Lipman, August 26, 2010
Daniel Pearl: murdered in 2002

Daniel Pearl: murdered in 2002

The father of a Jewish journalist murdered by terrorists in Pakistan has voiced his opposition to the plan to build a mosque near the site of the September 11 attacks.

Judea Pearl, whose son Daniel was kidnapped and beheaded in Karachi in 2002, entered the debate on the Ground Zero mosque after a comment by Jewish New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Mr Bloomberg had referred to a eulogy for Daniel Pearl given by Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the mosque project, and suggested this was a reason to support its construction.

But following the comment Mr Pearl told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) that the mayor should assert the right to build the mosque but “expend the same energy trying to convince them to put it somewhere else."

He added: "Public reaction tells us that it is not the right time, and that it will create further animosity and division in this country.”

Daniel Pearl was investigating alleged links between Al Qaeda and Pakistan’s intelligence service for the Wall Street Journal when he was captured and killed. His story was immortalised on screen in the film A Mighty Heart.

In the years since his son’s death Mr Pearl has travelled around the world speaking on the need for dialogue between Islam and Judaism.

Mr Bloomberg has defended the plan to construct a mosque and community centre near to Ground Zero on several occasions.

He said this week: “We would undercut the values that so many heroes have died protecting and feed the false impressions that some Americans have about Muslims.

“Islam did not attack the World Trade Centre. Al Qaeda did.”

Watch Michael Bloomberg on why the mosque should be built

Last updated: 12:09pm, August 30 2010