By Julie Shapiro
LOWER MANHATTAN — Borough President Scott Stringer fired back at Tea Party leader Mark Williams Tuesday morning after he called Stringer a “Jewish Uncle Tom” for supporting a mosque near the World Trade Center.
“[Williams] is a small-time bigot,” Stringer said, standing in front of the mosque and community center’s planned location at 45 Park Place. “[He] denigrates my religion in a way I have not been denigrated in a long time — and I’m a politician, so I’m used to it.”
Stringer was responding to a blog entry Williams posted Monday, in which Williams called Stringer a “sniveling worm” who would have betrayed Anne Frank to earn Adolph Hitler’s approval.
Stringer’s Tuesday press conference came just hours before Community Board 1’s meeting on the $100 million mosque and community center, called the Cordoba House.
CB1 Chairwoman Julie Menin predicted a large crowd of both supporters and opponents at the Tuesday evening meeting, which will be held at the 3-Legged Dog theater, which holds 225 people. Menin said the NYPD would send officers to the theater to keep order. This is an unusual measure for community board meetings.
“We want to make sure the meeting is held in a safe and civil manner, and it will be,” Menin said.
Kevin Cunningham, executive artistic director of 3-Legged Dog, an experimental theater company, said he was not concerned about the crowd.
“We've had big rowdy groups here before" Cunningham said.
While Community Board 1 has no formal jurisdiction over the Cordoba House, Stringer said he hopes the 50 members will vote on the plans. Some board members said they did not think the board should weigh in on religious institutions, but Stringer said the landmarking and land-use components of the plan are within the board’s purview.
“It will not be a discussion about what divides us,” Stringer said. “It will be a discussion about what unites us.”
The Community Board 1 meeting will be held Tues., May 25 at 6 p.m. at the 3-Legged Dog, 80 Greenwich St.