Construction worker and lifelong New Yorker Andy Sullivan has taken opposition to the Park51 mosque — slated to be built next to Ground Zero — into his own hands. Sullivan has led the call to get his fellow construction workers to lay down their tools and boycott construction of the mosque.
Sullivan, a witness to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, was shocked to discover that a mosque was going to be built over-looking the site of the World Trade Center carnage — the result of an attack perpetrated terrorists who claimed to be acting in the name of Islam.
When it became clear that there was little institutionally that could be done to stop it, Sullivan started the 9/11 Hard Hat Pledge, getting his peers to refuse to work on any aspect out the mosque.
“[The pledge] was done out of desperation,” Sullivan said Tuesday on Freedom Torch. “Ever since the whole thing about the mosque came on the scene I was very concerned but I thought that between the community groups and our elected officials that this thing would be cut off at the head and we would not have to worry about it. Low and behold, how badly I was wrong. … So we were running to catch up to fight this thing.”
Sullivan said there was not much he could do other than take his opposition to the streets.
“I’m done with courts, done with hearings, and votes I am just going to go to the guy or girl I work with and say, ‘excuse me how do you feel about this issue, and if you feel like I do would you stand by my side and support not doing any work or contributing anything to the construction of that mosque in that location?’” Sullivan said. “And it was like I tapped into something that was really buried in the American psyche and all I did was unearth it and it went wild.”
Sullivan says it was a slow go at first, but he got his big break when he called into the Rush Limbaugh Show, made it on the program, and was able to reach Limbaugh’s more than 20 million listeners.
“Forget it, once Rush Limbaugh got it out there and started doing his thing with it… he turned it into a movement with a couple of phrases. Before I knew it I was getting emails and pledges from Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, Ireland,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan’s movement has garnered thousands of supporters and signatures and he continues to gather more.
While Sullivan is going strong, the mosque’s progress has stagnated in recent months. On Friday, the recently named religious leader of the Park51 community, Shaykh Abdallah Adhami, announced his departure from the project to “devote my time to the completion of my book.” His exit came less than a month after the announcement that the face of the Cordoba Initiative, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, was taking on a smaller role with the initiative, stepping down as religious leader and merely serving on the project’s board.