Joe Cammarata can't escape the controversy surrounding the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque."
Not that he's trying.
Cammarata, a NYPD officer on 9/11 whose firefighter brother died in the attacks, has plunged into the heated debate, giving a
flurry of media interviews here and in New York in preparation for the
anniversary of the attacks.
The retired policeman is visiting Miami this week to promote his new book, Face of Courage: Rise from the Rubble. But he's also here to drum up opposition to the Islamic center he calls an "insult" to his brother's memory.
"I'll be at the site on 9/11 to unite
as many people as I can in peacefully demonstrating and speaking out
against this project," Cammarata says."This radical group does not deserve to build this mosque anywhere in my country."
(Though burning a Koran will definitely not be on his 9/11 agenda, he says.)
In an interview with Riptide, Cammarata lays into the arguments in favor of the community center, one-by-one, like Hulk Hogan tearing through phone books.
First up: the fact that the building in question isn't really very near ground zero at all.
"The argument that it's two blocks from ground zero is incorrect because to me, anywhere impacted directly by the attack is ground zero," he says, noting that airplane landing gear fell through the building where the center will be built.
Next, Cammarata insists he has nothing against Islam. Nor does he have a problem with mosques already in Manhattan -- even ones near ground zero -- as long as they predate the attack.
But Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his supporters "are being very adamant about building on top of the remains of 9/11 victims," he claims.
Meanwhile, Cammarata believes that his experience -- losing his brother in the attacks and suffering from PTSD for years afterward -- gives a face to the more than two-thirds of Americans who oppose the Islamic center.
"Most people think that us protesting is just hate and disrespecting the constitution," he says.
Cammarata says the debate over the center has stirred-up painful memories and set-back his recovery from PTSD.