The Letter Councilman Bill DeSteph sent to New York City officials last week objecting to plans for a Muslim community center near the World Trade Center site is almost identical to an online petition by a political advocacy group.
The organization, ACT! for America, is run by Brigitte Gabriel, the mother of DeSteph's girlfriend, a college student. DeSteph and his wife are separated.
Gabriel is an "expert on global terrorism" who speaks against radical Islam, according to her website.
"Brigitte helped me write the letter. The first one I drafted wasn't as clear as I wanted," DeSteph said.
DeSteph said he decided to write to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council after people in Virginia Beach complained to him about the Muslim center plan. (More)