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July 23rd, 2010
03:34 PM ET

NY Catholic Church rejects mosque sale plan

An Islamic group would have used the convent for a mosque.

CNN's Monika Plocienniczak sent this report from New York:

A Staten Island Roman Catholic Church's board whose members include Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan backed out of a plan to sell a vacant convent to a Muslim organization on Thursday.

The Rev. Keith Fennessy, pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish on Staten Island, New York, had changed his position on selling the parish convent and in mid-May asked Dolan in a letter not to proceed with the sale.

The church declined to comment, but Fennessy, in a statement released by the Archdiocese of New York, said that "the contemplated sale would not serve the needs of the parish."

"We cannot speak on the vote because it was a private, pastor decision," said Kate Monaghan, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese.

It is also unclear whether the archbishop was present at the meeting or cast a vote. But Monaghan would confirm to CNN only that Dolan is one of the board's five members.

As pastor, Fennessy signed a contract, subject to certain requisite approvals, to sell the property to the Muslim American Society.

The Islamic group would have used the space for a mosque, the first in the South Shore area of Staten Island, said Lana Safah, a spokeswoman for the New York chapter of the group.

Reacting to the diocese's vote, she said, "We believe that it was the result of bigoted campaigning against the Muslim community."

"Conventional wisdom," said Ibrahim Ramey, the human and civil rights director for the group in Washington, D.C., "points to the toxic atmosphere created in the community, the very obvious aversion to the property being sold to Muslim Americans and suggesting (Muslim Americans) engage in extremist activity."

Fennessy's letter expresses the hope that an amicable resolution can be reached between the church and the Muslim American Society, which is already searching for a new location in the borough.

The decision comes after a proposal to build an Islamic cultural center including a mosque near the site of the September 11 attacks in Manhattan has generated much heat and protest. While some opponents have insisted they are primarily concerned about the 152-year-old building that would be adapted for the project, others have made clear that they oppose it because it would be a Muslim facility.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Houses of worship • Interfaith issues • Mosque • New York

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soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. bibi

    Why are they scared to sell? Even they sell or don't sell Islam will continue to grow! Check the web, churches are for sal in almost every state and mosques? Go check

    September 29, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  2. Boustine Susai Mariyan

    IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT THE DIOCEASE HAS AGREED TO SELL THIS TO A MUSLIM GROUP WHO WILL PROPAGATE ANTI-AMERICAN AND ANTI-CHRISTIAN VALUES.BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE MONEY THEY SHOULDNOT BE ALLOWED TO BUY.ONE SHOULD CONSIDER WHAT THEY WILL DO WITH THAT.

    October 25, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  3. AMERICAPHILE MINISTRIES

    PIAPS HAS OBVIOUSLY INSTRUCTED THE ROMAN POPE TO HAVE HIS SURROGATE IN NEW YORK INTERVENE IN THE GROUND ZERO ISLAMOFASCIST MOSQUE CONTROVERSY!!!!!!!!:

    The archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, says he would be "honored" to serve as a mediator in the ever- growing controversy over the proposed mosque hard by Ground Zero."If I can be a part, say but the word," Dolan said during an impromptu news conference.

    HOW CAN POPERY “MEDIATE” AN ISSUE WHEN THEY HAVE ALREADY PREDETERMINED THEIR ANTI-AMERICA POSITION?!?!?!?!

    PAM GELLER, DON’T FALL FOR THIS JESUITICAL PLOY!!!!!!

    IT IS NOW CLEAR TO EVEN THE CASUAL OBSERVER, THAT PIAPS IS MAKING EARLY MOVES TO ESTABLISH HER ONE-WORLD RELIGION!!!!!

    THIS WAS INDICATED BY EMMINENT SCHOLAR DR. TIM LAHAYE AS WELL!!!!!!

    WE KNOW THAT SAINT PATRICK’S TEMPLE IS ONLY 1.5 MILES AWAY FROM THE UNITED NATIONS, TO WHERE PIAPS WILL DISPATCH CLINTOON IN THE FINAL TRIBULATION PERIOD!!!!!!

    THIS MINISTRY URGES OUR NEW YORK READERS TO PRINTOUT THE MORNING AFTER TO PASS OUT TO THOSE DOING THE WORK OF FREEDOM IN PROTESTING AND DEMONSTRATING TO UPHOLD THE DIGNITY OF GROUND ZERO!!!!!

    HEY, POPE!!!! HEY, PIAPS!!!!

    YOU ARE BOTH EXPOSED!!!!!

    AMERICA--YEAH!!!!!!

    August 21, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  4. esmeralda

    were are the movie stars to take over this insane ideal. Help us keep america free. or they will take over our country like they are half way their.

    August 8, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  5. Kate

    how about we leave the catholics alone, okay? this shouldnt even be a story.

    August 6, 2010 at 1:48 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.