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August 3rd, 2010
10:14 AM ET

Panel denies landmark status for Islamic center and mosque site near ground zero

From CNN Senior Correspondent Allan Chernoff in New York:

New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission denied landmark status Tuesday for a building at the site of a proposed Islamic center and mosque near ground zero.

The commissioners voted unanimously against landmark status for 45-47 Park Place. It and an adjoining building are owned by real estate developer Soho Properties, which intends to build an Islamic center two blocks north of the former site of the World Trade Center.

While the public vote was the focus of much debate about the planned Islamic center and mosque, the commission could not have prevented the developers from building such a community center. The commission, by designating the building a landmark, could only have prevented Soho Properties from demolishing the building or significantly altering its exterior.

There is a prayer site in the building currently, so Muslims are peacefully praying in the building already.

"We will continue going forward with the project. It's a project that will build bridges," said Oz Sultan, spokesman for the Cordoba Initiative, the organization behind the planned center. It says the group is "committed to promoting positive interaction between the Muslim world and the West."

Cordoba opposed landmark status for the five-story building because it would like to build a taller, modern building. "It's not minarets," said Sultan, who described a mock-up of the proposed center as consistent with the latest architecture found in New York City.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other city leaders support the Islamic center.

Opponents, including former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, have argued against a mosque being so close to the scene of the nation's worst terrorist attack.

"Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing," Palin said last month on her Twitter account.

The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that battles anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, is asking that the Islamic center and mosque be built farther away from ground zero in consideration of families who lost loved ones during the September 11, 2001, attacks.

"Building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain - unnecessarily - and that is not right," the organization said in a written statement.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission pointed out prior to its decision that it would have nothing to do with the planned use of the structure.

"The purpose of tomorrow's vote is to decide whether the building has a special character or special historical or aesthetic interest or value as part of the development, heritage or cultural characteristics of New York City, New York state or the nation," commission spokeswoman Elisabeth de Bourbon said Monday.

Most recently the home of a Burlington Coat Factory retailer, 45-47 Park Place was completed in 1858. The Landmarks Commission described it as "a prominent example of the store and loft structures that dominated the dry goods warehouse districts of Lower Manhattan" during the era.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Houses of worship • Interfaith issues • Islam • Mosque • Muslim • New York • United States

soundoff (1,819 Responses)
  1. Jacob Mathews

    I think most of the muslims should be so thankful that they are living in such a great country they get a chance to build a mosque and folllow their faith. God Bless America for that. Did you see the cheering faces of the folks in the middle east during the 9/11 attack? Can anyone tell me why they reacted in that way? Do you know what religion they believed in?

    August 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • Syed

      Yes Jacob. We really are grateful. We are able to pray without fear and that is a great thing about this country.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
    • tolerant

      Have you forgotten the massive rally in Iran in support of America after 911? Cheery faces of the Muslims after 911 is a myth.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
    • B

      That's logical thinking, Jacob. Because the terorrists responsible for 9/11 happened to be a certain religion, everyone else in the world who follows that same religion should be punished. Idiot.

      In Los Angeles, thousands of Bloods have been killed by many Crips – who are Christian. I guess, by your logic, we should ban Christian churches in Los Angeles then.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  2. ProudMarineMOM

    AMEN TO THAT ! ! !

    August 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  3. Syed

    You guys really believe everything you write? seriously. I am a muslim and I hated the 9/11 incident. I felt bad about the human loss. I seriously believe those guys were going against the teaching of Islam. There is too much hatred in this world and really we need to get along before things really go out of control.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  4. kickass

    Islam is the only religion that does not condemn people to Hell for not being Muslim instead we cut your head off slowly with a dull knife in front of a camera while we sing GOD IS GREAT!!! 9 year old christan girls heads thrown on the catholic church steps is the product of a PEACEFULL RELIGION? Eivl is on the rise all it takes for EVIL to succede is for good men to do nothing
    wake up the american sleeping giant God wants you to go to war!

    August 3, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  5. 3afif

    So we are now associating all of Islam with 911, the supposed work of a few fanatics. In that case, I suggest that no more churches be built in Oklahoma within 100 miles of the site of the Timothy Mcvay bombing!!!! fair is fair. πŸ™‚

    August 3, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
    • cody

      Christians did not dance in the streets when Mcveigh did his crap. Muslims did on 9/11

      August 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • spado

      McVeigh was not religious. He was an anti-government lone wolf who was angry about the deaths of David Koresch and his sect, but not a member of that sect or any other organized religion. These kinds of equivalencies with Christianity are absurd. Jesus did not preach for conversion at the point of a sword. Christian ethics of freewill and equality of all people is the foundation of our Democratic free society. There are NO free Islamic societies in the entire world. They are oppressive and the opposite of what we hold dear as a nation.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
    • tolerant

      To cody: That's a myth. Have you forgotten the massive rally in Iran in support of America after 911? Iran, of all places!

      August 3, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • Ben

      "Muslims did on 9/11"

      No. They didn't. Your statement implies ALL MUSLIMS danced. This is a lie and you know it. So clearly it isn't Islam that causes people to support those actions. It is hatred of America. Do you know WHY they hate America? Or are you so uninformed you don't know our 60 year history of global hegemony? Do you even know what "hegemony" means?

      August 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
    • cody

      Ben, you assumed I meant ALL muslims. Your statement implies that no muslims danced on 9/11, which you know is a lie blah blah blah.

      And yes I know what hegemony means and America has no dominance over any other country, not even Iraq or Afghanistan. They make their own decisions.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
    • Ben

      My statement in no ways implies what you suggest. You clearly are not intelligent enough to hold a valid opinion on this subject. Educate yourself and stop talking, please. It is just embarrassing otherwise.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  6. cody

    When someone decides to burn this mosque to the ground I will be the first dancing in the streets πŸ™‚

    August 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
    • tolerant

      So, you are condoning violence and terrorism against a religious minority?

      August 3, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
    • cody

      Yes, as muslims did on 9/11.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
    • tolerant

      I have notified CNN of abuse as you are promoting violence and terrorism against a religious minority. Let's see if they take action.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  7. Jacob Mathews

    These are the list of intolerant muslim countries that does not recongnize any other religion than their own. They put you behind bars for carrying a bible with you. Below are some of the countries that do that and they are muslim countries.
    Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Muscat, Malayasia

    Here is another list of countries that does not give visa for religious workers.
    Afghanistan
    Algeria
    Bahrain
    Brunei
    Egypt
    Iran
    Iraq
    Jordan
    Kuwait
    Libya
    Maldives
    Morocco
    Oman
    Palestine
    Qatar
    Saudi Arabia
    Syria
    Turkmenistan
    United Arab Emirates
    Uzbekistan
    Yemen

    August 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
    • Ben

      "They are intolerant therefore we should be too."

      -Jacob Mathews

      August 3, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
    • tolerant

      So, are you saying that America, a model pluralistic and democractice society, should follow these Muslim countries and be as ignorant and repressive as they are?

      August 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • InFormed

      Stupid is as stupid does. From the sounds of some people here, the USA should be added to the list also.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
    • Ken

      So? Are they trying to build something in these countries? I thought we were talking about NYC?

      Are we supposed to fight intolerance by being intolerant?
      The first amendment is there for everyone in the U.S.!

      August 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  8. Jersey George

    Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, was a Roman Catholic. Perhaps any catholic churches near that ground zero site should be razed and re-built elsewhere. No? Oh I get it, Christianity is the "one and only real religion" while other religions are
    garbage.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
    • spado

      bogus argument. McVeigh did not commit his acts in the name of Catholicism. He was not particularly religious. He was anti-government. It would be very offensive to the people who died in OKC bombing to place anti-government apologist literature at the site, would you agree?

      August 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
    • Ben

      And 9/11 wasn't done for religious reasons. They specifically stated the political reasons for it and the objectives they wished to accomplish in rallying the world against US hegemony.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  9. Allow

    Building this Mosque will only lead to more violence. The American people are still very emotional about 9/11 and rightly so. Everyone wants to feel safe in their own neighborhood. I don't see that building this mosque will bring anything but retaliation and worse possible more death. There are plenty of other locations to place a mosque, why is it so important to put it here? This is not an effort to build bridges, it is an effort to put even a bigger wedge beween people. There are thousands of reasons (look at the list of victims) not to build there and not one legit reason to put the mosque in that location. I am sure that there are property owners that would be willing to exchange property to help this situation end without more violence. I can almost quarantee that the mosque will never operate. Each time it starts being built damage will occur and people will be either hurt or arrested and the cycle will continue over and over again.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
  10. Fed up

    THIS is what America has come to. What the heck is going on with our country? First Obama and now this!

    August 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
    • Facts

      Clearly you believe America only belongs to you and your white friends. Take your KKK ideology elsewhere.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • mary

      @facts,
      Your response is a clear indicator of the mind set of those who want this mosque..Your comment was based on hate.
      People need to see clearly the mind set of those that are for this mosque..

      August 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
    • Facts

      @Mary

      Yes, go ahead and apply my personal opinion blindly on an entire group of people. I don't have to take absurd statements seriously, and I'm "fed up" myself with dumb people rallying around dumb ideology like this.

      If bigots don't want Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc in America, well... TOO BAD.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  11. pat

    There were many Muslims and Hindus who worked there and lost their lives in the World Trade Center, too. We should not be fighting a religious war here in the United States. All Muslims are not terrorists. They have been worshipping in that building for 10 years with no problems and there is no reason to think they won't be as peaceable in the future. I hope idiots don't decide to cause them trouble. Religious freedom was the basis for our country's founding.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • Ken

      Hear, Hear.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
    • Reality

      Pat,

      You say all Muslims are not terrorists. How do you know since all Muslims follow the koran that preachers terror as means to achieve the Islamic goal of world domination.

      e.g.

      8:59-60 β€œLet not the unbelievers think that they can get the better (of the godly): they will never frustrate (them). Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of God and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom God doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of God, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly.”

      Another translation makes this plain – β€œThe infidels should not think that they can get away from us. Prepare against them whatever arms and weaponry you can muster so that you may terrorize them.”

      August 3, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  12. Jemes

    Ground Zero Mosque is a slap on the face of tolerance. A victory for Islamists. At first a moderate outside, which is in fact a musk of disguising the militant inside. Question is can a quasi religious-political movement such as Islam can ever be moderate. Those who say yes, should read history. Moderate face of Islam is only to exploit the western value of tolerance and get a foothold. Ultimately extremists and radicals take over, because majority of Muslims are fundamentalist and hate west. The big question is when you have mosque already 12 blocks away from the ground zero that can readily serve your intent to show tolerance, why do you need another 2 blocks away? According to a philosophy of an established civilization, pride in any form is dangerous. Even pride in tolerance. Some time there has to be intolerance for greater good of humanity. After all what are who are we supporting or facilitating. A medieval religions that spews venom to pagans, Hindus, Jews, Christians, Atheists and keep half of its population under Hijab. The decision to grant permission to build this Islamic center is a slap on the face of tolerance.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  13. mary

    When the world laughs and calls American's "stupid"...We have now proven them right.
    Having freedom of religion in America, means simply that people may practice their religion..It does not include allowing religion the freedom of blatantly placing a building square on the site of the worst act of terrorism the United States has known, in the name of that religion.
    We 'are 'Stupid... .And we are all too willing to help these people prove it.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • Facts

      "square on the site". How closely do you actually follow the news?

      August 3, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
    • mary

      @Facts...
      People like you are the last to "get it".... People like you are the ones who cry the loudest when your namby pamby ways get you the worst of the deal.. it's about respect..Nothing else..
      If you don't demand it , you won't get it..And when your walked over, don't cry. You asked for it, in fact helped them do it.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
    • Ben

      You telling others they don't "get it" is a freaking joke.

      You are so clearly uninformed I presume you're simply incapable of understanding why you're wrong even if I spelled it out for you.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  14. spado

    Yeah but, there's still that whole thing about Islamic terrorist killing 3000 innocent people in cold blood in the name of Allah. Do you think people would be objecting to a mosque on some street in Manhattan if this were not the case? This is not a civil rights issue, it is an issue of common decency and respect for those who mourn the loss of loved ones and who find it abhorrent to have what appears to be memorial to the belief system that fueled the attacks built on the graves of those who died there.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  15. JohnQuest

    Why are people comparing the American system of law with the Middle East system of law? That is the main reason that the US is a great country, to compare the two systems sounds like these people want to live under the Middle East system

    August 3, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  16. das0522

    typical NYC liberals

    August 3, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  17. NeoPat

    Just to be clear

    The appropriate action to take is to prevent tax paying citizens from building on private property because of their religious beliefs? And the justification for this is that other countries, who are regarded as bad, would do that? A building that is, in fact, already used for that religious purpose and has been for some time? Just out of curiosity, if the problem is the proximity to the 9/11 bomb site, what would be "right" distance?

    How about 6942 miles?

    August 3, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  18. zeb

    @rahul. hindus r not as peace loving as they sound do u have any answer for that hideous cast system u have in ur country. every body knows about the widows being burnt down to ashes with their husbands bodies n how they r kicked out of their houses with their heads shaven once they become widows by their very own children, n how about those poor brides burnt to death by their in laws for not bringing a big dowry. stop it now rahul and rimjim and n the likes of u because i have a huge record of ur atrocities. go n worship and lick red butts monkeys (moankies) and scurrying stnking rats yuk!

    August 3, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
    • Reality

      zeb,

      So somehow the actions of Hindus allows Islamics to bring added horror to the world with assassinations and suicide bombings?

      August 3, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  19. andy

    I have news for you all, Muslims were working in the world trade center and they died also. This is just another case of misdirected anger. The Fascists were Christians, so there should never be any Christian Churchs around Holocost sites? If you want this needless killing to end, quit throwing stones.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
    • Reality

      andy,

      We throw stones all the time. If we did not, there would be no penal codes and punishment for wrongdoers. Islam's koran dictates wrongdoing in its call for domination of the world by any means and it is time to "boulderize" the horror of Islam!!!!

      August 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  20. Mother of 3

    I thibnk this is wrong!!...there must be lots of places in the city where this building can take place and not so close to the former World Trade Center site!!

    August 3, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
    • Ben

      Considering this is one of the most densely populated cities on the planet and given the size requirements of their facility... no... there really aren't many options when the purpose is to serve the Muslim community in the surrounding area.

      You know almost 1,000 muslims died on 9/11, right?

      August 3, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
    • InFormed

      Hope you feel as strongly when a Catholic Church is built next to a school, after all they abuse children. Wake up and smell your own hypocrisy.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
    • Anonymous

      @Ben
      I'm not against this Mosque, necessarily, but on another note where'd you get your numbers? 1000 muslims? out of ~3000 total? that doesn't sound right.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • InFormed

      What about the 4 strip clubs (I just checked the map) that are all within a few blocks of ground zero? Would you care as much if the building was being converted into a strip joint? Does that respect the people who died any better? Wake up and smell your own hypocrisy.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
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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.