August 2nd, 2010
06:27 PM ET

NY panel to vote on landmark status for ground zero mosque site

By Allan Chernoff, CNN Senior Correspondent

New York (CNN) - The building slated to house a proposed Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero leads Tuesday's agenda for a meeting of New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The 11 commissioners will vote whether to grant landmark status to 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 Ground Zero.

Watch the commission's vote now on CNN.com Live

While the public vote has been the focus of much debate about the planned Islamic center and mosque, the commission cannot prevent the developers from building such a community center. The commission, by designating the building a landmark, can only prevent Soho Properties from demolishing the building or significantly altering its exterior.

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

Cordoba opposes 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," tweeted Palin last month on her Twitter account.

The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that battles anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, is asking for the Islamic center and mosque to be built further 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," said the organization in a statement.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission points out its decision has 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 a Burlington Coat Factory retailer, 45-47 Park Place was completed in 1858. The Landmarks Commission describes 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' • Islam • New York • Politics • United States

soundoff (702 Responses)
  1. antoine

    why thhey want to build their mosque in this particular location except testing our limits of tolerance?
    Hence without using any violence, let's send them a clear no message . If they feel persecuted it's to bad, they left their countries because they were looking for brighter future for them and for their kids hence they have to embrace our culture and integrate our society.

    September 7, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
  2. Sam Kawe

    4 U who agree with the plan 4 building this center, U r an optimistic fool to trustful n hopeful for peace, that U only see this through the eye of moeslim people in general.
    What U should do is seeing it through the terorrist eye, unlike other moeslim they would see it as achievement that would motivate them to do more damage.

    Freedom without scrutiny are the reason Americans evrywhere an easy target for convertion.

    August 17, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  3. jenny

    The most stupid leader Bloomberd and Obama to support terrorism. Did they see around the world what they moslem people did, learn from the past so many terrorism attack in usa. what a stupid they are.......

    August 16, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  4. Rachel D.

    Me again. If anyone would like a little more insight into what it is like in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and what is REALLY going on there, please read "Three Cups of Tea" and "Stones into Schools" by Greg Mortenson – 3 Cups of Tea is now required reading for US State Dept officials and Greg Mortenson has been a consultant to many of the top US Generals in command of the War in Afghanistan. He is probably the most knowledgeable American there is on the region and what is going on there. Read and you will understand. Better yet, here is a link to his interview on Bill Moyer's Journal:


    this is a great and very enlightening interview.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:02 am |
  5. Rachel D.

    Let them build the mosque! I think it is a great idea! Ground Zero, where this terrible tragedy occurred is still suffering from the trauma from this heartbreaking event. I believe prayer is healing, and at a mosque they pray 5 times a day. Just for the record I am American and was raised non denominational Christian, but I believe Islam is a true religion, and a religion of peace. If you read about Mohamed you will see what I mean. I had a friend in college, a foreign student from Malaysia who was Muslim, born and raised. She was one of the most intelligent, lovely, understanding, peaceful and tolerant people I ever knew. If you knew her you would know that someone like her would never hurt another human being.

    To those who quote sections of the Koran that say "slay the infidels" and think that this shows that Islam teaches violence, I say – those things are metaphors for resisting evil within oneself within one's own mind, resisting anything that turns one away from God. That is what that means. It is unfortunate that these things are misinterpreted, and used to justify human negative emotions such as resentment and anger, as terrorists groups have done. The Judeo Christian heritage has teachings like that too that instruct to resist evil and it uses subtle metaphors that can seem to say turn away or fight against this group or that group. They aren't easy to understand.

    Anger is what caused 9/11, not the Islamic religion. There is too much anger in the world. Even the anger directed at people who express anger about the mosque isn't really helpful. Think about what Mahatma Gandhi accomplished in India, something that no one has ever accomplished in the world. He freed India from British Rule by a movement of non violence, resistance to evil and adherence to truth without anger, which turned out to be a more powerful force than violent resistance which had failed over and over. What that does is dissolve the anger or violence in the other person, because there is no place for that anger to go. He considered himself a Hindu, a Christian and a Muslim. He actually studied different religions and put a great deal of thought into understanding their philosophies. He did not just accept things lightly because it was the popular thing to do. The guy was definitely not a mindless follower of the pack to say the least. If a man like that believed there was meaning in Islam, I think he might know something about it. If we want a more peaceful world we need to understand the reality behind this way of thinking. We need to have more understanding and tolerance toward one another. Building a mosque is a great tribute to that purpose. It would also be great if more churches or Temples would be built for the same purpose in the area. I believe that improving our understand would move us into much better and more peaceful age.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  6. DeMarco

    YES, they have a constitutional right to build this center/mosque, which is not the point no matter how many times supporters for the center keep repeating it. Iis it the right thing to do?

    1. Its not a Muslim neighborhood, so there is no unmet community need.
    2. The Imam doesn't recognize Hamas as terrorists.
    3. Their stand on Sharia law lacks clarity.
    4. There's a lack of financial transparency for the $100 million project are all very troubling.
    5. The media keeps reporting that the Imam says hes a nice guy during interviews, as if he would tell them he is a terrorist if asked during an interview. Its the most naive reporting Ive ever seen.
    6 and yes there is a sensitivity issue and always will be. People dont forget those who murder a loved one no matter if its by a gun, a drunk driver, or flying a plane into a tower. It's not happening and its wrong to insist they do. Its insensitive of the people building it there to believe that they should be the ones to shut up and deal with it.

    They want to be respected, they should show a little respect too.

    August 11, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  7. anna

    To those who claim we must show religious tolerance and allow this mosque to be built. What does one do when we show tolerance to a religion that not only intolerates our faith but will murder us over it?? The quran clearly states muslims objectives. The quran tells 'beleiver's 'let not the unbeleiver take friend's or helper's (infidels) rather than beleiver's; if any do that, in nothing will there be help from allah. Koran 5:33 Slay the infidels (you and me) where ever you find them and take THEM CAPTIVE and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush..koran 9:5..Koran also teaches infidel's should be MURDERED OR CRUCIFIED or their hand's and feet should be cut off on opposite sides' Koran 8:12 tells muslims 'I will INSTILL TERROR into the heart's of the unbeliever's,smite them above their necks and smite all their finger' tips off them'. Another 'peaceful instruction..'whoever changes his islamic religion;KILL HIM. To those who declare islam is peaceful..you are horribly decieved! The entire purpose of islam and yes this applys to moderate muslims as well.. is to conquer the world for allah. Beleive you me should islam take root in usa..it's all over for those who refuse to give up their faith..it's death for the unbeleiver. What amazes me are all those who would rather ber politically correct rather than seek the truth about this religion. The fruit of these 'beleiver's' is horrific..muslims glory in death..they center their entire belief system around death.. Before you guy's declare 'islam as peaceful' please do your research...don't take any one's word for this 'peaceful religion'. There are phot's after photo's of muslim father's proudly showing their small children dressed up as suicide bomber's..research the west bank and the gaza strip. And how can one claim their faith is peaceful after they 'kill their own children' to restore family honour?? What honour could possibly come from wholesale murder???? I just heard on the new's last night of a little 7 year old afganistan boy who was accused of 'spying'. The taliban hung him. The muslims have a rule for lying and decieving..it's called Taqiyya..This mean's they can claim they come in peace when in fact their motive is to destroy you ..well actually it means that allah is pleased if his follower's lie through their teeth for the advancement of the islamic religion.Don't turn your back nor fall for their deception ppl.

    August 10, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  8. Elitesack

    The Americans gobble this distraction up like a dog eating kibbles and bits.

    August 8, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
  9. Lalalalala

    Let them build it... then we can fly a remote controlled plane into it just like we did... ooops.

    August 4, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  10. Juan Tamad

    You just can't FIX STUPID no matter how hard you try.

    August 4, 2010 at 5:35 am |
  11. philip

    When it opens on Sept 11 and they will rejoice world wide. it will become there day to show the world how tolerant they are.
    I don't care really about this. I care about all the families that lost love ones that day I also care about all the armed forces that have die for us who went to war to defend our country to keep us safe. Shame on NYC and there officials WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. In ten years it will be like London full of muslims preaching in the parks and in the streets lower NY
    will be changed for ever. Americans will be to scared to exercise there right to free speech because today is the day we lost
    it america sleep well.

    August 4, 2010 at 1:15 am |
  12. ABC

    FACT: There are more people convert to ISLAM now than to any other religion.

    August 3, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
    • Juan Tamad

      That just means there are a LOT OF STUPID PEOPLE, and you just can't FIX STUPID!

      August 4, 2010 at 5:45 am |
    • DeMarco

      yeah, and most of them are in prison.

      August 11, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  13. Ray, Ph.D.

    Please listen. Put a mosque IN and ON Ground Zero. Hate has to end. Remind us what barbarianism does to anybody. We all lose. There are just as many good muslims as there are of anyone else. Teach the United States to join the world. The new mosque would remind us all of the opportunity to join together. We've got one planet.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
    • Juan Tamad

      What planet are you from PhD Ray? Have you ever been in the Middle East? I'm here in Assckrackistan right now, and when I see how misogynistic these people are, I often ask myself why are we here again? We ain't changing them. You can't FIX STUPID. I wish you could here how the SAUDIS talk about Americans (I lived there), Same with the Kuwaitis (a country that we helped when they ALL ran away like the cowards that they are from the IRAQI invasion), they speak ill of Americans and treat our military in Kuwait like 2nd class citizens. As if we owe them for even being in their piece of shiite country. WE DON'T have to adapt to these idiot muslims. WE HAVE OUR OWN CULTURE IN THE US. IF THEY COME THERE (COZ WE LET THEM) THEY SHOULD ABIDE BY OUR RULES AND OUR CULTURE. JUST LIKE HOW EVERY SLAVE THAT WORKS IN THE MIDDLE EAST HAS TO ABIDE BY THEIR MUSLIM TRADITION.

      August 4, 2010 at 5:42 am |
  14. Awan Umer

    @ Anuj : Thats what i clarified dear , Islam never teaches a Muslim to kill an innocent . Islam never teaches to kill one who is peaceful with you. Islam teaches to fight against cruels who dont want you (muslim) live peacefully. So dear please dont state things and do not pose things to islam if you dont know islam,ic teachings . Because who so ever is familiar with islamic teachings he is well familiar with the fact that Islam emphasis on saving humanity . Thats what written in our holy book "Quran" and thats what our beloved prophet taught us.

    Else all are mis conceptional things and thoughts about a true muslim and Islam . You cant blame islam or you cant blame all muslims if some illiterate cruel say themselves muslim and if they wrongly say that the terror they are spreading all over the world is "killing of non-muslims" according to the teaching of islam . Islam never teaches us to fight against non-muslims untill and unless they are destrotying your peace .

    August 3, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  15. Zainab

    No one cuts off anyone else's heads in Yemen .. I have lived here for a year. I am an American citizen and I am completely safe. Stop watching movies and tuning into Fox.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
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About this blog

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.