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. priyath


    August 3, 2010 at 1:01 am |
  2. DangerMouse

    Please do not be so foolish as to equate lack of religion with human rights violations – every major religion is guilty of murder and all sorts of other human rights violations.
    Human beings are governed by the physiological and neurological limitations that govern our perceptions and our thinking processes. If you're in a cult, consider how much more likely it is that you will think and act erratically compared to someone who has not been heavily indoctrinated in a belief system that requires no scientific facts or logic.
    In other words, being brainwashed into a political cult in China is very similar to being brainwashed into any religous cult.
    To realize you have been fooled can be very emotionally painful, so when you get a clue – you will have my full sympathy.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:00 am |
  3. priyath


    August 3, 2010 at 12:58 am |
  4. Emma the Grey

    Perhaps if you didn't consistently use English spellings, you might convince more people that you're American. Please, go sow your hatred in your own backyard.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:58 am |
  5. Some1

    What's being a trauma surgeon got to do with this?? If you were truly intelligent, you would've seen that I the analogy I used about OKC was VERY relevant given the root cause behind the horrific acts, both in NYC and OKC. McVeigh blew up the building using white supremacy and opposition to the federal govt. as his sick rationale, the islamic terrorists had the sick goal of furthering the cause of Islam by taking thousands of lives. Responding to this with a mosque in the vicinity is the SAME as showcasing white natinoalism near the OKC memorial. Tolerant or not, it is a slap in the face to common sense.

    If the guys who want to build this truly want to reach out, why not build something that caters to all religions with their money? How's that not a better bridge to non-muslims?

    August 3, 2010 at 12:57 am |
  6. A CNN Reader

    I vote NO to the mosque ... not now, not ever... They already have enough churches in NYC... This is being done for spite, plain and simple... get over it and go somewhere else... I hear the middle of Harlem is in need of a few places to pray

    August 3, 2010 at 12:56 am |
    • Emma the Grey

      Spite? What? That makes no sense at all. Who builds a swimming pool and a theater out of spite?

      August 3, 2010 at 12:59 am |
  7. Uzzi

    Rebuild the synagogues of Yathrib/Medina. Rebuild the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem where the Muslims built al Aqsa. It is known fact that Muslims build their holy shrines on the ashes of their defeated enemies' holy shrines. Read a book. Cordoba? They are referring to Muslim occupied Spain, which the apologists claim was a time of tolerance. Then why during this period of tolerance, a very short time if at all, churches were converted to mosques after the occupation? Why is Istanbul not Constantinople? What happened to the birth place of Christianity by the Turkish muslims? Converted to an Islamic temple. Read a history book. Please.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:55 am |
  8. priyath

    THEY R VERY KIND (As long as I'm interested in COVERSION)

    August 3, 2010 at 12:53 am |
    • Emma the Grey

      Dear weird English racist person who is not American, please don't bother us. Thanks.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:58 am |
  9. jonny boy

    My question to the many conservative bloggers who stepped away from the fox and drudge, no-thinkers allowed, sites: Do you still believe CNN is a leftist lamestream media source of no apparent value? With a story like this? The headline that tries to rile up right wingers who don't understand the situation and only read the headline that is inaccurate? The mosque is not supposed to be at ground zero. It's in new york, where I don't know how many separate offices and private facilities are located on the blocks between ACTUAL GROUND ZERO and the location of where the mosque is planned to sit!! I wonder if fox is running the same lamebrain story that wreaks of conservative stupidity and and ill-information. Kick every non-white person in America to the curb. I'm sure you tards wouldn't mind another useless church directly placed at ground zero. Maybe put up a state penitentiary there, but a mosque a couple blocks away is an attack on America??? I think the real unamerican people are the conservatives who forget that America is based on the idea that there is no cultural standard, no national religion, and no reason not to provide anyone, of any race or religion the ability to practice his/her faith free from the persecution of others. I hate how hypocritical conservatives are, and still feel like they are MORE American than everyone else. Step down from your invisible high horse and come to grips with reality that you are all just as American as everyone else living here, while legal or not.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:47 am |
  10. Nicole

    I don't see how you can compare white nationalists to the religion of Islam...if so, then all the world's religions should be compared to KKK memberships (which is absurd)...There are hateful people of every religion and nationality...I do not blame all Germans for the actions of the Nazis, and only a "stupid" person would make the comparison you just did. As for your questioning my intelligence, I am a trauma surgeon in my 20's...I don't have to prove my intelligence to anyone, especially you.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:37 am |
  11. JK

    It is true that respect for diversity is what makes NY such a unique and beautiful city. However, we also have a pretty good idea of what offends other people and we have the decency to avoid doing it. If I have enough IQ to understand that religious beliefs, including Islam, should be respected, then I am assuming that those who want to build this mosque have a similar level of intelligence to know that using a building so close to Ground Zero will offend a lot of people. I guess they are not shocked by the reaction, so why would they carry on with their plan? Is it absolutely necessary to build it there? Are there no buildings left in NYC where this centre can be built? I think there are plenty of spaces that would be suitable. How far should it be? I am sure that if they want to show respect to those who lost loved ones that day, they will figure out an appropriate distance.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:31 am |
    • Mitch Zoelzer

      While I respect your opinion and understand your logic behind the mosque builders respecting those people who might be offended by their action-I think there's a fundamental problem that people are offended by this in the first place.

      In today's media there is propaganda everywhere that promotes Anti-Islamic sentiment, and makes "us" fear the "other." The people who are offended by the placement of the mosque in this location arguably have irrational thoughts and sentiments about Islam. They most likely don't agree that Islam is a mostly peaceful religion, with peaceful intent, with many similar doctrines as mainstream Christianity.

      If I'm offended by black people who open businesses in my community because I believe and promote white privledge, and they know that me, and others, would be offended, should they relocate? Of course not. Because people being offended by something doesn't mean that others still can't exercise their rights. We should not be offended by a peaceful Islamic group wanting to building a mosque. We should embrace it. The fundamental question is "Why would people be offended by this?" The answer is likely very discouraging and a sign that we need to promote steps like this that show that Muslims and the West can foster a space of hope and peace, even so close to place of such tragedy. This mosque has the opportunity to be the phoenix from the ashes that shows the world, that from the ashes of the WTC there can be religious pluralism, tolerance, openness, and peace.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:44 am |
    • Emma the Grey

      Well, they're farther away than the nearest strip club to ground zero, and about the same distance as another mosque, so really, that's an issue? Should there be no places of worship near ground zero, is that your point? So only delis and strip clubs? Besides, this is a community center – pool, theater, meeting rooms, restaurants – stuff the people who live down there need.

      August 3, 2010 at 1:12 am |
  12. william

    The Koran does not mention the word LOVE once- think about it!!

    August 3, 2010 at 12:29 am |
  13. william

    Islam slices off womens ears and noses- Islam the destroyer of all that concerns compassion, tolerance – -destroy the infadels – non-believers in Islam. Make no mistake -there IS NOT any such creature as a peace loving Muslim. Read you history America- the Isalm only contribution is murder, mayhem and blood letting- their only forte.
    All mosques should be razed to the ground- Islams -deport to mid east countries where they belong.
    A muslim structure in N.Y. of all places must be the greatest insult ever – a symptom of their total disdain of decency and democracy. N.Y. mayor Bloomburg needs to live in their countries- will soon change his outlook.
    If it ever gets started lets hope it will get the same treatment mideast gives Christians – destroy it from its foundation up.
    Islam- tyhe greatest example of a species that are sub – a wired up brain missing a chip.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:26 am |
    • Mitch Zoelzer

      I sincerely hope that you don't actually believe what you wrote. It's that mentality that breeds war. That gives Muslims the desire to kill us. That shows there is little hope for reconciliation. Why are you pouring more gasoline on a raging fire? I understand that some Muslims have ill intentions, but not all. I lived and worked with a number of Muslims in College, all of them faithful practioners of the faith, and not once did they speak ill of Christianity or America. In fact they praised both.

      If you want this world to find some semblance of peace keep your inflammatory rhetoric to yourself. It's sentiments like yours that make hope for a better world, where people of all different backgrounds can live harmoniously, grow much dimmer.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:48 am |
    • Emma the Grey

      I"m guessing you have never been to the Middle East, let alone lived there. Not that that is in any way relevant to your point. Your rant is scary and un-American. If you want to deny people their freedom of religion, you will have to go through an awful lot of people who look just like you (only more attractive) to get there, because there are a lot of patriotic Americans who are willing to stand up for our values.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:56 am |
  14. Larold

    I've got it! Let them put a mosque at ground zero...the day a synagogue opens in Mecca!

    August 3, 2010 at 12:26 am |
  15. jacques

    Does everyone on this site agree that the indiduals who crashed jets into the Twin Towers are (were) evil?

    August 3, 2010 at 12:25 am |
    • Mitch Zoelzer

      No. I don't think there is such a thing as evil. They were acting to please their God. They were doing what they thought they were called to do. They thought they were doing good. I wish that the act hadn't happened, but that doesn't make it evil. It's only evil because I'm on this side and they're not. Good/Evil are relative terms that glance over the complexity of such seemingly "evil" acts.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:51 am |
    • Emma the Grey

      I do. I also think that people who kill doctors are evil, that McVeigh was evil, that the KKK is evil. So do I think that all white people or all Christians are evil? No.

      August 3, 2010 at 1:15 am |
  16. Some1

    Gimme a break! I'm no hick and I've experieced the 'isms" you're talking about. I'm not very religious either. However the idea of building a mosque next to ground zero is equivalent to opening a bookstore that only sells copies of "The Turner diaries" and flies a huge confederate flag two blocks from the OKC memorial. All in the name of freedom and tolerence?? What the hell are you smoking?

    Comparing people who oppose this ridiculous idea to the filthy lowlife terrorists does not make you tolerant, it makes you a whopping contributor to the median stupidity on the planet.

    If they truly want to build a bridge, let them contruct a building that houses floors dedicated to prayer of all faiths. Heck, throw in a floor for atheists as well. NOW THAT'S WHAT NORMAL PEOPLE CALL A BRIDGE!

    August 3, 2010 at 12:19 am |
  17. jacques

    Cordoba is the name of Spanish city conquored by the Muslems in 713 AD. Why does this group pick such a name?

    August 3, 2010 at 12:17 am |
    • benson

      because the city of corboda marked the furthest west they had pushed until now.

      August 3, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  18. Jo

    Let's build a very large, Christian cathedral in Afghanistan. And one in Iran, and one in Iraq, and one in Saudi Arabia... After all, fair is fair.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:16 am |
    • i2i

      Nice idea, but Islamic law absolutely forbids the erection of any religious structure [except a Mosque] within Saudi Arabia. Muslims are fanatical in their defense of that. However, if 'we' deny them the building of a single Mosque within the U.S., we are mocked as racist, intolerant, xenophobic, uneducated, unsophisticated, and my favorite: Christian conservative (interchangeable with Republican in most liberal circles). I am just so incredibly sick of Muslims. Sigh.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:26 am |
  19. missadr

    I'm with Bernie. The mosque is totally wrong and should be stopped. It's like spitting on the graves of the people who died that day. And it's a slap in the face of Americans. It's also going to cause more violence for sure.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:07 am |
  20. me

    Palin what a joke: 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. what in the world is she talking about

    August 3, 2010 at 12:04 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.