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. Some1

    Although its completely irrelevant here, I'll clarify for your sake that I'm not holding all muslims accountable for the acts of terrorists and also know there are a lot of peace loving muslims out there. But building a symbolic structure that represents the single religion that was used as a premise for the attacks is unacceptable. And you'd have to be incredibly naive to think that the people behind this have nothing but noble intentions of peace and harmony. Nonsense! Beneath the rhetoric of peace, there's an agenda, the promixity of this proposed structure to ground zero is trying to make a point that is anything but peaceful.

    Who're they trying to build a bridge to anyways? To folks like you who already approve of this? What's the point then? The bridge needs to be built to folks like me who do not approve and with me, they're building a chasm if they go ahead with this plan.

    The only way they'll ever build a bridge is by being inclusive, not exclusive. The idea in its current form is hardly inclusive and I'm glad you like my idea of an all-faith center.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:33 am |
  2. priyath


    August 3, 2010 at 1:33 am |
  3. sharmin

    i am mulism and come from a family for generation who have been muslim and i do not support this! this is adding salt to a wound that has not healed and that will most likely never heal. last time i checked islam was about peace, kindness, and compassion. where is the compassion for the families who lost someone they love? this is not right! as a muslim and as an American, don't build the islamic center or a mosque.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:30 am |
  4. William D

    Someone above mentioned a Ghandi quote "An eye for an eye and the world will go blind" – well Im all for an eye for an eye. Why do people think that FREEDOM OF RELIGION means that you have the freedom to build a monument to said religion that is being practiced? Why does anyone think they have the right to build one of the same religion of the terrorists so close to where the terrorist attack of said terrorists occurred?
    Point is, sure you have the right to practice and believe any and all recognized and legal religions, but you do not have the right to build a monument to any religion just because you chose to. Permits and local laws and public outcry can and usually does define that right. This may be a free country, but majority still rules, and if people do not want a reminder, why should we have a reminder so close to Ground Zero. If you think New York needs a Muslim Community Center, then put it where it belongs, at the UN Plaza Building where all nations truly can enjoy it, not where people of said religion murdered our people. As for Hiroshima, they might have Christian churches, but did anyone build one at their Ground Zero? Did Americans come and protest that it HAD to be 2 blocks away? No! They didnt, and we didnt. So please... think before speaking and acting.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:29 am |
    • Edwin

      William D: the center they are trying to build is for a completely different religion than the one the 9/11 terrorists practiced. It shares virtually no common values or core principals. The only thing it shares is the name, in the same way that the modern Republican party has little in common with the party of Lincoln except its name (nor do the Democrats share much with their predecessors of 100 years ago).

      Do not condemn real muslims because crazed terrorists decided to call themselves muslim, too.

      August 3, 2010 at 2:48 am |
  5. Khalid

    William- Christianity, Judaism and Islam all derive from the old testament. They share many of the same prophets and have many similarities. There is no need to be divisive.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:28 am |
  6. DangerMouse

    All you people with religious beliefs had better sit down and consider how the real world works and how your belief system fits in, rather than the other way around, like you've been doing.
    But then that's almost impossible for someone deep inside a cult, isn't it?

    August 3, 2010 at 1:27 am |
  7. Butch

    Why don't the panel approve a building that can be a site for a number of religions - such as Christian Church, Jews, Budist church, Hindu, Muslim, etc? Building a mosque near the center is a political gesture victory for the Muslim terrorists....

    August 3, 2010 at 1:26 am |
  8. priyath


    will be funding $100 million to build a MOSQUE in vatican


    August 3, 2010 at 1:26 am |
    • DangerMouse

      Priyath, would you please say something?

      August 3, 2010 at 1:30 am |
  9. George

    Muslims are taught that they must lie and put on a false face to move among the infidel.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:24 am |
  10. George

    Just look at the life in Muslim countries. They will cut off your hands, your nose, cut out your tongue, stone you to death, behead you, and all without benefit of evidence of guilt. These are sick primitive people, and every one of them should be back there in that stupid desert herding camels. But they are not. Insist of your government that all further immigration of Muslims to America be ceased. Forget freedom of religion, because it isn't a religion.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:22 am |
    • castmembersonly


      August 3, 2010 at 3:43 am |
  11. priyath

    MUSLIM READING THE QURAN : !@#$%^&*()_+
    metalic noices come(like a kitchen knife) CHOP and a scream
    INFIDEL(MUSLIM) : !@#$%^&*()_+

    August 3, 2010 at 1:21 am |
    • Edwin

      prlyath: I imagine you are about 13 or 14 years old, playing at being a grown up. I hope as you get more mature you come to understand that creating fear and hatred is not funny.

      There is real discussion going on here. Let the grown ups talk, and go sit at the table for babies.

      August 3, 2010 at 2:51 am |
  12. william

    Islam is NOT a religion. – fact. Islam is a system aimed to domineering the world. Their so called Allah is not God.
    Allah is a false god – the moon god. – still believe in it?

    August 3, 2010 at 1:18 am |
    • Northern

      I don't care what Religion people are. They are all wrong. They all can hate the other and are no better than anyone else. But all are not worthy of having any recognition within sight of the public eye. The very people they judge and condemn on a daily basis.

      August 3, 2010 at 1:21 am |
  13. Butch

    Building bridges? Muslim countries are beheading, stoning and brutalizing their own people, deprive their people from freedom of speech, religion, individual rights, etc. Women are considered second class and now they are playing the game of "building bridges." It's a political ideology custom made for thugs.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:18 am |
  14. Northern

    All Religious people should be confined to their houses when practicing their Religion. None are worthy of having any structures built in any public places. Religion is like a cancer. We need to contain them ALL.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:17 am |
    • Steve

      NORTHERN: "All Religious people should be confined to their houses when practicing their Religion. None are worthy of having any structures built in any public places. Religion is like a cancer. We need to contain them ALL."

      I feel ya bro, where's "Kristallnacht" when you really need it eh? You and me should go together on some desert property and start setting up some ahhhh..."re-education" camps!

      August 3, 2010 at 2:21 am |
  15. Khalid

    Samantha, your claims are false Muslims do not hate america. How can you make such a general blanket statement do you
    realize that you are talking about 1.6 billion people??

    August 3, 2010 at 1:13 am |
  16. priyath


    ANSWRE :


    August 3, 2010 at 1:11 am |
  17. Nicole

    The reason I say your analogy isn't relevant is because white nationalism and timothy McVeigh both promote hate...that's the base upon which white nationalism is built upon. The only way your analogy can be made relevant is if all of Islam is represented by the fundamentalist terrorists we are all so familiar with. I doubt you really believe that...If you do, then like I said before, it would be likened to holding all Germans accountable for a few deranged ones during WWII which I personally do not believe is right. Also, there are innocent muslims out there who do not believe in killing, etc. I think you would agree that terrorists did the exact opposite of promoting Islam for the aforementioned innocent Muslims.
    Having said all that, I actually like your idea of an all faith center...

    August 3, 2010 at 1:07 am |
  18. priyath


    August 3, 2010 at 1:07 am |
  19. samantha

    Any political person who votes for or approves this mosque, should be voted out, this is a disgrace. There does not need to be a mosque anywhere near ground zero, the muslims hate americans, they killed 3,000 of our citizens. maybe we should go to the middle east and put up a ton of christian learning centers.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:04 am |
    • Emma the Grey

      Samantha: Muslims are Americans. Jews are Americans. Christians are Americans. Atheists are Americans. Wiccans are Americans. Hindus are Americans. What is your problem?

      August 3, 2010 at 1:08 am |
  20. Khalid

    Well said Mitch. Fear and ignorance is a lethal combination when embraced by anyone.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:02 am |
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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.