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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. Diane

    Hmmm.....Killing in the name of religion. I believe that already happened BIG TIME, it was called the CRUSADES. Come on now and stop all the bigotry, which is fueled by pure ignorance and (Fox News LOL) and start educating yourself more before you spout off ridiculous rants against Muslims or other religions foreign to your beliefs. Maybe travel abroad instead of just your bi-annual trek to Disney. I am a well traveled American and believe that everyone should hold a passport expand their horizons. Have you visited a local mosque or talked to any of your muslim nieghbors, ever?

    August 3, 2010 at 2:33 am |
  2. Edwin

    Bernie: you are so completely wrong. It was not muslims who blew up the WTC, but extremist terrorists. They have more in common with people like the Irish Republican Army (a Christian Terrorist organization) than they do with normal muslims.

    Terrorists win when we let them control our lives. You want them to win by letting fear and ignorance control your life.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:31 am |
  3. Khalid

    Sherif,very well put.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:31 am |
  4. Edwin

    Have you read the parts of the Bible where they kill pregnant women and children?

    Or are you so convinced that Christianity is good and Islam is evil that you don't care?

    August 3, 2010 at 2:27 am |
  5. NSWG1

    For those of you “FOR” this Satanic place of worship, you are obviously no Patriot of this country! You have never served her to defended the Freedoms for which makes her the best country on this planet so you have no idea what she means. You intend to destroy her from within using our own justice systems and elected paid off officials who also have never served. I have studied Islam for 20+yrs now and know that no mater what name they tag this building with it is still a the Muslim triumphant Mosque, Reference the following;
    "...The whole Earth has been made a mosque and pure for me...." (Bukhari).
    "The foundation stone of the Renaissance of Islam and a superior world order have been laid. Now mosques will be built and people will enter therein, and join the divine movement in droves". (Noor Ul Haq Vol 2, p. 42).
    "And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me". (51:57).
    "If you want Islam to progress build a mosque. Wherever our Jamaat is established, a mosque should be built. Our Jama'ats progress is founded on the construction of mosques. If there are only a few Muslims in a village or a city, build a mosque with good intentions and God will bring more Muslims to that place. It is not mandatory that the mosque be embellished or be a brick building. Wall off a piece of land and build a room with a thatched roof..." (Malfoozat Vol 2, p. 42)
    “Jamaat” is a form of jihad (today’s word is Terrorism) against all other religions not following Islam or accepting Islam as the only true religion.
    READ BOOKS and you too can learn the truth.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:24 am |
  6. Sherif

    I'm glad that everyone is having a healthy discussion. Just a couple of things I wanted to reiterate, most of which has already been mentioned.

    First and foremost, I ask all of you to give the majority of us Americans who happen to be muslims that are peace loving the tools we need to battle these extremist hate mongers. I agree with you that if I saw things from your perspective, our religeon does look like a religeon of hate, intolerance, extremism. The biggest sin that most of us muslims have committed is not speaking loudly enough against those who act that way. The irony is that when islam came about, it stopped alot of these very things that are being practiced in those cultures....mistreating women, killing people, ruling by the sword. When Islam truly was practiced the way it was meant to be practiced, true Islamic nations were a source of learning, innovation, enlightenment. Unfortunately, things have slipped back to the pre islamic times in many of those countries, and those in power there try to maintain there power by using religeon in their own perverse interpretation to control the masses.

    Prominent Islamic thinkers who came to the west in the past century made remarkable statements about the west....They said we see here Islam without Muslims, whereas back in our home countries we have Muslims without Islam. That's what attracted my family 3 generations ago to come to the west, because they felt true Islam is practiced here without it even being realized.

    We have so much in common with Christians and Jews that it is blasphemous for those crazy extremists to call these people of the book non-believers. When we get past the ideology, and get to the true meaning of religeon, we all have the same ideals...we all follow the Ten Commandments that were revealed to Prophet Moses by God.

    This site in NYC is an attempt by those of us who are moderate to say we want to show you more than anything else in the world that we are part of the same fabric of life in this great country of ours. We are all one, with the same God Loving ideals that we all share.
    If we succeed in coming together...we will put the fear of God into those extremists who call themselves muslims because we'll show them that they are wrong in every sense of the word. Remember, according to them, even I have a price on my head...so brother, we're all in this together.

    GOD BLESS AMERICA

    August 3, 2010 at 2:23 am |
    • DangerMouse

      You know, I don't care much for liars.
      And before you reply using "hurt" tones in your post, let me remind you, if you haven't caught on yet, that I am against all the major religions, so it's not really personal in that respect. It's just personal in that I am seeing this "two-faced" lying thing that I usually see in other places...in *your* post.

      You are trying to avoid being held accountable for your actions. This is a regrettably normal human response.
      But I condemn you just the same.
      Now it's my turn to be condemned...go ahead and give it a shot....Sherif.

      August 3, 2010 at 2:51 am |
    • FrankLW

      That would be a whole lot more convincing if the Quran was not so fraught with the advocacy of violence against many who do not accept it.
      It would also help if Muslims unequivocally condemned specific terror groups, like the Hamas.
      And it wouldn't hurt if Muslims lent their absolute support for law enforcement instead of protesting ethnic profiling.
      If Muslims also did not employ ambiguous language like condemning violence to "innocents", meaning innocent Muslims, or condemning "oppression", meaning oppression of violent Jihadists, that would help too.
      Muslim leaders providing rationales for terrorist acts, even if they "condemn" them does not help much either...

      August 3, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  7. Khalid

    Priyath there are horrible atrocities committed in the name of religion for centuries but they go against the very meaning
    of religion and compassion for others. Do not perpetuate that kind of hatred or it all becomes a vicious cycle. I believe in
    the goodness of people of all walks of life.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:12 am |
    • DangerMouse

      If you believe in the goodness of all peoples, why are you here?
      You know, Khalid, the more I look at your posts, the more sure I am that you are lying through your teeth.
      You appear to acknowledge that these evil things have been done, yet you want no accountability for your religion.
      How typical.

      August 3, 2010 at 2:39 am |
  8. ron

    after losing friends and all our safety personnel and the consideration of the families i see no good coming from this and only animousity and ill feelings and betrayal by our public officials in asllowing this to happen....it is deplorable and an insult to the 3,000 dead and the thousands affected by this horrible act and time must pass to heal the wounds before the issue is even discussed. Very poor judgement by those officials involved especially the Mayor who obviously just doesn't get it...this is hallowed ground and we want it kept that way without controvery and pressing an issue that disturbs America to the core. Wake up you people...Mayor Bloomberg, you're a nice guy, but we don't want your decision to get in the way of the peoples overwhelming desires and demands. you are but one, we are many,,,,my friends will never return and it is a disgrace in their memory...on our own soil...where they died needlessly under the hatred of those people for our way of life...don't insult us...as we have been through much over these years and this will only lead to more distrust and anguish...how can you sleep at nite as we have great difficulty...please do not support this project is does not merit consideration...at this time...

    August 3, 2010 at 2:10 am |
  9. Prophet

    I'm all for freedom of religion. I find it offensive to build a muslim structure so close to a place that was destroyed in the name of Islam. Should we build a Davidian Cult complex a few blocks away from the Oklahoma City Federal building? Can we build a christian ymca next to Mecca? Can we put a cartoon of your prophet on south park?

    I am not a follower of organized religion. I believe there is a purely scientific reason we inhabit this planet. God's son is what it is...god's sun. Without the sun, without water...we wouldn't exist. I feel more connected to nature than to a god & sun that will bring salvation. We live in the age of pisces, and in 140 years we'll enter the age of aquarious. Humans are the cause of evil, and I feel all religions are crap.

    Women in an islamic society are treated terribly. These males who were created in the bodies of women, completely disregard that women should be treated with the same repect. Call me racist, but I really dislike islam. Nothing good ever seems to come of it.

    Someday all of us will be buried into the earth, and hopefully our childrens children will change this planet for the better. To value life with good morals.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:07 am |
  10. Uzzi

    It will be built, yes, but we can certainly preserve the historic architecture and not lay to waste our great cities buildings with another explosion. Historically, Muslims if they cannot tear it down will just convert it, whatever works, the end result is proliferation of their ideology at the expense of non-believers. Try taking a peek from the inside, convert then decide you want to remain a Christian or practice your previous cultural beliefs. Then you will understand dear friends, Islam does not espouse the fundamental principles of democracy, in which this country prospers. Take a moment and reflect how Hitler came to power, through exercising democratic principles then systemically ridding the new government of those very principles in which he and his party was elected. Then extrapolate ... and walahi ya allah!

    August 3, 2010 at 1:56 am |
  11. Steve

    The Commissioner of the NYC Landmark Preservation Commission is Robert Tierney
    rtierneyatlpc.nyc.gov

    Please be nice. We don't want to make the terrorists look good.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:55 am |
  12. Khalid

    Priyath why so much hatred?

    August 3, 2010 at 1:54 am |
  13. whoever

    Let's build a christian community center in Iran or Iraq and see how they would react to it.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:53 am |
  14. Grace

    Building a mosque there would be a constant reminder of that horrific day. Healing is needed, but having a mosque there is NOT the way to do it.....and if these Muslims are serious in trying to build a bridge of healing, then they should show it by respecting the Americans and not build that mosque. The End!

    August 3, 2010 at 1:53 am |
  15. Jude

    if anybody wants to stop building this thing,just kill a pig there and they will never use this place even as a toilet.I m 100% sure of this.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:53 am |
    • DangerMouse

      Hmmm.
      You know, that doesn't sound too.....what? Why is everybody looking at me like that?

      August 3, 2010 at 2:28 am |
  16. Tim C

    My thoughts are that as many Muslim community centers should be allowed to be built near the World Trade Center site as there are Christian community centers in Mecca.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:51 am |
    • Emma the Grey

      Because we base our religious freedom on what is allowed in Saudi Arabia? Seriously? This seems logical to you?

      August 3, 2010 at 2:48 am |
  17. FrankLW

    Apparently, it will only be when we cease our dependency on fossil fuels, and the massive funds that are diverted to radical Islam dry up, that the promoters of this barbarous cult will retreat back to the desert where all this horror originated.
    They’ll still be able to behead and stone each other, or cut off each other’s hands and tongues, but at least they won’t have the means to fly jetliners into towers (or even board jetliners at all), or attain nukes and other WMDs, the way Ahmadinejad and the “Ayatollahs” in Iran are doing.
    A Muslim center for which its founders cannot bring themselves to unequivocally condemn Al Qaeda, the Hamas, the Hezbollah and Taliban by name, will also be incapable of affording Manhattan real estate.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:49 am |
  18. William D

    I dont need to read any Bible or Quran/Koran to know that they are stories and words to live by, but not all of them are meant to be literal, or taken at full face value. I also know that humans by flawed default will interpret the words as they morally see fit, because it is in our nature to judge others against ourselves and our own ethics, beliefs, and morals. No one likes to be told they are wrong or told their faith is any less then the next person. Unfortunately, both of these books are pointless because 90% of people dont use the books for the good teachings, only how we need to destroy and create havoc because another group doesnt believe in the same thing we do..simply because a Bible or Quran says we should or have to. And if there is a GOD, then only HE will decide our fate, and if his judgement is written in a book , that by no means gives any human the power to dictate that onto another. So – please... get over it and quit with the "Have you even read the book" bull...

    August 3, 2010 at 1:40 am |
  19. Dave

    Muslims are always complaining about how Americans should be more tolerant and considerate of THEIR feelings. Perhaps they should heed their own advice and be considerate of the Americans who lost loved ones on 9/11.
    THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN!
    They could EASILY BUILD a SO-CALLED commmuntiy center somewhere else. Why don't they? Because it would not hold the same meaning PERIOD!!
    These Muslims don't give a DAMN about AMERICANS, even if they happen to be citizens of this country. If they did tthey would have turned in their fellow Muslims BEFORE they killed innocent Americans.The only thing they care about is their so called religion.
    As far as this board not being able to do anything to stop the building of this "community center", they are spineless. There is plenty they and others can do to stop this. They could make it so difficult for the Muslims to buld anything there. They just need to grow a set of balls and stop it.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:38 am |
    • Emma the Grey

      Yes, and you should have turned in those priests who were abusing young boys. Why didn't you do that? Do you hate America? I know you knew about it, because you are a Christian, so obviously you knew about it. How could you have allowed attacks on children to happen year after year and not turn those people in? What is wrong with you? We clearly cannot allow any Catholic churches anywhere near where children are. Right?

      August 3, 2010 at 2:52 am |
  20. Acropolis

    Should we blame Muslims for having lost our own faith to Christianity?

    August 3, 2010 at 1:37 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.