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. DangerMouse

    ymalikii – you lie about jihad. What an incredibly bald-faced lie. You seek to sooth priyath by lying about jihad? What a retarded thing to do.
    I do not believe smooth-talking muslims who are so intent on "calming" people when your "mini-popes" are handing out commands to kill whenever they feel like it.
    I call BS on you, ymalik11.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:34 am |
  2. mysteree

    let them build it. let them fill it up with their people. then blow it to hell.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:33 am |
  3. AndyF

    Christian hstory is full of war, murder, terrorism, and most recently it fired the passions of the Oklahoma bomber, many abortion clinic terrorists, justified slavery and segregation, shall we close all Christian churches close to the site of the Oklahoma City bombing, or near abortion clinics, or near any African American who rightfully claims the church helped keep his race from participating fully in society? Btwn this issue and illegal immigration, these issues show how immature so many are in this country, how even after all that education, resort to barbaric belief systems that should have faded centuries ago, yet make the basis of an entire political movement. One day history will associate these Americans with the movement that dragged America through a phase too earily similar to the first steps Nazis took in leading Germany down such a dark road. Resist the fear based knee jerked reactionaries and stand up for American principles, not what these Neanderthals stand for, mianly blaming minority groups for everything wrong in this country, just like Hitler did.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:23 am |
  4. Indian4USoftheA

    Something bad can happen, Suppose some sick head believes by blowing this new building he can take on revenge which many are almost ready, then this will lead to cyclic effect, so say no to this. Be Normal, Do what is best for your country.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:20 am |
  5. NoNo

    This country was built on Christian values, not muslim values. This is one country under GOD! This is a free country, but you must respect it while you are on our soil. No member from another country should be allowed to buy land in our country and then force their religion on us. I don't want to see it or hear it or smell it. That is my right as an American.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:18 am |
  6. americanmuslimconvert

    Never forget that so many muslims died. They were working in the world trade center as anybody else.
    I am muslim and when you associate me to these people it's like I associate christians to Jehovah's Witnesses.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:15 am |
  7. ymalik11

    priyath, I may not like you because you make "NARROW MINDED"(Now you see where I'm getting this from..) rants like this, but I would never harm you because that is against Islam. The 'Jihad' you are referring to(assuming) is not the same 'Jihad' that Al Qaeda has portrayed into your mind. JIhad is a struggle to worship God. The killing Jihad which is what you are thinking about is only permissible in the rare case that a muslim is not allowed to praise Allah in any way whatsoever and that killing can only be against that individual that is not allowing the prayer.

    Buddhism, I can see from your comments, that you are a Buddhist. I'm not here to debate about your religion nor did I intend to debate about mine. I came to this forum to debate whether or not a mosque should be built on ground zero, people like you have just diverted my attention.
    So, if you really want to know why I'm not going to convert to Buddhism, then it is because I don't think that a person can be divine. Muhammed was not a divine human being, he was only a messenger.

    And buddy, I am calm. Your caps locks abuse make you look like you are not calm. My ability to break down your arguments if any does not mean I am not calm 🙂

    August 3, 2010 at 5:03 am |
    • John

      YRMALIK11: It would have been better to be 'divine' because being the messenger gives the messenger ample excuse to proclaim something as the "message" of Allah and commit atrocity in his name supposedly because he told you so.

      At least if he was "divine" instead of being a messenger then he would have thought twice before sullying his reputation by "ordering" destruction in a "message".

      Remember the massive Bamiyan Buddhas that the Taliban destroyed, the Buddha statues built long, long beforv the tribes came bearing the message of the messenger?

      August 3, 2010 at 10:46 am |
  8. just joe again

    putting aside the debate...who sold the building to this organisation to begin with? DID they own it before 9/11? Think...

    August 3, 2010 at 4:51 am |
    • ymalik11

      Good point. Finally someone who isn't going "ISLAM is....."

      If it were on ground zero, i'd be against it for the safety of those muslims and because Ground Zero is considered a historical landmark. Since it is two blocks away, their safety is still compromised, but they have the right the build it.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:56 am |
  9. wolff bachner

    and fyi, i have read the koran, various ancient commentaries on islamic law and many of the Hadith. i could, if space allowed post all 109 sura that call for direct violence and other forms of oppression against non believers. And i am also familiar with the doctrine of abrogation that allows dishonest muslims to get away with lies by claiming islam is peaceful and citing thr loran. what most of you dont know is they are citing earlier passages (or sura) that are peaceful written when mohammed was still struggling to found his religion. once he had defeated all his enemies his later sura were quite violent against all non believers., under the doctrine of abrogation, when there are conflicting sura, the one written last is the one that is valid. so muslims love to cite all these peaceful verses in the koran knowing full well they have been over ruled by abrogation. another trick that islam uses to lie to the rest of the world. it is also stated in the koran that it is permitted to lie to non believers to promote the goals of islam.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:50 am |
    • ymalik11

      wolff bachner, Sorry to inform you...but you read a bunch of lies. The 'Koran' and the 'Quran' are different books. If you want a real source to use, don't go to Barnes and Nobles to pick up a copy(By the way, take a Koran and a Quran in barnes and nobles...many suras translations will contradict each other). Save your money, go to your local mosque and ask for an English copy of the Quran, we would be more than happy to give you a copy of our holy scripture for your educational purposes.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:07 am |
  10. wolff bachner

    why don't we just follow the simple example set in every muslim nation and allow them to build their mosques and "community centers" when they allow churches and synagogues to be built inn their countries. It is a well known and proven truth that islam has built mosques and other islamic institutions everywhere they conquered. Many famous cathedrals and churches have mosques built on top of them not to mention building a mosque on the remains of the 2nd temple in Jerusalem. Just the name of organization building this place should be a clue for you. the cordoba institute is named for Cordoba Spain where muslims built one of the 3 largest mosques in the world on the remains of the Cordoba cathedral. Then there is imam ruaf who is the leader of the cordoba initiative behind the building. he published a book that was called "A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11" outside of the united states. The purpose of dawa, like the purpose of jihad, is to implement, spread, and defend sharia. Then he changed the name of the book to What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America." when it was published in english. The facts are simple. We should not allow any pro sharia leaders to build any religious institutions in this country because sharia is directly opposed to the constitution. why should we support those who seek our demise in the name of being politically correct. This is why im opposed to any building built by the pro shairia, anti democracy fanatics of the cordoba initiative and their imam, feisal rauf.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:43 am |
  11. ymalik11

    People are so ignorant. The mosque is not going to built on ground zero, it is going to be two blocks away from it. Let us assume that it is going to be on ground zero, so what? The group that blew up the twin towers are MOST LIKELY not going to have any influence in this mosque. Yes, one might as say "What about the recent NYC bomber?" Then shut down every mosque in NYC, but they don't, they spy on the mosque which is perfectly fine and they should to prove that the majority of the mosque in NYC, yet alone America do not support terrorism or radical Islam.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:18 am |
  12. priyath





    August 3, 2010 at 4:16 am |
  13. dj

    Amanda you are the ignorant moron and thanks to fools like you we will all be bowing down to islam just as Europe will be very soon. Great job for selling out our country.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:14 am |
  14. dj

    Tim McVeigh was not a Christian, and infact if you research it a little you will find that he and his co-terrorist were working with a group in the Phillipines called Abu Sayaf. Islam is not a race of people either. It is supposedly a religion, which if you are truly a liberal minded person and did your research you would find that islam is not peaceful at all. Ayatolla Kohmeni said that he would spit upon the fool that would claim islam is a religion of peace. He also said: What ever good exists in the world it is because of the sword of islam. Shame on liberals for allowing 7th century religious bigots to place a symbol of conquest at this site of human tradegy

    August 3, 2010 at 4:11 am |
  15. goberdeen

    I would say just one thing, either make the mosq or dont make it....

    August 3, 2010 at 3:50 am |
  16. inris

    Build it.

    Its sad to see that Americans are continually seen as ignorant because of a few loud mouth bigots that give your wonderful country a bad name. This isn't about the war on terror or about degrading those victims of 9/11. This isn't a mosque for Al Qaeda or Taliban. Its a community center for AMERICANS who practice Islam. You really think every muslim in your country is a terrorist? The only threat to the freedoms in your country is yourselves and your own extremist political groups.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:48 am |
  17. DanW

    Why don't you people actually do a little research into Timothy McVeigh's beliefs before you call him a Christian terrorist. He was agnostic. Look it up. He rejected all religion and stated thet, if he did have any religion, it was science. He did nothing in the name of God.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:44 am |
  18. Adam

    I make it a point not to get involved in these childish forums...but seriously...get over it.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:43 am |
  19. Edwin

    Well, I'm going to bed. Enough of this nonsense. The Commission will rule on this tomorrow, and nothing we post will change their decision.

    If they rule against Landmark Protection, I imagine a large number of 'decent christians' will pray for their deaths, and some will make death threats. I fear for the safety of the people on the committee if they somehow decide that this building - which nobody cared one whit about, except for developers - is somehow not a landmark.

    If they instead rule it IS a landmark (caving in to political pressure), they will probably have no death threats. So they might do so to preserve their lives, and I can't fault them for that.

    Either way, the center is still going to be built. The goal was to build a large center for the whole community to enjoy, including a pool and other non-religious parts. If they have to keep the outside of the building intact, I imagine they will cut a large portion of their original design. They will probably keep the outreach part, and the rooms for worship.

    So, in the end, the center will be built, and it will stand until a 'loyal American' burns it down in an act of Arson. It is possible that a few people will die in that act (which will be publicly condemned but privately supported by many Americans) - showing that many Americans DO in fact approve of murder of innocent people when it is 'for a good cause'...

    Or maybe I am being to cynical. Time will tell. But for now, I bid you all good night.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:42 am |
  20. PBUY69

    I think it is insensitive to build the Mosque/Islamic Community Center near that place. It only create an air uneasiness rather than propagate peace. I think the Moslem will respect your decision (of not building it). It will only serve the purpose of reminding the Moslem that they have failed in their teaching . Believe me , none of them would want to step their foot there. Save the money , built something else.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:37 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.