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. goose24

    Lets build a church in Iraq

    August 3, 2010 at 7:22 am |
  2. Cydonius

    No. No. No. Stop this insanity. Mosques are wrong in any place but at this site in particular it would be a monument to the terrorists that attacked America .

    August 3, 2010 at 7:14 am |
  3. Donna J Gikerson

    are county was built on Christian believes and it should remain that. Why is it that other relgions have a right as to when they can pray and what ever. I work for a big company and unable to have anything on my desk about my relgion, but muslims have certain times in the day and where they can pray. I say we need to stick to what are for fathers built this county on and that is christian believes

    August 3, 2010 at 7:09 am |
  4. Jan

    I am not American, but allowing this to happen just because America is the land of the free is plain stupid. You wil welcome these Muslims into your country and they will use that center as a meeting point to plan their terrorist attacks on you.

    August 3, 2010 at 7:05 am |
  5. FrankLW

    Apparently, it will only be when we cease our dependency on fossil fuels, and the massive Muslim oil money that is diverted to radical Islam dries 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.
    When that time comes, a Muslim center, for which its Imam “spiritual leader” cannot bring himself to unequivocally condemn Al Qaeda, the Hamas, the Hezbollah and Taliban by name, will also, “inshallah”, be incapable of affording Manhattan real estate.

    August 3, 2010 at 7:02 am |
  6. FrankLW

    A mosque near Ground Zero would be alright – IF – on its main façade there was a huge stone slab, with large carved letters stating something like:
    – This mosque is dedicated to the memory of the victims of 9/11 who, regardless of their race, religion or politics, had every right to life.
    – The mass murder of 9/11 was a despicable crime that is condemned by Allah. The same holds for other horrific killings by radical Muslims in Madrid, Mumbai, Tel Aviv, London, Russia, Pakistan, Iraq, Uganda and Bali.
    – All terrorist groups that deliberately target civilians and their sympathizers who celebrate when they succeed at such killing, are unequivocally condemned – specifically groups such as Al Qaeda, the Hamas, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Abu Sayyaf or Islamic Jihad.
    – We uphold and embrace the inalienable rights for all, of democracy, intellectual and civil freedom for ALL humanity and condemn any who deny it.
    – There can be no rationale or explanation for random mass murder and it is reprehensible to consider political or diplomatic action because of issues that terrorists might attempt to raise as pretexts for their terror.
    – The forceful attempts to convert the world to Shariah law and Muslim theocratic domination, that is the true goal of the radical terror, is unequivocally condemned, as is the promotion of Muslim migration to the West and the raising of large families there with the intent to sway democracies to Shariah Law.
    – This institution will make every effort to battle such reprehensible fundamentalist violence to ensure that such horrors are not repeated anywhere (even if that means Muslims volunteering – NOT protesting – to be ethnically profiled, as terrible as that would normally be in times of peace, at airports, to help catch the murderers).
    – No funds from this center will go to the “social charities” of organizations like the Hamas and Taliban since that is used as a front for laundering monies that support terror.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:54 am |
  7. Green

    People have got it all wrong..... if only everyone understands what islam is, no one wud be commenting like this.... the attack on 9/11 was not carried out by muslims, it was by some crazy folks that had huge hatred, with muslim names... if such a community is opened, it wud educate people what islam is, instead of getting mislead by fake knowledge...... it has nothing to do with ground zero.... people just like to believe it that way....

    August 3, 2010 at 6:54 am |
  8. Chuck

    Wow what a mouth full. I also am not a 12 – 13 year old, but am instead a person that is tired of Muslim ideologies being jammed down my throat. I speak against Muslims and I am racist, but if a Muslim says he/she is offended by Christmas...an American and Western custom and a part of our culture then we have to be sensitive. I am tired of them being offended by our flags, our customs...I am Canadian and in Canada there is a group that tried to have our anthem changed to have Arabic in it....and our flags in public was offensive...oh and they wanted to have turbans as a part of our National Police Force uniform...I would get my head cut off if I made those demands in the middle east. I congratulate you on your thesis...what subject was that? and what was the paper on? Would love to read it to see how biased it is...is it more of an opinion paper based on your perception of ignorance as a Pakistani in America post 9?11 or is it just ignorance in general...please if your going to introduce it...make it clear. How would any country in the mid east react if I and 30 Christians hoped in planes and took out 3000 people...(I am not Christian and would likely not ride in a plane with that many neurotic people, but for arguments sake...personally I think religion is the fastest road to hell, but that's another debate)....the answer is simple....Jihad....how do I make such a simple 1 word answer...Ayatollah in Iran...he has a Jihad panic button...Osama Bin Laden....he has one too....that dude in Iran that no one knows or cares how to pronounce...has 2...one for the world and one for Israel....and pretty much anyone with keys to a mosque. In Canada there is a mosque that openly preaches death to infidels...now I am not a theological professor, but if I am not mistaken infidels are everyone that is not Muslim...so that would be me and that is in the Loran as well...so...yeah...well that ends that one doesn't it. If a Jihad is called by a Muslim leader then it is the responsibility in the name of Allah to take up arms...right? Just checking and it's against infidels right? again, just checking.

    So see ya at the next Jihad...I will be the dude in blue on the other side of the battle field...say hi right before the fun begins.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:50 am |
  9. Jan

    Oxymoron: American Muslim.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:49 am |
  10. 2xIraq_Vet

    When Mecca permits a Baptist Church within equal distance of "Muhammad Ground Zero," then let the developer put a Muslim worship center near the twin towers. The developers should be horse whipped for even suggesting this.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:47 am |
  11. Jan

    "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."

    "Positive interaction between the Muslim world and the West," eh? We could stand to use some of that. But I'm afraid what you'll really see is more positive interaction between gun owners and the folks that manufacture their ammo. That would, of course, be good for the economy (Bloomfield's stimulus package in action).

    August 3, 2010 at 6:44 am |
  12. ernie

    I love america, but i am ashamed of New York for this. I am so glad i dont live there. You are a embarassment. When a explosion happens again, you only have yourselves to blame.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:41 am |
  13. genoman

    it just seem's everyone has forgot the real issue. How many AMERICAN'S lost thier lives in 911.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:31 am |
  14. Historian

    In 1787, the members of the Constitutional Congress meant to write... Freedom from Religion.... when they were working up their ideas for the Constitution but James Madison sneezed and it was written down as ....Freedom of Religion.....

    August 3, 2010 at 6:22 am |
  15. genoman

    if our leaders allow this to happen, it will be just like them spitting on ground zero itself.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:10 am |
  16. kroveaN teh walrus

    Read the Koran, you will be amazed. Not every Muslim is evil, but most Americans are ignorant.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:03 am |
    • trailer man

      There are many people in the U.S. that follow the quran that were born here. This is our country as much as it is yours. Why don't you go back to your trailer and do your sister

      August 3, 2010 at 9:12 am |
  17. Barb


    I have a honest question for you. If Jihad is a struggle to worship God, when did Americans ever stop Osama Bin Laden and his buddies from worshipping God in the their caves , half way across the world, when they decided to send planes through the twin towers on 9/11?

    August 3, 2010 at 5:54 am |
  18. Rejected Mentality

    I just wanna tell to all those do gooders sympathisers that SHUT UP!!! come on let the racist bigots come out of the woodworks they are just too good to be true. Then maybe the majority of muslims will start to believe that what a bunch of bull the American idea of free speech and liberty really is. Lets get real with the hate and misguided interpretations we are loving it here, as you are truly seeing the world as we do..... So Please Please don't stop. Lets get the hate flowing free and show the world what Americans truly stand for.
    So my request to the so called muslim sympathisers please do not let this message be blurred by your fanaticism for standing up to to free speech and liberty, you are really hurting our cause here.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:50 am |
  19. DangerMouse

    ...in fact, I call BS on all muslims who want to tell me ANY religion is "peaceful" in its heart.

    And saying things like: "really, you're just mistaken about our murderous god's command to murder people." and "You are misunderstanding our history of murder" as a way of trying to fool people sort of lowers my estimation of you personally into something I would seriously consider wiping from the face of the earth as completely unworthy to exist in any form.

    But please stay calm....and just cease to exist. I understand it's a habit with you people.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:45 am |
  20. hehehe

    Build a Erotica Mueseum and call it a Mosque. Everybody will be happy

    August 3, 2010 at 5:35 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.