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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. Joel

    I don't live in NYC, but even so I'd rather they use the property for anything other than a religious building. Islam, Jewish, Christian, it doesn't matter, it's a waste of real estate.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  2. Steven Durham

    I vote NO! The thought of a Mosque being built so close to "Ground Zero" is repugnant and a slap in the face to all those innocent people who were hurt or killed on 9-11-2001. There are plenty of other places they could build a new Mosque in Manhattan and the site of the former World Trade Center buildings is sacred.

    I've heard it said from Muslims who support the Mosque say they want this mosque to be a teaching tool that would demonstrate to non-Muslims that mainstream Islam is a peaceful religion that doesn't teach violence or revenge. I don't trust that premise as we've seen several incidents since 9-11 where seemingly normal Muslim citizens have conspired, or in some cases carried out terrorist activities here and abroad. In my opinion Islam is not an inclusive religion and the Koran teaches violence against non-Muslims.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:42 am |
  3. HC130FE

    How About every American Citizen boycott New York City and the State of New York if this mosque is built. What a slap in the face and kick me when your down.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:38 am |
  4. mrsb

    While I do not believe that Muslims as a whole are violent or want to destroy America, there is no way that this Mosque should be built anywhere near Ground Zero. It's just plain disrespectful and will not bring people together. It is nothing like having crosses displayed at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing. If true/good Muslims wanted to erect a plaque at the memorial for Ground Zero condeming the violent Muslims that would be fine but a Mosque? Sorry, anyone who had respect for the victims or their families would not even think of doing that.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:33 am |
  5. Lucy

    Islam is essentially out to conquer the world and kill anyone who doesn't become Muslim, and they are going to win if we allow them to dictate to us. They have, historically, put up a mosque on all conquered territory - they did it in Saudi Arabia, Syria and remember the Dome of the Rock on top of the Temple Mount. New Yorkers and Americans have already forgotten 9/11 and I am disgusted.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:33 am |
  6. Kruunch

    I think this is a bad idea, counter productive to the stated goals (interfaith relations), needlessly provocative and inappropriate. I also think it's their right if they choose to exercise it, and is the largest part of what makes this country great.

    One day this will be a non-issue.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:33 am |
  7. Tharms

    Over the decades, a few dozen radical Zionist Jews, mostly along the East Coast, have stolen American scientific and military secrets and leaked them to our enemies. We rightly view these as the crimes of individuals, even though they were clearly, in most cases, acting on behalf of the state of Israel. Throughout the cold war, and now into the newly instigated War on Terrorism, tens of thousands of Americans died - many multiples of the number of those killed on 9/11 - as the direct result of such Jewish/Israeli spying and treason, but not once as anyone ever suggested that the whole Jewish population of America should be held to account for the crimes of those few traitors or for the war-like behavior of the country of which many of them, including some of our politicians, hold second passports. No one has ever demanded that no synagogue be built near the Pentagon or the CIA or in Washington. Our own President didn't even issue an official objection when the Israeli military executed with multiple point-blank gunshots to the head an American teen-aged citizen on a ship in international waters not three months ago. So, consider for a moment hypocrisy of the Jewish Anti-Deflamation League's refusal to take up the cause of defending the right of Moslems to build a mosque in New York City - and ask what may be motivating that them. Indeed, considering the ownership of the media in America, that this same media is responsible for whipping this issue into a storm. Considering all of this, it is time that America start asking questions regarding who is behind this campaign of hate and what motivates them, and to perhaps start asking who it really is that is America's enemy. We've work too long and too hard making this country a bastion of freedom and tolerance to let a small minority of unrelenting hater-mongers manipulate us and turn us against ourselves and our principles.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:30 am |
    • wolff bachner

      this is a total bunch of crap. where you on the ship. or are you going by what you read or saw on the web or in the news. spare me the jewish conspiracy crap. Israel is the only country that has supported this country without question since 1948. And they would not need our foreign aid if they were not living in a state of war since their day of independence in 1948. they are surround by 150 million muslims who have sworn to destroy their nation. If you hate jews m thats your right but spare us the left wing lies.

      August 3, 2010 at 8:47 am |
    • wolff bachner

      here is a quote from the us government on the real truth of pollards spying. the truth is that he was selling information to anyone with money to buy it and israel was the 4th country that he dealt with. he was not spying for israel.

      "We... feel obligated to go on record with the facts regarding Pollard in order to dispel the myths that have arisen from this clever public relations campaign... aimed at transforming Pollard from greedy, arrogant betrayer of the American national trust in to Pollard, committed Israeli patriot

      Pollard pleaded guilty and therefore never was publicly tried. Thus, the American people never came to know that he offered classified information to three other countries before working for the Israelis and that he offered his services to a fourth country while he was spying for Israel. They also never came to understand that he was being highly paid for his services....

      Pollard and his apologists argue he turned over to the Israelis information they were being denied that was critical to their security. The fact is, however, Pollard had no way of knowing what the Israeli government was already receiving by way of official intelligence exchange agreements... Some of the data he compromised had nothing to do with Israeli security or even with the Middle East. He betrayed worldwide intelligence data, including sources and methods developed at significant cost to the U.S. taxpayer. As a result of his perfidy, some of those sources are lost forever."

      August 3, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  8. Cyrus

    I am a non-practicing Muslim/bordering atheist, and frankly I have problems with every single scriptural religion and their business models. More importantly, I am an American. But if I may filter through the stupidity, hatred, and sheer ignorance of most of the remarks here (both Muslims and Non-Muslims included), the morons who destroyed our civil liberties on 9/11 in the name of a religion don't quite follow Islam. They follow wahabism, a perverted version of Islam mostly practiced by the Saudis and its sympathizers. Secondly, the peaceful Islam has existed in the world for the last 1,500 years or so, alongside Christianity and Judaism (sans the Crusades, instigated by the Catholic Church). But we are not here to talk about Islamic history, which I bet most of you have never read. (For the curious ones, I highly recommend "No God but God" by Reza Aslan)

    My question to those who are against anything Muslim, do you want to voice your bigotry to the families of 100+ Muslims who also died when the Twin Towers came down? Or did you really think that only Christians or Jews died that day? If you don't want to face the families of dead folks, I have a better idea for you. Please send a letter to all the branches of our armed forces and let them know that over 10,000 Muslim men and women who are fighting for our country, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and defending your right to be utterly stupid, DON'T deserve your respect for their faith. Tell them to expel these Muslims to some other country, because you don't trust them. How's that for patriotism?

    August 3, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  9. jean

    Here is an idea. The day Christians can build a church in the heart of Ryhad, Saudia Arabia and have church service there, then and only then they may build the mosque!

    August 3, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  10. wolff bachner

    jean i have mentioned the behavior of Saudi Arabia about 5 times in this thread as well as quoting suras that call for killing or taxing non believers. i have mentioned the rule of abrogation for the qu'ran that says when two or more sura contradict each other, the last one written is the correct one. I have mentioned that you cant build a new church in the vast majority of muslim countries. i have mentioned i cant enter any muslim nation simply because i am a jew. The best response i got was some jerk telling me i read the wrong translation of the qu'ran. They do not ever answer real facts which any real evidence that could refute me. All they do is repeat over and over that islam is a religion of love and peace and i dont know what im talking about. i would be happy to bet my PhD i do know what im talking about but they will never engage in a real open debate based on facts. Muslims are hopeless apologists and liars who are out to spread isalm over this entire planet. i for one am not joining their club.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:27 am |
  11. Javinka

    This topic is so divisive, yet quite simply resolvable. We can't deny the fact that one of the foundations of this (once) great country of ours is freedom of religion. It should be based on this fact alone to allow a "youth center", that includes a "mosque", to be built anywhere zoning laws would allow it.
    Yes, I understand, that 9-11 was, is, and always will be, one of the greatest tragedies we have ever experienced. But these were NOT "traditional" Muslims. These were radicals with twisted views of their "religion"'s teaching. Really, not much different than Jehovas, or Mormons are viewed by "real" Christians. A cult.
    I know I have a "too" idealistic view, but in the words of Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?'

    Our very lives depend on it...............

    August 3, 2010 at 8:22 am |
  12. DMcK

    Islam does NOT qualify as a religion BECAUSE it's Sharia laws are part of its requirements. Sharia law allows the right to murder their children – 'honor killing'; taqiyya lying to infidels – oh yes how sweet YOUR particular muslim acquaintances appear until called upon to uphold Islam/Sharia; are required by duty to promote Islam worldwide – often hidden within walls of nearly every mosque – taught by imams; can be seen rioting in Sweden, UK, France etc. on youtube and will do so when their numbers increase enough to step up demands "freedom is the cancer – Islam is the answer" "go to he77 freedom" etc,, have created 'no-go' areas where non-muslims cannot go safely in their own countries, have implemented dual system of Sharia laws in separate courts in western countries. LOOK IT UP!!

    August 3, 2010 at 8:20 am |
  13. Shrike

    You know the musins need a close in staging place for their explosives and a place to put the cameras to film the action. Also a place close by so they can gloat over what they did.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  14. wolff bachner

    I have a simple solution. The site around the WTC should be declared a National Federal Monument and then all religious buildings would be banned since you can not build a house of worship on government land.. Id rather make a monument to the Americans and others who died which we all can support as Americans than see it surrounded by various religious buildings that only some Americans worship in. I am happy to see no mosques, synagogues or churches anywhere near the WTC. It is a monument ot our nations loss, not to anyone's god.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  15. You kidding

    It should be one big fat NO. Europe regrets their decision of getting these animals in, we should learn on someone else's mistakes. Our own cost us a lot on September 11, lets not allow the history repeat itself.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:17 am |
  16. Wake-Up

    "We will continue going forward with the project. It's a project that will build bridges," said Oz Sultan

    A bridge to bring more muslims to our country. They are destroying the American way and trying to impose their laws on us. NO NON_muslim CAN ENTER A MOSQUE! There is no such a thing as "Open house " at the mosque. Or potluck Friday at the mosque.
    "In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American ... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag ... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language ... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

    Theodore Roosevelt 1907

    August 3, 2010 at 8:16 am |
  17. Mildred

    I'm amazed that a nation that prides itself on religious tolerance (and freedom) would even consider telling a group "don't build that". Yes, 9-11 was *devestating* to the nation and to individuals. I lost friends, I know people who lost loved ones, I have friends who are emergency responders who helped with the cleanup (and may have long term health damage as a result).

    But I see this as an opprotunity for America to *show* the world that we actually live up to the ideals we tell everyone that we believe in. Freedom of expression, freedom of religion. Acceptance. That we can see beyond the actions of terrorists, since any religion, Islam/Judaism/Christianity/Buddhism/tribal/etc, is not, or should not be, defined by the actions of a few.

    But to say, "don't build it there" sounds much more like the "not in my backyard" syndrome that is also an American tradition that we should be much more ashamed of.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:16 am |
    • Wake-Up

      "In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American ... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag ... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language ... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

      Theodore Roosevelt 1907

      August 3, 2010 at 8:18 am |
    • DangerMouse

      @wakeup,
      Wow. That is an awesome quote. I actually got a little "verklempt"....
      Thanks, whoever you are, I feel better for reading that.
      DM

      August 3, 2010 at 8:48 am |
    • Mildred

      @wakeup That is a good quote, and a valid point. We should be Americans first…

      However, are not the people (or at least most of them) putting together this center & mosque also Americans, or immigrants wishing to become citizens, and therefore covered by the same right of freedom of religion that you and I enjoy?

      If this was a synagogue, or a church of some Christian denomination, a Buddhist retreat center, a Shinto temple (and the list goes on)… there would be *no* question about allowing it to be built. We wouldn’t even be hearing about it in the news. But since it is an Islamic community center and mosque, there are people saying “Oh no you can’t do that, it’s too painful”.

      August 3, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  18. DangerMouse

    I'm starting to shoot off sparks here, people.

    Religion is a MADNESS upon the face of the world!

    It is honest-to-goodness REAL INSANITY that any good psychologist could have pointed out at any time! Why they weren't up in arms about it years ago is a bit hard to take. (So draw your own conclusions, regardless of what you are ever told by another human being –because that human being could be saying things that aren't true or real or even SANE. (go ahead and joke – If you don't factor that sort of thing into your social interactions, then you are asking for something. Like being lost in a cult))

    And if you've gotten this far and can still see straight, let me point out what I believe to be a monstrous blind spot:
    These are PEOPLE we are talking about! THEY ARE NOT INSEPARABLE FROM THEIR RELIGION !

    What religion a person is DOESN'T MATTER ! What they actually DO is the proof of the pudding. You are not your religion.
    "Good muslims, bad muslims", etc. is *not correct.*

    Try: "good people, bad people" instead.
    Or better yet, try "good people with indoctrinated belief systems, bad people with indoctrinated belief systems"!

    Now try: "people who don't know any better" or "not guilty by reason of insanity due to indoctrination."

    Now think of a solution. (and thanks for reading this far!)

    DM

    August 3, 2010 at 8:14 am |
    • Wake-Up

      Try more DECON... These people LIVE their religion. Their religion is also their LAW. You can not separrate the two. I do not know where you have been but their agenda is to take over the world. You there mighty mouse would not have any freedoms.

      August 3, 2010 at 8:26 am |
    • DangerMouse

      Well, are we allowed to defend ourselves in this country or not? I'm not saying we need to wipe them from the face of the earth, I'm saying you have different, gigantic mobs of people on every side, and they are all IN A CULT of some sort.
      This cult, that cult – they are either breaking our laws or not, either we have a cause for war or we do not. That is what we rely upon our military to handle. If they've got some PsychWarOps people handy, maybe they could lend us a hand....
      k?

      August 3, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  19. wolff bachner

    Zainab sura 2 was abrogated and made invalid by a later sura that calls for killing or taxing non believers. learn your own religion already and stop posting lies. Some Americans know what the rule of abrogation is and how the Qu'ran really works.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:13 am |
  20. Bill

    They can not allow this. Why would they want to build a mosque here. This is designed to show that we are so blind that they can get away with this. They did this in the name of Islam. No other reason. We need to smartin up. Build the mosque anywhere else but not there.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:13 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.