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. wolff bachner

    i am not your brother in islam. i am a jew and i totally reject islam. sorry, wake up to reality. the vast majority of non muslims are not at all interested in islam and most wish it would just go away. stop trying to convert us. i love being a Jew. want to know why? we are the only major religion that does not seek to convert anyone. to become a convert to the Jewish faith. every other religion wants everyone to follow their god. some say if you dont follow their religion you are eternally damned. The jewish religion says if you were born to 3 generations of jews on your mothers side you are a jew and then you must accept and follow the religion. But we do not convert anyone. Thats why im glad to be a Jew, i do not want anyone to be asked to follow my g*d because i think its the best g*d.. Every other religion wants everyone to follow their god OR ELSE.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  2. sandy k

    I just think it is in really poor taste.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:18 am |
  3. DBCooper

    Let them build it, but not until islam accepts churches overshadowing religious centers in Mecca and Medina... Will that happpen? Hell no!

    August 3, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    There's nothing positive about the Muslim world. Not much positive about any organized religion, actually, but especially the Muslim world.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  5. Katherine

    If this group were truely proud American citizens, there would be no question, for all the lives lost, not just Americans, building a Mosque close to the site is Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. You can't spin that!

    August 3, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  6. Love

    Come on guys....spread the word of love and peace. Jesus ( muslims also believe in him) taught us to forgive no matter how hard it is. Building a mosque really doesn't matter whether it is within .5 miles or 50 miles. I actually read Koran after 9/11. Very much like Bible, some sections are objectionable ( depends on your interpretation ) but overall pretty good. America's political parties and media control over what we read, see and hear. So, use your own judgement.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  7. MITConserv

    PC is killing this country......and the Saudi's know it. Get ready for Sharia law NYC/US.... it is coming! Read a F'n history book!!

    August 3, 2010 at 9:04 am |
  8. Timothy Mcdade

    I have a question for Mayor Bloomberg . I just want to know when the people of New York want to build a Catholic Church it get;s stalled and get's low priority. However , when the city wants to build a Mosque it get's on the fast track ? The American people have a right to know the answer to that question Equal treament for all religions and that is my 1st Amendment rights.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:04 am |
  9. Methusalem

    The Muslims know the American mentality well, that's why they dream higher, ask for more and excute their plans accordingly. As we see, everyone seems to welcome the building of a Mosque somewhere else, but not at Ground Zero. That's excately what they intend, building a Mosque wherever it's possible. Mosques shouldn't be allowed to be built anywhere, until the religion of Islam is reformed drastically. Buildng Mosques should be prohibited as long as Muslims continue killing those who want to leave their faith. Islam is the only 'religion' in the world which exercise this sort of barbarism.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  10. Tired

    Sure the construction can be blocked. It has the potential of causing public violence and inciting a riot. I'd expect a good lawyer could make that work.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  11. Brian

    The fact is that this is a very odd situation. Who would have ever thought that someone would propose building a mosque at ground-zero. Personally I find it distasteful, but as a free country, we can't start policing only the things we don't 'like'. It's a very slippery slope.

    That being said, I still think they should do something to stop it. It's a slap in the face to the families and to all Americans that witnessed 9/11.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  12. Jose

    coming from a native New Yorker, there is just no way in hell I can approve of this! The pain, the hurt, the memories will forever be in my mind and heart for all the pain and lost loved ones this caused. You want to build bridges, do it in the Middle East. That is where the most hatred is for our wonderful country. I can't believe it's even being considered. There can be plenty of other locations where this can be built, but to even consider it on the very site where muslims killed so many innocent people is inhumane and a slap in the face to every person who lost a friend or family member. I say no way in hell!

    August 3, 2010 at 8:54 am |
  13. tet1953

    Supporters of the mosque often ask "how far from ground zero does a mosque have to be?". I do not know the answer to that, but the area that consitutes the debris field seems reasonable to me to be off limits. I agree they have a right to build a mosque, and if their motives are as they claim then it is is a great thing they want to do. Surely there is real estate a little further away that would suffice.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  14. Nick San Diego

    I have no hope for the human race. Stupid, stupid people with blind hate towrds a religion are being led by fanaticism ,because a HANDFUL of men ,thats right a HANDFUL caused the destruction of the Twin Towers.For you people, I ask you to look in the mirror and see how much destruction your Government has done in YOUR name. Then you might understand the feelings of others.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  15. Brian Harris

    Everyone talks like there were no Muslims killed in New York on 9/11. Should we not erect places of worship where "Christian" terrorists blew a building up (Oklahoma City, for example)? Muslims, whom I don't single out unless writing like this and couldn't identify without them first telling me their religion, are people too. People who suffer when they lose loved ones too. People who had family in the towers too. People. Plain and simple. This is such a non-issue.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  16. diane

    I agree with you and as to the mayor liking the idea he could care less all he wants is the votes. I for one am tired of our politicians giving away our country, our traditions and not doing anything but playing party politics. When does the average American arise and form huge protests? I am not a Christian but this would be an insult to the nation.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:48 am |
  17. bbo

    I got a feeling i know which way the vote is going to go.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:48 am |
  18. Samuel

    Let them build it!
    It would send a better message to them if certain factions destroyed their precious mosque while their workers building it!

    August 3, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  19. Skye

    How about a big, fat NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. What a slap in the face to Americans everywhere. Wait, this is sill America right? Why all the hubbub about being politically correct. Was it politically correct to take over planes in American airspace and crash them in a way to create as many casualities as possible? I read somewhere that America's demise will come from within. This will be just the beginning of the end if this mosque is built. I just don't get why it HAS TO BE THERE. Build it anywhere else you friggin' want, but please, leave that ground sacred.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  20. Ed Wise

    Im not a New Yorker but if this thing passes and is allowed....I know where to find an airplane. I can believe its even a consideration. I believe if this gets built... New York as well as the rest of the country will answer the call of duty. Hallowed ground there people, many of us new people in those buildings. Good people.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:44 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.