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. Samuel

    how dare U say that they let non muslim people worship their religion freely in Indonesia!
    Nothing is free! We have to rely on protection by the police by paying them for evry public religious thing that we do.
    Peoples practicing Hindu and budha choose to built their temple close to military or police compound for safety reason.
    Most of non muslims choose to lived in comunity with the same religion or other minority comunity fleeing harrasment by the muslim comunity even in big cities.
    If thats not enough they burn church, they trash walls outside temples by obscene grafiti.
    Americans take their freedom for granted.
    Dont let America be their next conquest, dont let them built that mosque!

    August 3, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  2. Mike

    News flash: WE ARE AT WAR WITH ISLAM. Ask any Muslim who you think is also a good old American patriot who he wants to win the war. I guarantee the result is an extremely awkward conversation at best.

    Also, lets legally purchase land in Iraq and then lets the international uproar if we build a baseball diamond in Baghdad and have the Yankees and the Mets play their subway series there.

    There are 300m Americans and 1.3BILLION Muslims. You Leftists wont be happy until your Grandchildern are also praying to Mecca with Jihadist tendancies.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  3. Xander

    Sure, its not the most sensitive place to build this but it is two blocks away from Ground Zero, not facing it or anything. It isnt somewhere that everyone going to remember those lost in 9/11 is going to "have" to see it.

    Call me old fashioned but I still believe in the good in people, freedom of religion, and tolerance. There's about 6 churches within 2 blocks of Ground Zero...Is that offensive to anyone? No, because Christian's have never killed in the name of religion...oh wait.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  4. nonreligousamerican

    i think that some american should fly a plane into and destroy one of "their" precious mosiq's. Than "they" could have something to argue and compare this to.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  5. Veritas

    385 -nottoday; You are absolutely correct. I see women in Burkas almost every day here now. A lot more than when I moved here 15 years ago. They're here alright...I've read some research projecting that by 2015 Islam will be the second largest religion in the US.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  6. nonreligousamerican

    My only question is...
    If someone from America flew a plane into and destroyed one of their precious mosiq's would they just stand there and let a church be built near by?
    Doubt it

    August 3, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  7. In America

    @Greg – there were crosses put up at the OK City site after Mcveigh(SP) blew it up... I am always stating: Religion is for the poor and the weak minded. When the world finally realizes that religion was created to control the masses, it will be such a nice place to live.

    How true it is.. remember 'faith' is drilled into the heads of religions followers for a specific reason, to keep you from swaying on whether or not there is a god or an afterlife. Oh, and to give more money and to have a reason to blow people up who don't agree with you. O.o

    August 3, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  8. Matt

    I think what most people HAVEN'T heard is that it was originally named the Cordoba Center (or complex); named after the Spainish city sacked and conquered by the Muslims in the 8th Century (just look on wikipedia). Which is exactly how they are going to see this. Put a Mosque at Ground Zero and I don't care WHAT your intentions are, Muslims around the world will see it as a holy site and a victory against the Christian Infidels. It is hard to fathom the level of injustice – it's not illegal and there is nothing that can be done about it – but that doesn't make it right.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:35 am |
  9. So So Sad

    This is so sad. I do not think that the people who are voting to have this building so close to the WTC site, or in New City at all for that matter, are even thinking with their brains. Yes, America is a land of the free and invites all from every place to join our freedom. BUT We have to use our common sense too. New York City is huge. They can build a mosque anywhere else. Why at the WTC site ? That is just disrepectful to even think that this would be all right with the general population of our country let alone the people who live in Manhatten. A mosque should definitely not be built two blocks from a monument to our fallen.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:35 am |
  10. Nazrul Islam

    Wolf bachner. Dear brother i never try to convert you but as you are proud in your God then for your God's love's sake go through your holy book. Then you will find yourself and no need to convert but you yourself convert and you send me mail to learn you lesson

    August 3, 2010 at 9:35 am |
  11. Aye Lads

    In the true nature of being politically correct these days why does it seem America is always turning the other cheek. Give them their mosque in a different location...like the bottom of the Hudson River. Those on the commission do the right thing and vote this down.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:33 am |
  12. In America

    Muslims and those who support it are not putting this Mosque up in that location because it is convenient. They are putting it there as a 'monument'. When was the last time you saw a sucide bomber kill innocents in the name of Christ? When was the last time a human was stoned to death because Christ said it was so? It doesn't matter how innocent the pro-muslim people feel this project is. This mosque is a slap in the face to the american people and to even consider putting it next to a site as sacred as the twin towers should will be the beginnning of a really big problem for the muslim community. Too many people lost their lives and the pain for a lot of the victims families is still thriving... this mosque will be nothing more than re-ignite a fire.. this time it may have consequences.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:30 am |
  13. nottoday

    NYC is turning into a London! Muslums everywhere wearing their Burkas. Shame on you Muslum fanatics, you have changed Europe and now are trying to change the US.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:30 am |
  14. Guest

    There's already a mosque in the area- why aren't you bigots demanding it be demolished? Sure, let's start banning religion- we can start with Christianity, the most hate filled, historically violent religion of all time.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:28 am |
  15. Nicole

    This is a slap in the face to every American who died that day. I have nothing against those who are devoted Americans and of the Islamic faith; however, I do have a problem with a center being built so close to a spot where 3,000 innocent people died. I read a sign of a protester the other day that made great sense... it said something along the lines of "Building a mosque at Ground Zero is like building a memorial to Hitler at Auschwitz" If they want to build a mosque somewhere else, go ahead but shame on Mayor Bloomberg and the people who are for this. Why Ground Zero? Why is it so necessary to build it there?

    August 3, 2010 at 9:28 am |
  16. ed

    Yeah, lets allow these Western-hating, stone age people to set up camp right at our door step (blocks away from where they last attacked). That way, we don't have to look for them in the mountains of afghanistan. Oh wait I get it, they like to blow up their own mosques and each other just as much. So this mosque is just a decoy! Brilliant

    August 3, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  17. Nazrul Islam

    American we believe free and open minded.A top ranking leader's comment on the establishment of Islamic centre in ground zero makes me rethink of them. Are you really american,developed and advanced society ???Lol you are too like us then why do you brag?

    August 3, 2010 at 9:24 am |
  18. wolff bachner

    so worship whomever you chose and do not worry about who i may worship. i totally reject your desire to proclain i am your brother in islam. Frankly, the more of all this my g*d is the best G*d crap i see. read and hear every day of my life, the closer i come to losing my faith. I am SICK TO MY VERY CORE with people trying to impose their religion on me or justify their religion as the only correct one. PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE. BE A HAPPY MUSLIM WITH YOUR FELLOW MUSLIMS. leave the rest of us to our own lives and our own beliefs.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:24 am |
  19. JamesAtif

    Allah=Satan? lol I really would like to know where you people get your information. Actually, its the Arabic word for God. You do know Muslims believe in Jesus, right? They just don't think he is the son of God. They don't believe that you actually have to pray through anyone to pray to God. I want to know where you people get this terrible information from. Which Muslim hate site do you go to? Before I converted to Islam I had a lot of the same questions so I picked a copy of the Qur'an from a friend and read it.

    Common Misconceptions:
    Polygamy: Not allowed and many scholars believe this. Before Islam women had no rights and people around the world could have as many wives as you want. They only reason the Prophet had more than one wife was for political reasons. Well, also, because the Quraysh would take the property of women if their husbands died in combat or from disease. So, he married them so they could keep their property and rights. In the Qur'an it says "men may marry two, three, or four wives, but only if he can treat them equally, but he will never be able to treat them equally." You can see from that one sentence alone polygamy is debunked. Also, when the Prophet (PBUH) consummated the marriage it wasn't right away. He wanted until after puberty and until legal age.

    Niqab/burka: Both of these are not mandatory in Islam. They tend to be culture things. All it says in the Qur'an (both for men and women) is to be modest. That is open for interpretation. For example, my fiance and I we both always wear shorts and long sleeves. No, I didn't force her. It was something she started doing before I even met her.

    Kill the infidels where you see them and the non-believers: I can see where this would make someone question Islam, but with some research you can find the correct answers. Those lines are referring to the Quraysh. Nothing to do with modern times. The Qurysh kept attacking the Muslims and putting bounties on certain members of the Muslim community. The Muslim community did not want to fight and many didn't until these verses were revealed. Although, if you read even further in the Qur'an it says you must stop fighting as soon as the enemy surrenders. Also, it says you can take spoils of war: money, women, possessions and so on, but in the next line it says only if you want to incur the wrath of God and be placed in hellfire (so one can see its against the Qur'an)

    Those are just some of the things that people take out of context. People do it with the Bible too, sadly. The reason the middle east is a breeding ground for terrorism is because of poverty, corrupt government, lack of education. If you can't read the Qur'an people are going to listen to others about it. It is the same thing people did with bible before literacy rates increased. They used it to control the entire population. Islam is not evil, just some people are evil. Islam is not stuck in the dark ages by any mean. It is certain cultures that are stuck. Learn the difference. Sorry for any mistakes in spelling, or anything. I typed this in a hurry.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  20. Kimberly Crandall

    Healing, and building bridges??? Really??!! Where these terrorists concerned about healing and bridge building when they blew up the building that killed my cousins( firefighters) and best friend ( and her unborn child)??? Please- how about what the people of NYC want and all of the families that were affected by this tragedy around the nation? Why do we have to accommodate this " healing" How about they build a memorial in their country and teach their children that what they did was wrong as an example, lead by example.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:22 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.