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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. Nick2

    A breath of commonsense goes a long way in deflating the pomposity and prepostorous agenda of those who would equate Islam with terrorism. Ignorance is not cool – it is downright stupid.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  2. usa kc

    this should not be built it is rediculaus. i care for muslims as anyone else but this should not be built. the hatred on both sides should stop isreal is the prob on both sides watch the movie where in the world is osama bi laden a good movie shows muslims and how they feel about 911 and usa and other stuff to dont think all muslims should be punished or anything but this should not be built on near or even 2blocks from ground zero slap in the facew for those who died 911

    August 3, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  3. Any

    Well Yes! Mosque Must be built so that the World Should Know who are victorious.Islam Is pioneer of all religions! B/w who attacked WTC Towers were not muslims those people had no religion keep this in mind Our religion never told about to attack or destroy any ones property like what you call them! Not everyone is same and every religion teaches about peace and love so as Islam does.Islam is The Greatest Religion of the world

    August 3, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  4. Mikael Tesfaye

    I am an Orthodox Christian...At the end of the day the process was done through probably the same people who were in some type of government positions in NY when 911 happened, lawfully. so the media fueled focus on a mosque is amazing to me . What happened on Sept. 11 was the work of "extremist" according to our government, NOT by Islam. As Americans we have the right to practice our religions anywhere, no one should go through this much hate to do so, just because a few crumbs from the loaf claim it is on be-half of Islam that they commit violent acts. Sometimes we get hotheaded for the moment and this will like everything else will blow over.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  5. Tasha

    If they were so "peaceful" they would not be killing each other and killing thousand of families everyday. They hate us so why so we give them a place to worship? To continue to hate and try to destroy our way of life? Absolutely ridiculous. I do not hate Muslims, because they are not all terrorists, i got to college with a lot of Muslim women, they are great but i do not think this is fair to the rest of Americas who are struggling with a war, where friends and family are trying to save our country. People like the ACLU are part of the problem and our government trying to be political correct about everything. Where is America? Where are our beliefs? Why should WE have to adhere to any of these non-Americas? Do they raise out flag?

    August 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  6. tyt999

    Welcome to Islamic Republic of America. Pray 5 times a day & wear Veil. Obey to orders of Imam.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  7. Anuj

    I am passionately against the idea of building a mosque / Muslim community center at this site. It is NOT the same thing as building a church or synagogue there. This would be a victory for the terrorists who led the attack. I am NOT a xenophobe, nor am I anti-Muslim. Some of my best friends in this world are Muslim. It is simply disrespectful to build a monument to Islam at the very site where thousands of people died in the name of Islam. There is nothing wrong with a Muslim community center or mosque in theory. But the background of the imam is suspicious, the name of it being the Cordoba House is suspicious, and as I mentioned, the location is disrespectful. Plus a majority of New Yorkers, as well as a majority of the victims' families, are against the idea. It does not matter to me that the politicians are supporting it. Politicians are politicians. Mayor Bloomberg does not want to become unpopular with the Muslim community. The fact remains that building the Cordoba House is a crime against New York, against the United States, and against all victims of terrorism.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  8. Awan Umer

    I am a muslim , i live in Pakistan, After reading all these hateful comments i came to a conclusion that most of the Americans donot know anything clear about islam and whats happening with muslims around the world and pakistan. You people dont know that christians and muslims live like brothers in pakistan, Islam teaches us to live peacefully with peace full non-muslims. Islam never says us to kill innocent peoples , A muslim is not a muslim if he or she doesnot have faith on jesus and he or she dont have faith that Jesus is a God's prophet.

    Do you people know whats happening in pakistan? Let me tell you as a Pakistani:

    Some extremist who are calculating Islam's teaching wrongly , Using Islams name to black mail young muslims who are weak on there religions teaching did what happened on 9/11. These "said muslims " are hated by muslims all around the world same as every christian hates them .

    When a Muslim Imam wome you say Sheikh gives a statement that Thesecruel peoples are not muslims as they are killing innocent peoples for no reason , They just kill that imam , Its practically happening in Pakistan. Pakistani army is fighting against these terrorists known as muslim extremists, Thousands of pakistan Army men are killed in this fight within Pakistan . These Cruel Extremist are killing so many Muslims within pakistan , they are blasting bombs inside mosques in pakistan , they are trying to forcly implement there wrong description of islam on all muslims – Let us all around the world , despite of any religion , stand against those extremist by uniting ourselves against terrorism and extremists , NOT AGAINST ANY RELIGION .

    People around the world are just watching muslims with one eye. come on guys we all are human first , we should fight for humanity , we should not fight and have long debates about degrading each others religion as all the religions teach peace .

    I hope every human will understand what i said and wanted to say and will support a human beside he is a muslim or christian , to fight against terrorism as we all are the victim of terrorism , there is no christian or hindu or jewish alone a victim and by the way Muslims are the biggest victims of terrorism by the "extremist muslims" who are ruining peacefull muslims around the world especially in pakistan.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
    • Anuj

      It makes me laugh when people say "Islam teaches us to be peaceful." The Quran does mention peace and tolerance. But much more than that, it emphasizes killing non-Muslims. We cannot live in denial of that. It would be great for the Muslim community to stand up and reject those parts of the Quran (and other Islamic scriptures) that are hateful and violent. It is not helpful when people claim that the texts preach peace and tolerance, beacuse that is a massive distortion of reality.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
    • Anuj

      It makes me laugh when people say "Islam teaches us to be peaceful." The Quran does mention peace and tolerance. But much more than that, it emphasizes killing non-Muslims. We cannot live in denial of that. It would be great for the Muslim community to stand up and reject those parts of the Quran (and other Islamic scriptures) that are hateful and violent. It is not helpful when people claim that the texts preach peace and tolerance, because that is a massive distortion of reality.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  9. Tigeress

    Build anywhere else. Using this site to me shows a lack of respect for the family and friends of those that died there.
    How far away is the closest Fire House? Bet they don't want to answer a call to them if they get one.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:23 am |
    • tyt999

      Muslims are going as per their plan made by Osama-bin-Laden. It is/was Osama-bin-Laden's last wish to build a Mosque there!

      August 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  10. Simisola Adeleye

    I feel as though this whole thing is stupidity.. Most amaerican are foolish to think just because someone is muslim means that they are terrorits!! Most of them came to this country for freedom of religion and people have the audacity to condem them.. though i understand the worries that maybe this maybe a set up.. but i doubt that! they just want their own building and a place to worship in peace!

    August 3, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  11. arc

    I am very surprised by so many apposing such project as they are blaming Islam for what happened in 9/11! If I am going to buy the story about the 9/11 as all American understand it not as a conspiracy! Islam is against killing innocent people of all mankind! Instead of blaming Muslim for what happened you should blame Bush administration and previous and current administration for terrorizing the whole world and spread killing everywhere! What happened in 9/11 is only a reaction of what those people have suffering and the hundreds of thousands are getting killed by US smart rockets. There is more than 10 million Muslim in the US and they are part of it like you and they do contribute and build the country as you do so let's not take something from them.

    August 3, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  12. steven

    nothing much to say...only silly people will come out this stupid suggestion...religion shouldn't exist at first place it just bring more misery and suffering to this world..

    August 3, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  13. FrankLW

    Why must I read your book at all?!

    If I make up some mumbo jumbo book of ideas and rules, even if I get a bunch of people to revere them, that still gives me no right whatsoever to demand anyone else pay any attention to it at all.

    I have deep meaning and happiness in every second of my life and have no need for your "prophet" so just keep it to yourself, regardless how much you like him and want to share him, or how much he's commanded you to convert the infidels.

    August 3, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  14. Dixie

    I'm speechless. How utterly insensitive to the innocent people who lost their lives and their famalies who will never get over what happened to their loved ones. Build a mosque, but build it elsewhere. What are you thinking? Incomprehensible, outrageous and just plain stupid!!

    August 3, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  15. FrankLW

    If a fundamentalist Muslim center cannot be built near Ground Zero then one cannot be built anywhere else. Hmm…now that’s an idea.

    And this IS a fundamentalist Muslim center since its Imam “spiritual leader”, Feisal Abdul Rauf, after 9/11 said “United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened” and he refuses to condemn the mass murdering Hamas terror organization that targets civilians and celebrates their murder.

    If though, those views are considered mainstream and not “fundamentalist” Islam then, yes, mainstream Muslim centers should not be allowed anywhere.

    August 3, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  16. markus

    It's all a very cruel practical joke against the American people. These leaders in the US couldn't care less about it's people. First off, the Al Qaida threat against America/west is a joke. It's a made up villain by leaders in the UK and US to pretend there is a threat against your security to diverce your attention at another direction, just like an professional illutionist. The Bin Laden family is friends with the leaders, and that's a fact. 9/11 was a (cruel) joke. They made up a extremely strange story with a lot of loose ends and contradictions, just to prove people are stupid enough to not make their own conclutions and just believe anything the government says. For example, how could they possibly blow up buildning 7 in a controlled demolition just in a few ours after the planes crashed? Such mission takes several days or weeks to prepare. It's just impossible! It's all a big scam!!

    August 3, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  17. blah

    Americans need to take a better look at history outside of its borders. The Spanish, for example, would not let the symbolism of the Cordoba name escape them. This will be a muslim military trophy – a structure to honor those who are considered martyrs in their attack of the west. It will be the modern day equivalent for the radical muslims of a Trojan horse. While it may serve the community – particularly for those muslims making use of the mosque – as a place to congregate; we as westerners tend not to apply the symbolism to things that others cultures do, and as such, we are completely missing the importance this will have to the radical muslim movement.

    August 3, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  18. markus

    Don't you get it? It's all a very cruel practical joke against the American people. These leaders in the US couldn't care less about it's people. First off, the Al Qaida threat against America/west is a joke. It's a made up villain by leaders in the UK and US to pretend there is a threat against your security to diverce your attention at another direction, just like an professional illutionist. The Bin Laden family is friends with the leaders, and that's a fact. 9/11 was a (cruel) joke. They made up a extremely strange story with a lot of loose ends and contradictions, just to prove people are stupid enough to not make their own conclutions and just believe anything the government says. For example, how could they possibly blow up buildning 7 in a controlled demolition just in a few ours after the planes crashed? Such mission takes several days or weeks to prepare. It's just impossible! It's all a big scam!!

    August 3, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  19. Disgusted

    It honestly scares me how Americans are like sheep following the herd. No one chooses to investigate 9/11 further, they simply take what the government tells them (even though there are so many inconsistencies in their explanations), and they follow it blindly. In regards to this mosque being built, why would it even be called into question? By condemning this mosque, they would be condemning a religion and I thought Americans had the freedom to choose a religion without discrimination. So if a Christian man kills a child of a family, there will be a meeting held as to whether or not a church can be built near that family? It makes no sense... and besides, where is the proof that these men actually did take part in the attacks on the World Trade Center? Ever heard of the plan that was proposed to Kennedy to kill their own American people and place the blame on Cuba so they could invade? Look it up, that's the history no one hears about...

    August 3, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  20. Satish

    Come to India, the country that suffered the most from Islamic invasions over centuries. Islam has created the most strife in the world.

    Muslim invaders would destroy temples during their invasions (remember what Taliban did to Bamiyan Buddhas) and build mosques in their place, rubbing the invasion in the faces of the invaded people with that of the conquering religion's mosques.

    The mosque coming up at Ground Zero follows the same principle. Don't ever let this disease send down roots into your country, you will be wiped out in the end.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:56 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.