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. Ruth in Ohio

    Building this mosque on this land WILL NOT bring people together it will only pull them apart more....people do not like the muslim people ,this will never change, at least not in my lifetime.....muslims are taught to hate Americans from the time they are born...if you took a vote right now 90% of Americans would be against this.....would Bloomberg have wanted this the day after 9/11, to build a mosque,I think not....

    August 2, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
    • mac

      I find what you say interesting. I am Muslim, yet I was never told that I should hate America, or Christians, by either my parents, friends, family or anyone else I know. I live in Turkey, which is like 98% Muslim, and yet, while not all, many people like America, and like Americans. None of my friends hate America, although many believe Americans are quite ignorant. In some cases they are right, in some cases not. I lived in USA for four years and I would still refrain from saying anything about "all Americans", good or bad. So, I was just wondering, where do you get this idea that "all muslims hate america"? That's a quite a ridiculous statement...and a false one too....

      Also I would just like to mention that most Americans are descendants of immigrants. So, I find all this "go where you came from" talk really funny!!!! Almost all Americans came from somewhere else.... Perhaps we should say that ALL those who do not like the main values of USA (such as equality and freedom of religion), should go back where they came from, where ever that is (Italy, Ireland, Holland, Spain, Germany, Yemen, Norway, China, Japan, Pakistani, Mexico, India, Turkey, Poland, Russia.....).
      ( I don't think anyone should be sent anywhere, just trying to point out the ridiculous nature of the argument....)

      August 3, 2010 at 5:24 am |
  2. James Edd

    Aren't Muslims and Christians following the same God? I know the Bible and Quran differ in a lot of aspects but when it comes down to it aren't they worshiping the same God? If so then killing people in the name of God is all the same, whether it be Muslim or Christian. The crusades were wrong as is the way Muslims kill innocent people...but it is all terrorism. Please correct me if I am wrong. The only difference is Muslims see all Americans as Christian dogs and hold us all accountable for the few. Is it not the same as the peaceful Muslim calling attention to the fact that there are extremists and not all Muslims are terrorists? America is full of all religions and all kinds of people. So to blame all for the actions of some goes both ways. Extremists attack anywhere they find Americans, Americans attack only where they believe extremists are. America tries not to kill Innocent people, thought it happens, but it isn't the same for the other. That is why Americans have a hatred for the Muslim world. Don't get me wrong...I find the American govt to be corrupt and full of crap, but we as Americans don't have much say in the way our military acts.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
    • Iba

      The issue James is that the idealogy of islam specifically calls for the subjugation of other religions and other people. Practiced in its 'perfect form' (since the religion cannot be altered because it is perfect, and its claim to fame is that every other religion is a corrupted form of islam,) islam CREATES discrimination, the very thing we aim to fight in this country.

      Christianity and Judaism that shown that they can evolve and be modern religions. Islam has NOT. Once it does, I will be all for it. However, it has centuries of development to go before it gets to that point, and I for one am not willing to risk my hard won rights as a woman on the alter of religious diversity.

      August 2, 2010 at 9:40 pm |
  3. mike

    nick man you need to get a grip on reality

    August 2, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
  4. mike

    You sure your not me because i could have sworn i said the very same things just the other day while in discussion with my four, 20plus , children and other friends at the B>Q.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:03 pm |
  5. nick2

    what an absurdly intolerant person you are. This was not an act of Islam, but the action of a tiny group of terrorists. You should rise up against intolerance instead of all the values that we Americans stand for. Actually, I put you in the same class as the terrorists – bigots, blindly lashing out with misplaced anger, and above all pretty ignorant of the facts. And yet you have the audacity to twist and smear, and vent your hideous hatred with that preachy video. You are on the wrong side – we don't want your kind, we don't need trouble makers. Crawl back under your sanctimonious rock and pull your head out of your posterior.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
  6. Popeye

    what's the mafia's 911 number?

    August 2, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
  7. dave

    Asking for respect to be shown is one thing, but for the gov't to say that you can not build your mosque (knowing, of course, that that isn't what it is) would be a clear and obvious violation of the 1st amendment. This should be a conservative issue, too. Every person who has ever claimed to be proud of being an American should be OUTRAGED at the very idea that the government could say "NO, you can't worship, here."

    August 2, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
    • George

      How many of those so called "worshipers" do you think will be smirking and winking and nodding glances of satisfaction, as they move to their little rooms in the mosque to plot how to kill the most Americans possible?

      August 2, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
    • 4thofJulybaby

      Give me a break. Town planning and zoning boards regulate everything that is built – where and how. That goes for cities, too.

      August 2, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
    • Butch

      Build a Muslim Community Center somewhere else - in Afghanistan or something. And ship to Afghanistan the Muslims bloggers on this site supporting the center, etc.

      August 3, 2010 at 1:50 am |
  8. Greg

    Let me know when you plan on pulling out the crosses at the OKC memorial, because Mcveigh was a christian after all so I will be waiting for them to come down too..

    August 2, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
  9. Anti-Islam

    Just got back from an extended trip to Saudi, Yemen, and Iraq. When new of this piece of crap mosque started to hit the news outlets in these countries, people were saying this is the beginning of islam taking over the U.S. The average person in the streets say that we, as Americans, can not stop the spread of islam because we are a week people. islam and the middle east are the armpit of the world. They are sub-humans that have no place in modern society. How can you deal with somebody that wipes his ass with his bare hand?

    August 2, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
    • nick2

      Shake his other hand.

      August 2, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
    • Shane

      .....stone women to death for alledged adultery, mercy killings to protect honor, restrict education of girls. Come on America, line up for your "dirty sanchez"

      August 2, 2010 at 9:14 pm |
  10. Chaos

    >>>Amanda's another idiot parroting the liberals new view that only came about because a Conservative first brought the issue up. If a drunk driver killed your child and a beer company wanted to put a billboard on the site where it happened you would ask that some respect be shown and the billboard be moved somewhere else<<<

    Rita's another idiot who ignores the fact that the response is against those who are seeking a ban as opposed to those making a request

    August 2, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
  11. Stop Islam

    No mosque near ground zero or anywhere in USA . End of discussion.

    August 2, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
  12. Marinein SD

    It's interesting how everyone says these people have a right to develop that site. Liberals for the longest use the law to their advantage. They screamed and yelled about second hand smoke and now smokers are a pariah just nearly everywhere. Don't smokers have a right to smoke wherever they please? After all this is America! What about the abortion argument? A woman has the right to choose if she wants to end a life, right? How about hate crimes? Shouldn't every crime be a hate crime? My point is this...I do understand that in America we enjoy many freedoms, and religious freedom is one of them, however. When something is presented in the name of religious freedom, no matter what religion it is, and this subject creates such an outcry of pain, hurt, anger, or whatever, then it should not be allowed. There are MANY, MANY other places around NYC that they can build this facility. I'm not asking why, nor do I care why, but I do care that Ground Zero, and the vicinity around it is somewhat sacred property now. I do not believe in denying anyone their God given rights, however, this is the same reason we have problems in the middle east, at some point in time we have to stop and do something that is right and brings us together versus continually tearing us apart. We had enough of that under G-Dubb, personally I think a compromise should be in order. The developer wants a place to put a community center in Manhattan, why doesn't the city proppse another site that all can be happy with? But I do think that we should stop hating on one another and maybe try to find a solution to this issue. No matter what anyone says, Ground Zero is sacred to many Americans, hell, even some people from overseas, so what do we do?

    August 2, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • mike

      i agree

      August 2, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
  13. Jeff

    If this Islamic Center will cause more pain to the families of the victims then it is because of those families' intolerance and hate. That's their problem to overcome, not Muslims or anyone else.

    August 2, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • 4thofJulybaby

      How compassionate, just like the Cordoba group

      August 2, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
  14. Greg

    Let me know when you plan on pulling out the crosses at the OKC memorial, because Mcveigh was a christian after all.

    August 2, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
  15. Kevin

    i didn't know there was sand in NY for them to build it on..Plus isn't it expensive to park a camel in NY... i sure know it's not cheep to park my AMERICAN MADE SUV there.......

    August 2, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
  16. mike

    We see it every day our leaders are so wishy washy on all subjects the only thing they know how to do is cash those big checks they get for selling out our country to the highest bidder.Nothing ever happens in AMERICA unless some corporation can make a few million dollars off it.

    August 2, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  17. Bobby

    I believe tha they should build an International Plaza of Peace for all religions and nations.. What a good example for the Muslim community to build a Multi-Religious building , open to all faiths. This would communicate love and respect for ALL religions by the Muslim Community. The people of New York would welcome this generous and healing act. Than maybe someone could donate another building uptown for a Muslim Community Center.. These acts of respect and kindness could spread around the world.. who knows PEACE may even breakout on this planet!

    August 2, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
    • George

      I hope you don't believe that the proposed mosque in New York is open to all faiths. OH My God, get real. Anything that isn't a Muslim is an infidel.

      August 2, 2010 at 9:58 pm |
  18. nomoregbldgk

    You don't know the first thing about it onlyl repeating what you see on tv and youtube. Get Smart UFO Human Link ...The Secret of Min

    August 2, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
  19. Bairkus

    To Jubril:

    Who? The one's who danced in the streets for joy when the twin towers fell down. Do you not remember?

    August 2, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
  20. John Atta

    All muslims must be sent back across the ocean. All who remain and are caught must be treated as war criminals. If any Americans claim to be muslim, we ship them out or imprison them. muslim is a plague upon the earth. It must be eradicated. It's so obvious, and yet you simpletons can't see it. the fools who give quarter to them will be the first to feel their knife. God save us... oh, wait... I'm agnostic. So sorry the ol' Jesus vs. Mohammed argument doesn't fly here... A plague. They are at war with us. Is there no limit to what we're willing to endure to preserve freedom of religion??? Death of our society and our daughters???

    August 2, 2010 at 8:48 pm |
    • George

      Please join our grassroots movement and email , call , write, you legislators in Washington to halt immigration of Muslims to America. Do the math, someday your descendants will live under Sharia law unless we do something now. It is not an act against their so called religion, but a necessary war measure. This war will never end.

      August 2, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
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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.