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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. andrew wang

    New York People must protest at the place where the mosque will build on tomorrow.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
  2. George

    If they do build that abomination you can be sure of one thing. It will have more CIA bugs than Carter has liver pills.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
  3. GroundZeroForMemorial

    Oh and not all Muslims are terrorists or support terrorists. Just like not all whites are skinheads or support skin heads. Or all Europeans are socialist or support socialism Or that all Americans are partiers or go to clubs etc..

    August 2, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  4. Islamics are Nuts

    Time to say "NO" to these Islamic wacko's. This is an another way of giving into terrorists. Yes to America, stand up and fight against this. Obama is as bad the rest of them, Stand Up America, don't give into Bin Laden and his crew.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
    • GroundZeroForMemorial

      While I do agree extremist Islamics are not worth spitting at regular Muslims are normal people.

      August 2, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
  5. GroundZeroForMemorial

    i am all for freedom of religion but seriously a mosque on ground zero. Wow that is really ironic. Painfully so. We should nto build anything religious on such a sensitive place. 100's of people lost their lives. I think it is like saying wow people fighting in the name of our religion (wrongly so) killed you people so lets build a mosque. No. Dedicate ground zero to a memorial a statue a brick pathway a museum or just lots of American pride. But please nothing else. That is a punch in the groin!

    August 2, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
  6. George

    I was an eye witness to the events in New York on 9/11/2001, and am 100% opposed to the building of a mosque anywhere in the United States, certainly not where they started the war. As a war act, I am asking our president and congress to halt immigration to the U.S. by Muslims. Please join our grassroots movement and write, email, or phone your legislators in Washington. Just today the enemy has announced their campaign to recruit lone wolf perpetrators of death to Americans. If you sit back and do nothing, some day you will be subject to Sharia law instead of the U. S. Constitution.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
    • LR

      Have you been to London or Paris recently? That's what New York will look like. I ate at a Lebanese restaurant ant the patrons looked like the wanted to kill me. It was very unsettling. I don't think the food poisoning my wife went through that night was a coincidence. Lovely bunch of people....

      August 2, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  7. Chris

    Show me a war of any kind that did not invoke religion at some point in time. All religions are responsible for the mayhem! The idea of building such a building so close to "ground zero" is insensitive, but must be allowed in order to preserve our rights, starting with the First Amendment.
    I don't like the idea either of this building, but believe more harm would be done if it wasn't built. Terrorism comes in many forms daily, from the bullies on the playgrounds with our children, to extremists of some religion or another, and even extends to our presidents past and future by virtue that someone will disagree with them and therefor target them as we have for any other agenda we did not approve of. Let us not forget that Christianity has had its dark days as well! We are all animals at our worst and the same animals at our best, no one is right and no one is wrong, we just simply disagree with a passion on what we perceive as right and wrong, based on the actions we idolize in some form or another. These idols have no power unless we give them it, in which case you are a sheep being led down a corrupt path in life.

    Learn to forget about the tragedies done to us and we will have stripped the control,and power from those who wish us harm!

    and if you cant bring peace get a bigger F*^King gun, after-all it is the American Way!

    August 2, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
  8. Iba

    You know, I'm agnostic for the most part, after years of searching for a true faith. I considered islam for quite a bit, took classes, read the quran, etc... have to say, that it is a most atrocious religion, both in terms of the hadiths and in terms of the results of its effect upon society. Once muslims sort out the issues in their own societies, show that they can achieve equal rights for all, human rights and freedom of religion, then and only then would I trust it enough in this country.

    Until that day, islam is nothing but an idealogy with more akin to nazism than to a peaceful religion. It must be fought, as German citizens should have been doing the 1930s. Remember that people, and do your homework before discussing freedom of religion issues, and recall that islam is NOT just a religion when examined.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:31 pm |
    • George

      Thank you for these most intelligent comments. Unfortunately most Americans are stupid. The best you can hope for is to rouse enough of them to look smart. Please email your legislators to enact a war measure halting all immigration to the U.S. by Muslims.

      August 2, 2010 at 9:48 pm |
    • 4thofJulybaby

      THANK YOU! So to the point.

      August 2, 2010 at 11:19 pm |
  9. Monica Gee

    Has it occurred to anyone that the Muslims that want the Mosque near the 9/11 site are being horrifically insensitive ? Where is the MUTUAL respect ? They should be help accountable to the same bar as everyone else. Being sensitive to the losses of others is simply an act of kindness. The fact that they are so insensitive speaks volumes. Move the mosque to another place until they learn some manners.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
    • 4thofJulybaby

      Hammer meet nail! All I keep hearing is 'tolerance' well where is their compassion?

      August 2, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
  10. Anam

    ...wow.....lets recall...what America was first used for by the Pilgrims...hmmmmm....i think the american text book says for "FREEDOM OF RELIGON" (they came to America to practice their own religon)....so let it be, no one has a right to tell a religious group to build here or there,....its just UNCONSTITUTIONAL....(we do still belive and follow that right...???)...look..bottom line is in every religion/culture/ethnic groups...their always people who are bad examples...doesnt mean that all people are the same....beside look at what media gave the all muslims a name "terrorist"....example i went around in my block talking to kids and adults and asked them what the word terrorist means and 8 out of 10 said "a muslim person" ...thats wrong and that discrimination.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
  11. RagnarMcRyan

    Liberals. The gov't should keep their filthy hands out of the free market and they have no say here. These people bought the building, let them make it into whatever they want. Stop regulating and stop trying to stifle growth. Jobs will be created as a result of this project. AMERICA!!!!1!!1!

    August 2, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
  12. IncorrectChange

    To FlyBoy who stated it isn't a mosque, but a community center... yeah, that's what their calling it now! In the beginning it was a mosque called the Cordoba Mosque. Cordoba was a pivotal battle during the Crusades that the muslims won. What do you think the symbolism is there?

    August 2, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
  13. BobInAZ

    Bernie, "are" not "is". BTW, in case you're wondering, "refudiate" is not a word in the English language. It's our "official" language in Arizona. I guess Sarah Palin can't come here.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
  14. Tamashi Shinto

    Lots of people making good arguments here. Yes as US citizens these people have the right to build this thing wherevre they want. But moslems must consider the sensitivities of the people before taking any step. Consider this, the place is being built by cordoba house, named after the city that was captured by moslems and seen as a conquest. This and the fact that historically mosques have been built on conquerd lands, combine these two and you simply cannot ignore the symbolism of this. As for people bleating nonsense abt McVeigh, he never claimed he was inspired by the church or his christian beleifs to bomb OK building. Whereas the thugs on 9/11 drew upon islam, infact even shouted alla, alla (as heard on transcripts). So if moslems want to build a bridge they shudnt do it in this place. Besides there arent many moslems in this particular area that ther is a stagerring need for a mosque at that place.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
  15. Just Truth

    These discussions always go the same way. The pro-Mosque people call everyone ignorant and talk that Islam=peace b.s and then try to say those against it have been brainwashed by the media. Well, when a religion is so blatantly violent and intolerant towards all those not part of it.....how is one suppose to think.

    I have no problem with people practicing w/e they want but we cant pretend that Islamification isnt real and isnt happening in so many places in the world. Way above i came across a comment that stated plenty i wouldve typed personally in regards to Islam and Sharia Law, nothing was said in it that was ignorant or anything but the replies the comment got would make one think the person was making up lies when they clearly werent.

    Try building a church in the majority of the Middle East. Some countries like the U.S' 'good friend' Saudi Arabia its banned completely. In others like Pakistan u may be able to build one, but expect to be accused of blasphemy for no reason at all and beaten to death by a mob while the police look the other way.

    Any realistic Muslim knows that this is an insult but wont speak up because they worry bout retributions from their own religion,,, thats Islam's flagship specialty to its followers–FEAR

    They can parade around this soft spoken Cordoba House representative on interviews talkin bout bettering relations between the West and Islam,, but how will the liberal public feel when they are watching blatant terrorists and everyday Anti-American muslims celebrating a victory on U.S soil right at the spot of their most successful attack on us?

    August 2, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
  16. Tom

    Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
  17. RagnarMcRyan

    FACT: There were Muslims who died as victims in the 9/11 attacks. FACT: Those Muslims had families. FACT: Mrs. Palin speaks for those families. FACT: Building this mosque is a slap in their face too.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
    • George

      The only reason there were Muslims killed on 9/11 was because they don't care who they kill, and in fact kill other Muslims every day of the week.

      August 2, 2010 at 9:53 pm |
  18. Drallig

    How can this center help build bridges when is already enraging so many people? They are already further away from building bridges than they were when they started. Once there was a public outcry they should have scrapped the plans out of common courtesy.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:15 pm |
    • Jane

      You're right...just like once there was public outcry against slavery the abolitionist movement should have scrapped their plans out of common courtesy. "What is popular is not always right. What is right is not always popular" -Jefferson

      August 3, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  19. Ruth in Ohio

    I think it is odd that you can not build a Church in any Muslim Country I am Catholic ,do you see a Catholic church in any Muslim Country?....what power do these people have in this Country of ours?

    August 2, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
    • nick2

      Don't you want to be better than them? Or would you rather pander to the bigots and join in a lusty rendition of 'Onward Christian Soldiers'?

      August 2, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  20. Karen

    This is a no brainer. NO MOSQUE near ground zero. Would Muslims allow ANY CHURCH to be built near their sites in their countries? I do not think so! This is purely insulting.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:13 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.