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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. the swede

    Sometimes common sense should take precedent over the stringent dedication to express all our freedom of speech/worship.....it's obviously in bad taste to build a islamic site on the grounds of a major terrorist attack carried out by muslim extremists. considering christians and jews are persecuted and villified across the Middle East it's astounding that Westerners will go to such ridiculous lengths to appease a very small group within their population. no wonder the struggle is being lost against this violent, intolerant religion

    August 2, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  2. Rita

    Just the fact that they see how much controversey this is causing and hell-bent on doing it anyway proves they are doing it to make an ugly statement.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
  3. Rob

    Didn't the 9/11 terrorists meet at a so called Islamic centers in Germany? Didn't Germany shut down several of such centers in the wake of 9/11 because they were in fact terrorist recruitment centers? Let's build a community center, sure, but not an Islamic one. If it is meant for all people then it should not be dedicated to a single religion.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
  4. Amadu Jalloh

    Another Muslim Center near the Capitol in Washington D C. What about electing a Muslim as president? Americans have to learn the hard to know that our five fingers weren't made equal. In how many muslim countries is a Christian Center build in the center city? Boooo for such idea in this country. Muslims are still chasing Americans everywhere.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
  5. jinn

    I have ready the Quran thoroughly, and I reject it as a religious doctrine. All one need do to see that the Quran is not a book from any God is read it. Hardly can anything be written that is more damaging to Islam than what is already written in the Quran itself.

    August 2, 2010 at 10:58 pm |
  6. randybidcaller

    Oh come on, if the muslims are such Great and caring people you would think that they would see the pain that this would cause those who lost loved ones there and choose not to build the mosque. How would you feel if you wife, daughter, mother, father, brother or whom ever was killed on 9/11 and everytime you wanted to go visit the site where they died you had to pass a church for the religion that was responsible? Granted, not all muslims are responsible for 9/11 but all those that were responsible were muslims. Now if you can't see how that would devastate some people then you have no heart.

    August 2, 2010 at 10:58 pm |
  7. Amadu Jalloh

    Build another muslim center near the White House for this country to be consider free country. Religious tolerence for muslims mean more Jihadist will come here and try to kill Americas.

    August 2, 2010 at 10:57 pm |
  8. Confused

    I don't understand – people have been complaining that Muslims do not stand up against the extremist, and now when they want to build a community center (that will involve inter faith programs and bridge building) people are complaining? The place is not on ground zero and can't even be seen from ground zero so that can't be an excuse. So what is it exactly that you want these people to do?

    August 2, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  9. EugeneH

    It was not Islam that attacked the WTC (twice), it was convoluted extremists believing themselves to be messengers of an ideal of hate not necessarily of the faith they believed in. One of the primary principles this country was founded upon was religious freedom. Let us not forget that in the least. Do not forget for even one minute what atrocities have been committed in the name of Judao-/Christianity in order to justify a reasonable protest to this particular house of worship. This entire debate smacks of hypocrisy.

    August 2, 2010 at 10:48 pm |
  10. Khalid

    I find it very sad that such generalizations are made concerning a religion, ethnic group, people etc. Fear of the unknow leads people to act irrational. If one educates themselves they will find so many similarities between all people than differences. The cultural center is not a threat in anyway.

    August 2, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
  11. GoldenRule

    Ignorance breeds hate, fear and paranoia

    Bin Laden is laughing at us because this is exactly what he wants – to turn the war on terror into a war on Islam......

    August 2, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
    • 4thofJulybaby

      No one is declaring a war on islam. The fact that the Cordoba group could care less about the obvious sensitivity to the proximity of our country's largest attack speaks volumes. Why can't they just say, you know what, we want to keep peace and will proudly build a little further away? They would then garner respect from the public. Clearly, their actions show they just don't give a hoot.

      August 2, 2010 at 10:58 pm |
    • GoldenRule

      If they were building it on ground zero, I would agree with you that they should think of the sensitivity, but it's being built 2 blocks away and can't even be seen from ground zero. So how far is far enough?

      August 2, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
    • 4thofJulybaby

      one mile would do- I'm not joking – far enough that most would not intentionally walk by and be reminded of the origins of the hi-jackers

      August 2, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
  12. Steve

    Sent: The following to Commisioner Robert Tierney of the NYC Landmark Preservation Commission

    Sir,

    A vote by the commission that allows a proposed muslim center and mosque at 45-47 Park Place will be a slap in the face to vast majority Americans. The people of this nation who weren't cheering for, or laughing at, the cities pain (fortunately the vast majority) but were praying, working, donating, and weeping for your citizens in 200 million ways WILL BE OFFENDED by such a decision.

    It is TRADITIONAL for Muslims to build Mosques on or near places of victory. Spit in our face and try to tell us it's raining and you'll create an entire country that will care less about the problems of NY City in the future.

    TERRORISTS WILL LAUGH on the day you do this to an entire nation. You hearten them, and you are not only responsible for an insult to the entire country, you will be responsible for the deaths of America's military men and women wherever you've encouraged them.

    Draw the line.

    Sincerely and without remorse,

    Steven Alan Stout

    August 2, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
  13. Blinky Bill

    maybe. the right thing to do though is be tolerant. The fact is there are more peaceful muslims out there than suicide bombing types.

    August 2, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      I agree. BUT, provide balance, proof of our nation's tolerance for difference in faiths, such as a multi faith center. Can't have THAT, can't have the mosque, as they've tipped an extremist hand.
      Permit it on both sides and we show the world that the USA *IS* better than they, as WE continue to follow our faith and traditions, unlike they do when they're blowing up mosques.

      August 2, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
    • er

      I like tolerance, but have some thought of the 9/11 families who are heart broken by this.

      August 2, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
    • 4thofJulybaby

      Tolerance? Where is their compassion – obviously out the window. They can build anywhere. Why, with all the pain people are expressing, do they insist on twisting the knife? I now have no respect for this cult.

      August 2, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
  14. Karen

    Absurd issue. Would we here in Oklahoma City want Christian centers and churches banned from some perimeter around the Murrah Building? How ridiculous.

    August 2, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
    • er

      ridiculous comparison.

      August 2, 2010 at 10:48 pm |
  15. Blinky Bill

    Would extremist Muslims blow up a mosque?

    August 2, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Would extremist Baptists blow up a church or abortion clinic?

      August 2, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
  16. BMaryland

    Anybody remember how fear of retaliation impacted the show "South Park"? Much as it bothers me to admit this, I hate that religion........and as a liberal I hate to say that, but it is honest. Uncomfortable. But how do we continue to open our door while at the same time stopping threats here and there? How many fundamentalists that hate us are there? What percentage think that it is their duty to kill us? It just seems crazy to me. Yet we open our country, our colleges, etc., etc.

    August 2, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  17. king

    I cannot believe that any red-blooded AMERICAN would ever even consider letting a mosque or muslim center (or whatever they want to call it) be built anywhere close to ground zero! This is an outrage and would be a slap in the face. No one that thinks this is a good idea can honestly consider themselves an AMERICAN – no way!

    August 2, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      I'm a "red blooded American". Indeed, I'll say I'm more red blooded than YOU are, as I am retired Army after 27+ years. I've been deployed for nearly 5 years in the conflict zone.
      I also lost buddies in this war. I lost a friend in one tower, a cousin in another.
      *I* say build it. AND a multi faith center in the same area, very close. Not as disrespect to one faith, but to show those butt munchers are wrong and we ARE better than they are because WE can be tolerant of those who have different faiths.
      While YOU would PROVE Osama right.

      August 2, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  18. Larold Rebhun

    So, we are supposed to be tolerant of a religion that portends to kill all non believers? When pressed on this point, they turn the tables and claim to be a peaceful religion. What a slippery faith. Nobody is ordained. Nobody speaks for them. They kill their own sects, so are we supposed to respect the freedoms they would deny others? What the he'll is wrong here? This political correctness is going to cause more lives.

    August 2, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  19. jack spratis

    No HELL No !!, no more Muslim trophy displays built at the scene of this historic Muslim terrorist crime.
    These people are very proud of their accomplishment - they often build mosques at the scene of their victories - Wake up America before it is too late !! These folks are very deceptive in their motives.

    August 2, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  20. wr8280

    Building a mosque is just inflammatory both to Musslims and Americans. It's polarizing. I am a Christian, like many Americans, and if a wacko nut job Baptist had flew a plane into an abortion clinic I would be opposed to them building a Baptist church there as well.

    August 2, 2010 at 10:22 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.