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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. Alaiq

    America is becoming one of the most racist country in the world. Muslims have 200 years of history in Ground Zero Manhattan. If they are taking the rights of Muslims, then, there, should be no Church or Synagogues either in that area if we are talking about justice, equality, human rights and democracy. No Mosques, No Churches and No Synagogues or we should allow all over them.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:04 am |
    • chris

      correction, america is the most racist place in the world. but it's also the place with the most races... call it a side effect of the melting pot

      August 3, 2010 at 12:13 am |
  2. i2i

    There are currently over 100 mosques in New York City - clearly not a shortage. That the Muslim investors have chosen the closest available real estate to the site of the WTC is no mere coincidence. For Muslims, this construction [so very near what is now hallowed ground for us] would be seen as the hand of Allah moving against the infidels. A victory for Islam. If we ever hope to honor our 2752 innocent dead then we must NOT allow this abomination to be built. No mosque. Not now. Not ever.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:02 am |
    • DangerMouse

      Sorry, but I don't buy your premise. What makes you think the WTC site is "hallowed" ground? Religious nuts flew planes into a few buildings and killed a bunch of people, so what? I certainly do NOT identify our country with a couple of buildings in downtown NY. I identify our country with the WHOLE country.
      As to the internal opinions of a bunch of religious nuts – who cares? They can claim victory over eating dirt if they want.

      I don't think you are seeing how similar you are acting compared to those terrorist fellas.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:19 am |
    • i2i

      @DangerMouse - Believe me, I wasn't trying to sell anything to the likes of you. The truth is, you and I share no common ground and your opinion means nothing to me. But good effort. I'm going back to my House M.D. marathon now. Good night.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:35 am |
    • Emma the Grey

      What on earth are you talking about? You know that Muslims died on 9/11 too, right? You know that this has nothing to do with Islam, but with some angry nutters looking for an excuse to hate, sort of like the people who kill abortion doctors, right? Now, suddenly, the fact that people use religion as an excuse to hate and kill is an issue, when it has been used that way for centuries?

      August 3, 2010 at 12:52 am |
  3. Khalid

    Selena the muslims did not attack the US it was radical fundamentals every religion has them. They do not represent muslims.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:00 am |
  4. Raj

    NO MOSQUE PLEASE!!! This will be direct assault on the sensibility and core values of civilized world. The ideology propogated by Islam or alteast what seen in present world does not gel at all with freedom, peace loving civilized world. At best it can be described as medieval age, primitive, berber, creates hatred, violence and in-human nature. This ideology cannot be represented anywhere near the ground zero. Today if one notices, whereever this ideology is present, it has created in-human , violent living condition, whether be it Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Gaza etc.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  5. DangerMouse

    "freedom of religion" should not mean "anything goes" – yet that's what always happens.
    I would much rather have "freedom FROM religion", since none of the ones we have are worth the toilet paper they're written on...

    Let them build the silly thing.
    It's New York, isn't it? Aren't New Yorkers up to the challenge?
    Or have they gone soft in the head?

    I mean, New York...come on...

    August 2, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
  6. Yorkie

    Yorkie here again.
    Religion is at the root of all evil!

    August 2, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
  7. 4thofJulybaby

    Maybe, just maybe, as the 'newcomers' they can show a little respect for the populace, and I'll say it again – COMPASSION – and politely announce that they will glaly build further away from the site. Thus, instead of creating pain, alleviating it.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
  8. 4thofJulybaby

    Utopia does not exist. Once you live a little longer, you will understand.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
  9. Paul NYC

    First of all, I've lived in New York my entire life and pretty much think that anyone who doesn't should keep quiet about what isn't their business. You don't see me complaining about buildings in East Southboro or West Northboro or wherever in the sticks people live so I'd appreciate if people who otherwise hate New York and all New Yorkers would leave us alone. The one thing that people outside of New York don't seem to grasp is that this city is all about its diversity. I can walk down the street and see dozens of different ethnicities or cultures and think of them as quintessentially New York. People who live in towns where they've been for thirty years and have never met a Jew or Korean or Pakistani just don't seem to understand why we New Yorkers don't seem to give it a second thought. Heck, we readily grab bits and pieces of each other's cultures and languages for ourselves and bring them into the New York culture.

    The Muslims who live here are New Yorkers just as much as I am and I back them up 100%. It doesn't matter how many times people reiterate that it isn't a mosque, the chorus of morons on the right just keep saying it like they've sustained a head injury or something. You come to this city, then you're a New Yorker and you better act like it. You don't want to, then get the hell out. That goes double for people in Bumtickle, KY who probably don't even know where New York is.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
    • 4thofJulybaby

      Geez Paul, as a fellow NYer, go get your head examined on this one.

      August 2, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
  10. Ian

    9/11 can't be attributed to the Muslim religion anymore then any act of terrorism commited by a Christian can be blamed on Christianity. If your going to discriminate against all Muslims for being Muslim then at least have the spine to admit what your doing.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
  11. Steve

    Freedom of Religion?

    August 2, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
  12. Matt

    In the interest of building bridges, lets build a few Christian churches and Jewish temples in Iran, Saudia Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq, et al. Lets see how far you can get with that. Lets see how that is accepted by the good people of Islam.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
  13. James

    Replied to wrong post. Think about all the terrorist acts committed currently. Is it just a coincidence that the VAST majority are committed in the name of Islam? I know that these are committed by extremists but the writings of Islam (not just the Koran) are filled with militant attitudes and a huge amounts of direct quotes against Christians and Jews and anyone else who is not Muslim. Heaven forbid you leave Islam, it is then the duty of Muslims to kill you.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
  14. Khalid

    Yes the swede it most certainly would. Do you think it is wise to emulate such ignorance?

    August 2, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
  15. Reality

    What drove the Islamic attack on the USA? The koran, Mohammed's mythical passages he mythically received from mythical Gabriel. Three thousand innocent civilians died that day and all because of the hallucinations of a crazed, religious fanatic and long dead Arab. Eliminate the horror of the koran and then we can talk about mosque locations. Until then, Muslim males should not be allowed on airplanes or any where near large population areas.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
  16. Khalid

    There is a great deal of ignorance being displayed here. As the saying goes there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Fear results in irrational behavior and ugly hatred.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
    • 4thofJulybaby

      Where is the compassion of the good Muslim people? Why so insistant on this site when seeing the pain it is creating?

      August 2, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
    • castmembersonly

      The only "ugly hatred" is the poison spread by your "kill the infidel" religion. Your philosophy is a cancer and you are too miserable to ever know what it means to and live in the light of love and freedom.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:31 am |
  17. FreedomOfThought

    "As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

    -President John Adams

    This is the land of the FREE people, let's get that straight. This is not a Christian nation, or a Jewish, or Muslim, but a nation of people who are allowed to worship as they wish. So what if there is an Islamic center NEAR ground zero? St. Peter's Church and St. Pauls are literally across the street. So you've got your non-Muslim churches to balance it out. Think about the positive statement it would make to Muslims worldwide who view Americans as hating all Muslims(apparently not so far fetched by some comments made here). We are supposed to be a nation of tolerance, and millions of us are serving to uphold that greatness about our country.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:18 pm |
  18. Reality

    What drove the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Then we can talk about the placement of mosques and what is taught therein. Until then, no male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
  19. Highlander97

    To Amanda,
    Yes, I have read the Koran. I had too. I used to have a Turkish girlfriend, and the Koran was required reading for me at the time. Maybe it is you who needs to learn how to read. LOL! I going to sleep now, I'm not going to debate with you ignorant people.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
  20. Big Al

    Just a few feet outside both Auschwitz death camp and Dachau concentration camp are convents. Why aren't the Muslims allowed to place a shrine where THEY committed mass murder? Isn't it only fair that they get the same privilege that the Christians enjoy?! Man, talk about tyour double standards!

    August 2, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
    • 4thofJulybaby

      Because catholic nuns didn't create death camps. The Nazi's were not Christians, Big Al – they were followers of the occult and super natural. Know your history or you're destined to repeat it...

      August 2, 2010 at 11:55 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.