August 3rd, 2010
10:14 AM ET

Panel denies landmark status for Islamic center and mosque site near ground zero

From CNN Senior Correspondent Allan Chernoff in New York:

New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission denied landmark status Tuesday for a building at the site of a proposed Islamic center and mosque near ground zero.

The commissioners voted unanimously against landmark status for 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 the former site of the World Trade Center.

While the public vote was the focus of much debate about the planned Islamic center and mosque, the commission could not have prevented the developers from building such a community center. The commission, by designating the building a landmark, could only have prevented Soho Properties from demolishing the building or significantly altering its exterior.

There is a prayer site in the building currently, so Muslims are peacefully praying in the building already.

"We will continue going forward with the project. It's a project that will build bridges," said Oz Sultan, spokesman for the Cordoba Initiative, the organization behind the planned center. It says the group is "committed to promoting positive interaction between the Muslim world and the West."

Cordoba opposed 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," Palin said last month on her Twitter account.

The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that battles anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, is asking that the Islamic center and mosque be built farther 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," the organization said in a written statement.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission pointed out prior to its decision that it would have 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 the home of a Burlington Coat Factory retailer, 45-47 Park Place was completed in 1858. The Landmarks Commission described 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' • Houses of worship • Interfaith issues • Islam • Mosque • Muslim • New York • United States

soundoff (1,819 Responses)
  1. Lee Sinclair

    If it ever was to be build, wait for the time that a lot of them are inside and then bomb it.
    See how they like it.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:45 am |
    • Robert

      Ah.. So bomb people who were not involved with any terrorist attack.

      Uh... because that'll show them...?

      August 3, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  2. Aqib


    August 3, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  3. Marc

    Palestine is not a country Tom.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  4. myteemouse

    "This is unreal! They should be able to build a mosque here, especially 2 blocks from Ground Zero, when WE are allowed to build a Synague in Mecca!!!!"

    Or maybe when "We" learn to spell the word synagogue? Sheesh, if you are going to just parrot the hate you hear (as so many uneducated idiots do), at least mask your ignorance by spelling properly.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  5. Denis

    This comment seciton is full of trolls. Half the people here are just trying to make other people angry for fun. Please realize this lol.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  6. Malcom

    Jason-Actually you're the idiot. Non-believers are allowed into heaven, The pure hearted ones are. Do you research before you act wise and call out people. Racist.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:45 am |
    • Jason

      Oh really, malcolm? Why dont you show me proof from the bibile?

      August 3, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  7. Robert

    This is a non-issue.

    I find it troubling the immediate association so many politicians make between islam and terrorism. I see a lot of "I don't see churches in Saudi Arabia" and similar sentiments. This is ridiculous.

    These are AMERICANS building a religious and cultural center in America. Point closed.

    What will the terrorists think if they see this? They think we live in a much tolerant and better country than they do.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  8. IslamRules

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  9. whatsthat

    I'm not the one who will be required to ware a burka nor will I be the one getting stoned to death for infidelity, I'm really too old to have to live under the new world order, good luck with your PC correctness. Ignorance is bliss.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:42 am |
    • ConnieVee

      I totally agree with the one that said was to old to live under the new world order. I thank God everyday for that. God help all of you.

      August 3, 2010 at 11:58 am |
    • Jason

      new world order? muslims like treated like crap every where. how will muslims create their own world order?

      August 3, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
  10. Leslie

    I am wondering when, or if, all those here who are implying that all Muslim are responsible and accountable for the attacks carried out by extremists on 9/11 will start making the same demand of Christians regarding the following that were done in the name of or justified by Christianity;

    – Destruction of pagan temples throughout the Greco/Roman world when they came into power including the possible destruction of the Library at Alexendria (on of the greatest repositories of knowledge in all of history).
    – Witch trials/burnings
    – The inquisition
    – The Crusdaes
    – The near anihilation of several native cultures in the Americas, Africa and Austrailia
    – The KKK and the lynchings they carried out
    – The protests of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist church

    Shall I go on?

    August 3, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  11. Bobby

    It is about respect. Muslims should understand that this is a sensitive issue and they should respect that. They do not, because they do not care. Just like black citizens in the US expect respect with regard to public displays of the confederate flag. Just like our country should respect the fact that millions of hispanics have gone through the proper channels to be here legally and many have become US citizens by strickly enforcing immagration laws and requiring all illegals to do the same thing. Unfortunately, way too many US citizens do not realize that some other countries hate us and disrespect us, and they are willing to lower their standards to support this lack of respect. So sad.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:42 am |
    • LearnToRead

      And what about the 99.9% of Muslims that aren't terrorists? No one here is showing them any respect. Fix yourself before you preach to others.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  12. Jessica

    Eric Rudolph, responsible for the bombings at the Olympic games in Alanta 1996, is a known Christian Terrorist. In his mind killing people to further the justice of God. Should we prevent the building of Christian churches near Centennial Olympic Park?

    The fact is that while we genuinely face threats from terrorists (of all religious faiths) we have allowed our fear to make us bigots.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:42 am |
    • Jason

      jessica, you are awesome. and the only person who makes sense here.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
    • Jessica

      The Qu'ran is based on utilizing military style action to overtake any non-believers.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  13. steve505

    Why shouldn't they be allowed a mosque near the 9/11 site? Our own government had just as much to do with the WTC attacks as any "terrorist" group. Only misinformed simpletons still believe it was an unprovoked act of "terror". Anybody who is outraged about this is clearly an ignoramous who bought the whole "War on Terror" lie hook, line, and sinker.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  14. Ray

    I've been stupefied by the response to this project. It's been all over the news media here for weeks. If they followed all the laws, rules, and regulations, why shouldn't they be allowed to build a Muslim Community Center there? Freedom of religion is one of the basic tenets of our country. You cannot pick and choose which ones apply to whom and when.

    I do not care whether Christians cannot build churches in Islamic nations. Islamic nations are not the United States. How can everyone preach equality and tolerance, but be so shallow to condemn this project? In addition, this is a community center. It is not a terrorist training camp in New York City.

    In my opinion, if the project falls into the acceptable use group for the zone, complies with all applicable codes, and has followed the correct protocol for approval, there should be absolutely no reason for the project to be denied.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:40 am |
    • mbal

      Agreed. A rational response in a sea of stupidity.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  15. alhassan age 13

    respect or allah will punish u on judgement day

    August 3, 2010 at 11:40 am |
    • Twm

      Allah is just a word for God. The real problem is that the muslims pay homage to a violent prophet known as Mohammed. What that dog represents is all that is bad with the islamic religion. It is not their belief in God.
      For the Christians, Jesus was merely a prophet who much like Ghandi was a pacifist (wuss) whose own people turned against his foolishness.
      Beleif in a superior guiding force is fine, but all the rest of the BS was created years after the facts, via stories. Religion is hokie.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
      • Wawaweewa

        Twm: you are screwed in the head or maybe it isn't your fault as you were born out of an accident.

        August 3, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      I seriously doubt it, kid, but your point's well-taken: less name-calling on both sides would be nice.

      August 3, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  16. NY_Guy

    I'm just glad CNN found out they were praying "peacefully" inside... I'm so glad anyone can walk in at anytime too. I have this funny feeling 10 yrs from now we will see a big bright light from this building and NY will be no more ....

    August 3, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  17. volara

    Does anybody know how long to the peace loving muslims in the mosque will take to dig the underground tunnel
    straight to the future new memorial to plant explosives and blow this sacred place off?
    I do not know the answer myself but I am sure this is new Obama's dream...

    August 3, 2010 at 11:40 am |
    • LearnToRead

      Yes...a mile long tunnel to ground zero, which by definition has nothing there except subway tracks.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  18. zen monkey

    I guess we're officially turning the other cheek after being slapped on the first one. Eventually we're going to run out of directions in which to turn away. My fear isn't of Islamic terrorism, but of what happens when that terrorism finally awakens the sleeping giant of the American military. What the US has done in Iraq so far is nothing compared to what could be done if the government stops caring about international image and nation-building. The middle east is already so precariously balanced, an attack like Hiroshima or Nagasaki would spark conflict that hasn't been seen in decades. The US is trying to play within the established rules, but if terrorism pushes too hard, America may disregard the rules and push back. That's the day to fear, for every country.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:39 am |
  19. Alex

    Evangelical Baptist missionaries have been building churches in Baghdad for years now, regardless of how many Iraqis were killed by US and coalition forces at or near those sites. You don't see them crying like a bunch of babies. The right wing needs to quit whining and pouting and holding everything up. Let the people of the US and the democratically elected governments of our nation get back to work. Stop trying to throw a monkey wrench into things just so your political party has a chance of winning in the next cycle. And let the people of NYC decide what is best for their city.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:39 am |
    • Moose

      well said, well said

      August 3, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
  20. Cedar Rapids

    'This is hollowed ground'
    Oh please, enough of this hallowed ground nonsense. Its the site of an horrific terrorist attack, its not hallowed, or 'hollowed' ground.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:39 am |
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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.