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. President McWilliam

    we need to look at this in both ways, yes it is a good idea to introduce various religions to manhatten. However, not so close to a place of terrorism and pain. also if people feel overrun by the middle-east in white countries, why do we only have 1 or 2 children. No point in complaining if you have 1 child for every 10 an Islamic family has. My advice is. Dont build the mosque there. Build it somewhere else and WASP's [White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestants] have more children.
    Yours truly,
    President McWilliam

    August 3, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  2. adan

    Hey lets be fair. lets build military bases in middleast and let muslims build a mosque. {sensetive } sara palin id domb. haha

    August 3, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  3. chris

    i know that there are so many catholic/baptist and Methodist churches over in Muslim countries....why not. you think that if a plane full of Catholics flew a plane into that 2,700' building over in the UAE and toppled it that 10 yrs later they'd build a catholic church next to it????

    August 3, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  4. MAK

    Im so sick of all the ignorant and narrow minded people making saudi arabia the only example of a muslim country. Your arguments are so weak. Egypt is a muslim country four times the population of saudi arabia that has some of the most beautiful churches. Jordan is another example. Morocco Is a muslim country that has a decent jewish population has more synagogues that Israel itself. By the way can vatican city allow mosques and synagogues be built there?

    August 3, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  5. Sam

    @Gene: Are you really a right wing bigot or just incredibly stupid?

    August 3, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  6. ReligionForTheWeak

    Religion, any religion, is for the weak – afraid of the finality of death. These cowards MUST believe their self-centered ego survives death... or they freak out facing THE TRUTH... the HERE AND NOW is all we have.

    Religion is for cowards, and these cowards MUST impose THEIR religion upon others to make themselves feel safe and secure. This is a mental condition. It needs a diagnosis. A delusion of self-importance. The TRUTH IS: When you die you are as you were before you were born. Nothing. Get over it. Now, enjoy the precious LIFE that you have and respect the precious LIFE of other in your same predicament. Mortal. That is my opinion.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  7. steve

    When Mohammed married to a 9 year old girl he is a pedophile not a peaceful man.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  8. Scott

    Here in Afghanistan we can not beleive what we are seeing and hearing about this Mosque.Are brothers dying everyday keeping america free . These people hate us here there is no muslim tolerance.If they want tolerance than show some and build the mosque some where else.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  9. Pink

    To oppose the Islamic Cultural Center simply for the fact that it is Islamic is anti-American. It is a great tribute to the American right to religious freedom to not stand in the way of the organization's right to build it.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  10. Just to be clear

    The appropriate action to take is to prevent tax paying citizens from building on private property because of their religious beliefs? And the justification for this is that other countries, who are regarded as bad, would do that? A building that is, in fact, already used for that religious purpose and has been for some time? Just out of curiosity, if the problem is the proximity to the 9/11 bomb site, what would be "right" distance?

    August 3, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  11. Melissa

    Being tolerant and turning the other cheek is what Christianity demands of us. It astounds me that so many can be so violently hateful, yet claim it is in the name of God. Treat others as you would want to be treated, not necessarily as they treat you. There is a lot to be learned about Christian behavior, it appears from these comments.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  12. Gerald Carter

    Trust no one who uses the word Islanmofacist! Their just bigots.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  13. Bill

    Will make a good target for the next 757 or 767.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:48 am |
    • LearnToRead

      Yes, because revenge is a great solution...

      August 3, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  14. Jorge Rodriguez

    The people complaining about the mosque are certainly not New Yorkers. New Yorkers are tolerant and do not mind about their neighbours business. As long as you keep your sidewalk clean and don't make much noise, I don't care whether my neighbours operate a sadomasochistic dungeon, a Christian church, a car dealership or a mosque.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  15. Dan A

    This is truly unbelievable. I cannot even concentrate on anything after reading this article. Just wish to read tomorrow that it was a bad joke. I almost feel like vomiting right now.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:47 am |
    • Robert

      Because it's right next to a Hooters? Yeah - what an outrage. How will I be able to flirt with my server when I know people are praying next door.

      August 3, 2010 at 11:57 am |
  16. Moose

    these comments really show the stupidity of some people, who while being utterly uneducated in the Islamic faith along with their own respective religions, pin-point 6 billion people in the world where only a few of them are radicals. as people have commented before, if you have any sort of intelligence in your head, you wouldn't be stereo0typing so readily, but these pea- sized prehistoric mentalities you idiots are harboring are no better then the very radicals you hate. what you do not see is that you are becoming the very things that you despise.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  17. Cedar Rapids

    ah you mean you want someone to carry out a terrorist attack, based on religion, in New York?

    August 3, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  18. Chris

    People say that this new building would lead to more attacks on America, the realist in me say that is possible, likely no but possible. However I see the real problem, it is the fact that we (Western Nations) use middle Eastern Oil. Now America gets most of it's oil from Canada but Europe and China gets it's oil from the Middle East. With lets say only 1% of the money we send over there for oil they can fund their attacks on us. However if we get off oil then the middle east lose money and they can't fund their attacks on us. Also with the extreme differences in wealth between those who fund the attacks and those who do it, they may start fighting each other.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  19. TorontoKing

    Good idea...politically correct decsion....wonderful display of affection and tolerance...
    And you know what...this wont change (and it never did..and never will) the arrogant bigot Jehadis (90% of muslims are!, not by choice but by brainwashing).

    So, nothing really changes 🙂

    August 3, 2010 at 11:46 am |
    • aqdas

      wow....what an educated person....NOT!!!!!!! LOL

      August 3, 2010 at 11:56 am |
    • LearnToRead

      There 1.3 billion Muslims. You really think that 90% are jihadists? Because the world would still be here if there were that many violent people...

      August 3, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  20. aqdas

    finally in a longtime since 9/11 people have looked at an issue on its merit and not their personal beliefs. this is what democracy is all about. so the hate filled GOP'er and bigots can let go of the topic now.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:46 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.