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. Bill

    Stop calling it the Ground Zero Mosque, it is misleading to people who don't know better

    August 3, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
  2. jrrjr

    A Mosque location is determined behind victory by force of that area. Read your books and locate other Mosques in the world and you will see what I am talking about. By allowing the build site for this Mosque is the ultimate display and most recent slap in the face you will all have to live with. I respect their beliefs but not their modivation for choosing sites.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
  3. jo m.

    hi folks,

    i strongly suggest you all look up sharia law (which the ground zero mosque imam wants implemented in the U.S. as well as all over the world), dhimmitude and taqiyya. also, see the film "the stoning of soraya m.".

    get your heads out of the sand and educate yourselves before it's too late.

    may the good Lord protect our country.


    August 3, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
  4. Cade

    Sorry Jessica, but ask how many Muslims believe Jesus Is God. Thats what christians believe. Jesus is God. Hey muslims would it be ok if I said Jesus is Allah. NO!! Not the same God. But it doesn't matter this isn't about that.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  5. anon

    who cares

    August 3, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  6. Khaled Anntar

    Come one people!! The opposition I see on the comments only shows a common ignorance and may escalate to a hatred of Islam and Muslims. The building of this Islamic center will do no harm to the US and Americans; it will stengthen the US image abroad as a nation of tolerance, love, equality and of freedom of worship. This only encourages other people and other nations everywhere to follow suit. We can only lead by example and not force or hatred and imposing our own way of life. If you say Muslims are terrorists and violent, Please have a fair look at the history of the US government engagements abroad. You will see that the US government with the tax money has funded and killed tens of thousands of innocent people, long before 9/11 happened. Hatred is only going to begets hatred but love and tolerance is far more powerful and effective. Hatred destorys but love and tolerances builds and prosper. The US is in bad and dire needs for love and tolerance to grow and make up for its heavy losses.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
    • illuminated Genius

      You are right it does no harm to have a enemy monument build they have a right to do so. Death to Islam, may the death of radical Islam the real Islam come! If you happen to believe Islam is peaceful and Islam has nothing to do with the extremists you are living under a cave and listening to people who live with the guidance of political correctness. You should listen to the Atheists criticism on Islam and organized religion because then you will learn something and not like the media which constantly protects criticism of religion in the pro-religion media. We have to accept the truth, Islam is intolerant and they have no intentions of integration. These people want to kill us and they could care less what you think.

      August 3, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
  7. Paulie

    Cool lets go to Mecca and build a Synagogue. Oh yeah I forgot westerners arent even allowed there. The City of New York has their head up their posterior.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  8. Dave

    There are many peace loving , educated, and kind muslims in America and across the world. New York has people from around the globe–including may muslims. The Mosque is to serve the community, not to score some point as that ridiculous woman Palin thinks. The only point is the one on top of her head. And, terrosist are not representative of all muslims. That would be like saying that the IRA represents Christians.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  9. vmprophet

    I say this with all due respect, and on behalf of my younger brother who is in afghanistan right now and who happens to be muslim: GET OVER IT. It is NOT a MOSQUE. CNN please for once try and report accurately what this building is, instead of Putting Mosque in your headline how about we accurately put Islamic Center. The place has a Prayer room, never mind that all faiths can use it. Guess what, People are already praying there. Innocent Muslims who were just going about their day on 9/11 got killed by those planes as well so spare me the rhetoric about this being disrespectful to the families of 9/11. What is disrespectful and ignorant is people condemning a center which wants to build understanding, and condemning an entire people because it is too much work to actually get to know those people and it is much easier to group them all and call an entire people and their believes hateful. Like I said, get over it

    August 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  10. Carl

    Its probably not illegal to build the mosque, but it is grossly inappropriate and insensitive based on its proximity to an attack that was committed by Muslim extremists. I think those that opposed the mosque went about this the wrong way. They knew that legally there was no real zoning issue to stop this. They should have first appealed to the developer publicly to move the site to another location in defference to the victims and families. If the developer refused then the court of public opinion makes him look like the bad guy. While this was going on, they should have been investigating where the money was coming from to build a mosque in the most prime real estate location in the world. If some of the money came from those with ties to terrorist organizations THEN you would have had legal means at your disposal. The front end assault isn't always the best tactic.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  11. Mike

    We are losing our country!

    August 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  12. sagebrush

    Strange how Mayor Bloomberg can attempt to justify his anti gun agenda by having false accusations made against legitimate dealers, but throws up his hands and says"There is nothing we can do about it" when confronted with this atrocity. Be interesting to see who shows up for the ground breaking and dedication.
    No comment from the White House, of course.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  13. David M.

    Be prepared for constant damage to this building. There are those who will oppose it at every turn, and rightfully so.

    Spare me about it being a poject to "build bridges". It has NOTHING to do with that. It's just one more attempt by Islam to add insult to injury. Why does it have to be at that particular location? Answer: so they can keep on stabbing us.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  14. TX_MBell

    Why does this religious group get preferential treatment?
    Most cities have zoning restrictions. Why does this one get a pass and others don't?
    Sucking up to them solves nothing. It encourages their aggression and oppression of women and their declared infidels.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
    • LearnToRead

      And what will this proposed zoning restriction do? There is a church right across the street from ground zero. This mosque is blocks away.

      August 3, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    I like turtles...

    August 3, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  16. Reality

    What drove the terror 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 location of mosques and what is taught therein. Until then, no male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere

    August 3, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
  17. paco


    August 3, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
  18. Sarah

    According to the Qur'an: "Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah. Those who follow him are merciful to one another, but ruthless to unbelievers" Surah 48:29. "Kill the Mushrikun (unbelievers) wherever you find them, and capture them and besieg...e them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush..." Surah 9:5. Also see Surah 9:29: PICKTHAL: "Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture (Christians & Jews) as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low."......ENOUGH SAID

    August 3, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  19. Betsy Ross

    They build it....we bomb it 😉

    August 3, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  20. Marlene

    I'm pleased to hear the preservation commission did not grant landmark status to a building undeserving of it. Any other decision would have been bowing down to public pressure.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • groovygoober

      So in essence you are thanking the politicians for ignoring the people.


      Socilaism, fascism, communism? Which is your cup of tea?

      August 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
    • Marlene

      No, I'm thanking the committee for exercising the power that WE gave them and operating within the confines of rules and regulations laid out for them. Their one and only job was to determine historical status of the building; did you want them to ignore evidence and regulations because of screaming mobs who wanted to use the committee as a tool? Because you know...that would kind of be the hallmark of a country without law.

      August 3, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
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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.