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. Brit

    This country is going to hell.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  2. ter


    In truth Janice, Muslims, Jews and Christians are all people of the book and all believe in the God of the Old Testiment. Muslims even believe Jesus Christ was prophet. I don't get my information from hate websites. I actually know and hold thoughtful discussions with people of the Islamic faith

    Bull. You are talking to muslims who have never read the bible telling you that they are the same. actually read the quran and you will find that they dont know what they are talking about or are just tring to fit in.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  3. Ali

    Why build a Mosque in an area where so many people died, all the pain and sorrow from the ones left to mourn for ever is not enough do the Muslims need to be in the faces of the mourners every day.
    I am sure that there are places in the city where they can build or do they just like to be in our faces, if this is done I believe the wounds will never heal, Gorund Zero is a place of sorrow and pain maybe the building should be turned in to something that pleases everyone and not the Muslims alone because all those whom parished in that area were not Muslims, not all of them.
    This will only stab the hearts of the ones left behind and not help at all, yes I believe we should all live together in PEACE but this is not the way to go....

    August 3, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  4. db

    Construction in NYC is via the Unions. Somehow I doubt very seriously that the Unions,who lost brothers in the WTC attack, will be willing to build a monument for the heros of the radical muslum's who are pushing this project. It is obvious that since the source of the money for the project is not forth coming that it is being pushed to honor THEIR heros. Mark my words their pictures and glorification will be posted within their new Islamic Center for Terror trainng and Mosque. Our political leaders have sold us out, God bless American.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  5. Chris

    By far probably the most interesting debate I have seen in my lifetime.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  6. RH

    Everywhere Islam has a victory they place a temple....ground zero is the newest. If these people had any respect they would not even try to build there. I know that it was not Islam but their extremists that killed so many people a few blocks away and you want to allow a temple of vicotory so that people can see who won this battle..what the hell is wrong with us? Have we forgotten!!

    August 3, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  7. steeve-o

    Think of it as insurance... if there's a mosque here, they won't be knocking buildings down on top of it, will they?

    August 3, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  8. Hammerdown

    You know I think that people should stop using 9/11 as an excuse to disregard other peoples rights, 3000 or so people did not die just for somebody to use their deaths as a medium to progress their own agenda. This site is not flag of victory but a flag of peace

    August 3, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  9. M Phillips

    This is great. Maybe it can also be used as a place to stone women who do not obey their husbands or master. Good Job Mayor Bloomberg!

    August 3, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  10. Whiskeydelta

    Who are the morons letting this happen? That's just like letting someone put up a Swastika Symbol in a Jewish cemetary. You New Yorkers need to unite and squash that crap!

    August 3, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  11. keith

    I can see lawsuits on this one for years to come.....that area of NYC is sacred ground and to allow muslims to come into it and build a building that could easy turn into a building of hate in the future is just a slap in the face to those who perished

    August 3, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  12. chesslogic

    if i were in charge, i would put several cia and fbi undercover informants in every mosque in the usa and abroad...then i would gather all the information i would ever need to imprision the radicle sobs.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
  13. Nick

    FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE IGNORANT OF MUSLIMS: Read the comments of your fellow Americans who use common sense. Comparing New York to Saudi Arabia. Come on how stupid are you? For those of you blaming all Muslims for being terrorists. You look even more stupid. And to those who think 9/11 (AS BAD AS IT WAS) was not revenge for what we do around the world, well you are just an IDIOT.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
  14. therealamerican

    Let them build their mosque. Wouldn't it be ironic if an american then blew it up!!

    August 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
  15. KCV

    As a born American, I understand the the 9/11 attacks were more about policy than religion...they were Muslims that were not tryng to convert us, they hated our policies and relationship wth the middle east. That being said, why are we blaming the religion? I'm sure if someone wanted to build a church near where the Oklahoma City Bombing took place, no one would be protesting...wasn't McVeigh a so called "Christian Solider"? We have to be careful and stop hating what we don't know. There are horrible Muslims, Christians, Baptists, Jews, Buddhas, Atheists, Scientologists, Methodists, etc... and someone can (and has) take the peaceful preachings of any religions and find a way to twist it into something evil and justifiable to themselves. Why don't we spend more time worrying about the clear cut hate groups, not religions that unfortunately includes us all...the idiots included. Palin and others that think the mosque is an injustice are the same people who think all Muslims hate America, if you have an opinion different from theirs...you're anti-America, all rappers are gangsters, all bald men are skin heads or militant, all gays are molesters, anyone that commits a sin they didn't commit is evil (but yet we all sin), etc.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
  16. PDXSerric

    We should absolutely abolish any religion which preaches intolerance, hate, murderous venom or any religion which treats others as little more than second or third class citizens. We should tear down any center which houses such a religion and burn their tomes to ashes. This country has NO tolerance for radical, extremist religions which seem to exist only to spread hatred and bloodshed.

    With that said, where do we want to start? Evangelicals? Catholics? Protestants? Baptists? If you’re looking for someone to rant at about this, look in a mirror, America. EVERY religion has extremist fringe groups that stray from the truer path. If you want to minimize them, try accepting each other’s faith despite the differences between you.

    If you seek out fear and violence you’ll never have to go very far to find it.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
  17. Doug Funny

    I guarantee you won't see a Christian extremist flying a plane into it.


    August 3, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  18. RH

    Everywhere Islam has claimed a victory they put up their temple! Build it but put it somewhere else it is in bad taste. ..if they had any sence or respect they would not even consider the site where their extemists (muslum not Christian) took so many lives. How we forget the pain so quickly to even let these people do this

    August 3, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  19. Rollo Tomassi

    Capitalism at it's finest. The destruction from within started years ago.

    If the money's green, that's all that matters, right? I mean, if Saudi interests want to fund the building of a Mosque at ground zero or buy an election thanks to the conservatives on the supreme court, who are we to stand in the way of what free enterprise wants to purchase. God forbid we all collectively unite against this, that might lead to socialism.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  20. mike

    This is just a recipe for disaster!!! How many more people need to get hurt?

    August 3, 2010 at 12:21 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.