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. shao

    This is simple, the U.S. is a free country and supports equal rights of different religious. Let the community build whatever facility they want, but hunt down the extremists that threat the nation. Everything beyond this is political motivated and a waste time.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  2. rahul

    Dear American brothers,

    I am sorry to say that this is start of ISLAM victory within in USA. Please remember democracies can't win against Islam. Being an Indian, I know this. We as a nation started accomodation Islam from beginning. And now we have lost everything to it. We tried to make them happy and tolerant by being nice to him. At the end that just resulted in them getting more ignorant and demanding. Democracies will just spur political islam to grow even faster. Muslims, when in minoroty argue about their rights using Democracy set up. When in majority, they reject same democracy and give no rights to other religions. And then "Sharia" is the law.

    I am surprised that Americans have not realised their trachery yet. Please wake up and DO NOT become weak like INDIA.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  3. Potion

    CommonSense wrote "Muslims submit and pray to the same God of the Bible and the Torah"; now you need to do some addtional study because this is not the truth and its a non-truth that so many people are buying into. Just think if we did pray tothe same God why do you critize our belief in Jesus being the way the truth and the life. In short we dont believe the same things but thats not really the issue here its putting the mosque at grown zero; now sense you call your self CommonSense it obvious that your'e not using it. How in the world could this even be conceived given what happen on 9/11. I remember vividly that not many muslims or their leaders immediately condemn the attacks and because of that this is why some Americans dont take to kind to muslims. I think you must first demonstrate who and what you really stand for before you can make such a request.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  4. oh man!

    what an OBAMiniation! an a slap in the face to the fallen of 9/11

    August 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • ArrKay

      OBAMiniation ? Step one of trashing someone is not spelling your burn wrong. But if abominiation looks okay to you, I guess there's not much to be done.

      August 3, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  5. changermagic

    Eh, I myself think it will be more trouble than it's worth for the people who will attend the mosque....but if they think they can handle all the hate they're gonna attract for this, it's a free country.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  6. Happy Buddy

    Guys & Gals relax!!!

    Surrender to Gadgets and App religion !!!!

    Play "Word with Friends" or "Word Score" on your Iphone or Android phones .... It takes all your worries away :):):)

    Let others worry about the world and religion .... 🙂 🙂

    August 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  7. angry newyorker

    since my previous comments where deleted, I will simply say: HORIBBLE IDEA!

    August 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  8. Matt

    A mosque near ground zero??? How about a Hitler museum in Jerusalem? I dont know about you but i just love pouring salt on an open wound. I am in no way Muslim bashing, but have some better taste. Why do you need to build a Mosque near the site of Islamic terrorism? Some sort of a sick reminder? Increase your moral standing and execute some better taste. Building a Mosque near Ground Zero won't show the US's desire to build a relationship with the Muslim world, it shows we are submissive to those that wish to stand against us. Unite with the Muslim world sure, as long as it is clearly stated we do not unite with extremists and those that wield religion as a tool for terror.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • illuminated Genius

      Matt it is the muslims arrogance that will allow them to build a monument to Al-Qaida using America's laws and political correct fools in this nation who don't wake up and see the truth that this is a monument celebrating Islam intolerance.

      August 3, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
  9. anw

    Islam did not bring down the towers. Terrorists brought them down. The terrorists profess they did this for Islam, but it's just like a Christian killing in the name of God. My heart goes out to anyone who lost loved ones in the attacks. But if any of them feel "disrespected" by building a mosque there, they are also confusing Islam with terrorism. They are not one and the same.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  10. cdub

    Why there? Why not further out from this site? You are crazy to think that this just a coincidence in planning. Lets build a church of any denomination of Christanity in the heart of Bagdhad – right next to a school or hospital that innocent people were killed. You think that would be okay? or would you consider it to be totally insensitive? I dont know why this country is so easy to manipulate?

    August 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  11. ariz86

    Are there any chruches near the Oklahome city boimbing site?........Im talking about the one where Timothy Mcvay destroyed and killed inncoent people...........Lets not blame some lunatic's actiona on the rest of the people of Muslim faith.
    And tvm The prophet Mohammed (pbuh) was not a dog nor was he violent one thing you might now know is we believe in the prophet Jesus as well as all the other prophets. I am muslim and have many Christian friends my best friend since 6th grade is christian and my family treats him like family for the person he is not his religious "beliefs"

    August 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  12. Cruciblethorn

    OMG...I can't believe some of you idiots are saying that Muslims love Christians. Guess you sheep haven't done any research into how many Christians are martyred each year at the hands of Islam and their devilish cousin...Communism. Get a clue and get your head out of the sand before your neck up in it getting it chopped off by some towell head with a beard who is on the CIA payroll

    August 3, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  13. MikeMazzla

    I like how so many are blaming liberals.. half the people who support this are republicans including the Republican mayor. How about we dont put any catholic churches near where a kid was molested by a priest?
    The argument againts this is sort of lame, but hey I am all for no religious buildings anywere near ground zero because all religion and a belief in God is pretty ludicrous

    August 3, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • TexinVA

      Well said! I totally agree.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  14. Fighter

    It is an insult and a disgrace to even think of building a mosk on, near or next to where so many innocent Americans were killed due to some jealous terrorists.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  15. andy

    thank you for not falling into the trap, the trap of dividing America and taking away our freedom of religion.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  16. Dave

    How Sickening! I'm revolted by this and I'm sickened. Don't think for a minute that those who would commit terrorist acts or who are planning them are not rejoicing over this. Am I saying that those who are wanting to build are terrorist or even condone it? I am not but I am saying that those who want to build it are looking at it as a great victory for their religion over others in this country and the world.

    Seriously, the more American's they can kill, the most accepting it seems we are of Islam

    August 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  17. Wynn

    Do they have a right to? Should they have the right to? Yes and Yes. But does that make them any less of a jerk? No. If they were really interested in peace and mending that wouldnt force this on people who are offended. In the end, I think if you get upset then the jerks win.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  18. Truthiness6969

    Let's get this out in the open: No one likes Muslims...no one. Sure, the libertards who want everything to be all peace and love will SAY that they do, and all of them posting comments about religious tolerance and how everyone who does not want this mosque to be built is a racist (also a gross misuse of the term, i guess affiliation cant buy you intelligence) seem legitimate but the second a mosque is proposed to be built next to their kids soccer field hoooooo boy! Watch out! Repiglicans are not without blame either, they may be more open about it, but let's face it, the majority of them are just as stupid (Sarah Palin is their God, enough said) and the way they go about touting their beliefs is beyond ignorant and makes the rest of the country want to shun them and their ideas, even if a good one happens to slip through every now and then. As soon as we as a country can agree to openly despise muslims, we can get back to this economic disaster I've been hearing about on the news lately. As a parting note, remember this, if you have ever read the Qua-ran, you know that there is a single passage that states that it is okay to openly lie in the name of alah in order to spread islam. But of course non of you have ever read that have you?

    August 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  19. heather

    Horrible, just horrible news. What is wrong with everyone? How can people not see how wrong and hurtful this is to everyone who lost loved ones on September 11th? Even if the mosque were being built with good intentions – which it clearly is not – how completely disrespectful to all who died a horrible death.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  20. Hasniak Ker

    I think this shows that America is Fair... Everyone can practice a religion or not practice a religion it doesnt matter if you built the mosque or church next to the white-house.

    America is great and i just on Friday received my US Citizenship. 🙂

    August 3, 2010 at 12:38 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.