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. Don

    Good. Let the center be built; the nation, especially NYC, needs to see that most Muslims are no different from you and I. That most favor increased understanding and peace.

    In the event that these new neighbors don't prove to live up to this, they can be dealt with just as any group could.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  2. Ash

    The reason Muslim radicals want a Muslim Center near ground zero is to mock Americans. The unethical panel should have been more sensitive to the majority of Americans who are hurt by their treachery. Can this panel ask Saudi Arabia or Iran to allow building of Churches or Temples in their sensitive areas?
    Imagine the sad people mourners and patriotic Americans will get near ground zero. This is the result of getting a liberal government elected!

    August 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • SnowDog

      So by your reasoning, the World Trade Center was built in 1971 to mock Muslims? After all, there are and have been over 200 mosques already in the Manhattan borough alone.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  3. Reality

    And why the expansion of Islam?

    The number of global Muslims indeed is 1.5 billion basically because of the very high birth rate in Islam.

    According to official surveys, "the disapproval of family planning is highest among Muslims", while "the practice of family planning methods in 1980 was lowest amongst Muslims (only 23% of those surveyed practised it as opposed to 36% Hindus)".[1] They further admit that between 1971 and 1981, "the Hindu population was up by 24.15%, whereas the Muslim population shot up by 30.59%".

    Once the bowers to Mecca, however, see that they have been conned by the "angelic" hallucinations of a long-dead, warmongering, womanizing (11 wives) Arab, these 1.5 billion lost souls will quickly become secularists, agnostics or atheists and a semblance a global peace will spread across the globe

    August 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  4. Truthiness6969

    you know whats funny? the second one of these muslims gets their hands on a Cadillac or a gaudy tacky mcmansion with horrible horrible columns and awful taste in art, all these thoughts about jihad seem to disappear...hmmmmm...

    August 3, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  5. angryvet

    As a veteran and a concerned US citizen, I feel that we as a nation have become too complacent, lazy and gutless in our own beliefs and the beliefs of our founding fathers. Our country was founded on "God" the creator and not some homemade "gods" that came after creation. We became a great nation with "Gods" blessing and since we have taken Him out of our schools, government buildings etc., we are falling apart at he seams. I am very tolerant of others and their rights to believe how they want to, but not when it deteriorates my rights and liberties as a citizen who fought for this great nation. It's time we make a stand! If you don't stand for something, you stand for nothing! All of the American veterans stood up and gave of themselves (many with their very lives) to preserve the way this free country was founded. Don't let them down. Musulims don't believe that any other religion but theirs can exist and they won't quit until they are in charge of the entire world. We are handing the United States to them on a silver platter without a fight because we are uninformed cowards or just plain lazy, thinking that if we let them have their way, everything is going to be alright. Wake up America!!!

    August 3, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • are_you_kidding

      ever hear of the inquisition? Europeans forced catholicism on others under the pain of death because they believed that their religion was the one true way to salvation. sounds a lot like what extreme-ist muslims believe, huh?

      August 3, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • Agathe

      Where have you been for the last 20 years? Have you been living in a cave? Do you know that China owns America? If China decides to call off their loan to America, our economy will colapse (of course theirs too, that's why they hang in there with us. They don't want to chop the hands that feed them. America being a Superpower is an obsolete and antiquated notion.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
    • das0522

      I guess you lived through the Inquisition, huh kidding

      August 3, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  6. Mo

    The biggest slap in the face TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SINCE SEPT 11!!!!! How come this is possible this is a joke right????????

    August 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  7. john

    What a slap in the face for NY

    August 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  8. religion is a cancer to humanity

    Great now they can spread their hate along with all the other religions under the guise that its there 1st amendment right to do so. Lucky for them we dont blow up people we disagree with here like they do.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  9. A Decent Proposal

    Use the fund that will be set aside for building this Mosque and present it to the rebuilding effort of ground zero and its memorial/monument. Put a plaque there saying the fund is dedicated by the Muslims Community. That's a great way of showing respects and the best way of building a bridge between Muslims and Americans. How about that proposal, peaceful Muslims?

    August 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • SnowDog

      You mean the private funding being put forth by the Islamic organization and private donors? This isn't a public project, my friend... the money isn't the city's to spend.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  10. SnowDog

    If people from Kansas can tell New Yorkers where they can and can't build a mosque, then New Yorkers and Los Angelenos (about 36 million people all together) should be able to tell every state in the entire Bible Belt where they can and can't build churches.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  11. Bill Walko

    It's not like they're building a mosque directly on top of the WTC site. They're making it 2 blocks north of the site. Anyone who's ever been to NYC knows that there's probably enough room for a few hundred mosques or churches in between WTC and this new mosque's proposed site. This is all just the press being outlandishly stupid and half-assedly patriotic. Use your efforts for something more productive.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  12. ac

    Unless, Muslim countries become willing to accept the build up of other religon's churches this should be not allowed. By allowing to build a Mosque on ground zero we are actually sending the wrong signal to the radical world.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  13. SnowDog

    If people from Kansas can tell New Yorkers where they can and can't build a mosque, then New Yorkers and Los Angelenos (about 36 million people all together) should be able to tell every state in the entire Bible Belt where they can and can't build churches. Alternatively, you can mind your own damned business.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  14. TexinVA

    I must say I'm appalled at some of the comments here. The terrorists that perpetrated 9/11 were extremists, a tiny minority of Muslims. Most Muslims are peace-loving people. It's like saying all Christians are bad and pointing to Jim Jones or Jerry Falwell or David Koresh. Personally, I don't believe in any religion, they're just old myths from primitive cultures. But to discriminate against all Muslims for the vile deeds of a tiny minority isn't right. And it's a sad commentary on the intellect (or lack thereof) of a large segment of the American people.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  15. TuTone

    Plain and simple, the first "settlers" (according to history books thats what they are called, but we all know them as murderers) came here for religous freedom, to pray to who ever they wanted to believe in........now you want to tell someone else they cant have achurch where they choose

    August 3, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  16. Joe Mama

    It's sweet that so many of you want to look for the best in people and give them the benefit of the doubt. These are the ideals we are brought up with in a civilized, modern society. Unfortunately, you are dealing with people who are not brought up this way. These are people who are denied proper education and manipulated by a power hungry group of Islamic elite. They are sent out to get you. They are programmed to bring "Islam to the World." Thankfully more and more people in the civilized World ARE starting to understand what Islam is about: convert the World. Once you udnerstand that, all of their actions suddenly make sense. The thing that is somewhat amusing about it, however, is their bad timing. Christianity did it like 1000 years ago when society was open to it. Today organized religion is on the decline everywhere thanks to modern education systems. So unfortunately they are fighting a losing battle. The Islamic elite know how dangerous education of the common man is, but education will infiltrate their lands LONG before they could ever convert the World. And once the common Muslim person is educated and able to think for themselves, it will be a great thing for the common Muslim. Bad for the elites though.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  17. TXMike

    Just proves my point that America is for sale to the highest bidders. Greed will consume us all!

    August 3, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  18. balls mcghee

    Sarah Palin (in other words):

    "Dear people not like me. Since i dont understand you or your culture, i'd like you to go away. Please understand this."

    August 3, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  19. cdub

    Another thing....unless they ship all materials, workers from the middle east, they will most likely have major difficulties work work in that area.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  20. Mark

    The problem is the existence of religion at all. There is never a way to equate faith with truth and logic. You can only be truly good if it's not out of fear of God.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
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About this blog

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.