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. Canadian

    As a Canadian born Muslim who does not believe in any religion(i think all religions are bs to an extent) I think that it should be a multicultural center instead. Not a Muslim center.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  2. Ray

    We should allow moslems to build their mosque on ground zero when moslems allows us to buils a church in Mecca! Tolerant?? get your heads out of the sand. While they whine about discrimination hers, they torture, beat and kill innocent people. this religion is born in violence (Angel Gabriel choking Mohammed to write the Koran) and it expouses violence.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  3. Kay

    This is "in your face" and Muslims know it! It is entirely disrespectful to victims of 9/11. I'm starting to wonder if Muslims are already on city leadership positions and are the ones voting in favor of this? I agree with Rob H. The only reason a mosque would be there, is to push their religion on America. Even though there are moderate Muslims, the extreme Muslims who killed are happy about this mosque. That is what the terrorists wanted. I'm sorry but Muslims with any respect for other people should be fighting against it and promote a Non-DENOMINATIONAL center there instead.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  4. George

    perhaps it would be best to differentiate purpose:
    Timothy McVeigh was against the US goverment
    There are no Christian terrorists and for a group to claim to be followers of Christ and be terrorists then they are just labeling themselves to cause uproar. Unlike Muslims, Christians denounce all forms of terrorism
    IRA could also be called freedom fighters – they fight for rights/liberties against the goverment
    The only group that just slaughters people for religous reasons are Muslims. You have to dig into the details. Moreover, the muslim community at large has not been very outspoken on condemning Muslim violence.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  5. Raymond

    The Quran – 2:62

    Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  6. rimjim

    iSlam is a true relgiion of peace. Try 'the religion of peace dot com'

    August 3, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  7. your pal mohammed

    sweet. the explosives won't have to travel as far to their target now.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  8. luvuall

    Jim James' comment was so classic that I just have to repeat it! (hope that's ok Jim James)

    Sarah Palin...lol

    No, no, no. Building a mosque would be insulting, I agree. I guess the strip club down the street and the dozen or so bars in the area are a perfect compliment to the Ground Zero memorial.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  9. Big Al

    Just a few feet from both Auschwitz and Dachau are convents. So if the Christians can build shrines on the sites where THEY committed mass murder, why can the Muslims??? To me it seems only fair!

    August 3, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  10. BigChedda

    Well I hope somebody fly's a plane into this mosque when it's built

    August 3, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  11. Mark

    What would Jesus say?

    August 3, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  12. Metypehere

    Do you people know that Muslims build a "shrine" where they claim a victory in their jihad. Why else would they want to build on, or even NEAR ground zero? Simply put......................

    August 3, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  13. net&yahoo

    Soon they will celebrate 10th anniversary of 9/11 at the new islamist site . Allah Akbar, dear NewYorkers!!

    August 3, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  14. Rez

    Too many fools who have know understanding of the principles of America are trying to make pointless comments. But its YOUR right isn’t it.
    How will the world be a better place if we stop the construction of this mosque? If you want to ban the mosque then why not ban all Muslims from NYC or even better the United States? Why stop at the mosque? Would the families of all the Muslim victims (we've seem to have forgotten about them) be protesting like this against a church if it were to be built there instead? People this is the United States of America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hundreds of thousands of MEN and WOMEN have died to establish and preserve the rights that each of us (citizens of the USA) have today and one of those rights happens to be FREEDOM of RELIGION. Don't be blinded by the few radicals who destroyed the life of thousands on 9/11 because that’s exactly what they want from you. You will only fuel their fire and provide a gateway for them to strengthen their murderous cause. Be what it may, if your a true AMERICAN then you should support the principles of this country, your fellow citizens and this religious establishment.
    In my opinion the Mosque will be a symbolic representation of how we've overcome what those Terrorist did to us on that disastrous day. We all know that 9/11 changed our lives forever as individuals and as a nation. Accepting what these people are trying to do and what they believe in will maybe just maybe bring us a little closer to how things were before this tragedy occurred.
    Thankfully, I'm not a religious person but I'm a first generation American whose Muslim parents emigrated from the Middle East (BOTH US CITIZENS NOW). You have no idea how much I feel my life has changed since the day this occurred. One day I was your average American still in college and working to make a better life for me and others (I'm an engineer) and the next day I walk into a room and I have this eerie feeling that every eye in the room is focused on me.
    Please think and speak like true Americans. Don’t let all the live lost since this country was founded become meaningless. I understand how hard this must be for some of the victims and families of 9/11. In time some may be able to overcome the pain and anger generated by their loss and this Mosque and some won’t. That’s just a fact of life. As a society we must not express our opinions solely on emotion, but instead we must ask ourselves what we can do to make this country stronger. I’ll tell you right now that trying to prevent this Mosque from being built will not lead us in the right direction.

    P.S. Palin you are an idiot and you may have even cost the Republican Party the election. Take you’re a** back to Alaska and make sure your daughter is using condoms because I’m more interested in hearing in hearing what Big Bird has to say about current events than you.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  15. Adam

    Jesus taught tolerance and love and understanding others. End of story.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  16. Not a good idea

    Personally i think its not a good idea to built it so near to ground zero. Its sure will provocative for the people who lost their loved ones.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  17. mohammed

    This situation is most tragic. They should not be able to build such a building where people of their kind killed many blocks away. Not all are bad agreed, but some compassion is needed here. Mohammed is a killer, no other way to describe him. When you are killing children, woman, and innocent people. It would be no different if Americans started killing Muslims in the streets of the US. This build if built should show Americans they need to join together learn to love peaceful Muslims, but burn down the violent ones not with our court systems, but with an iron fist. An eye for an eye. Mohammed is a coward!!

    August 3, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  18. LookingForTheTruth

    After 9/11, I took it upon myself to learn more about Islam. Looking at the core values, I came away believing that those responsible for 9/11 and other acts of terrorism represent a fringe element, a radical Islam. I'm not as certain anymore. I'm well aware of statements from individual Muslams who say those radical elements do not represent the faith. However, for years, I've been waiting for statements from Islamic leaders that condemn the terrorism and violence, Islamic leaders that stand up and say this is not who we are. That would do more than anything else to bridge the gap between religions, between communities.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  19. Google Map it

    Peaceful religions fight with eachother again. And in other news Brett Favre retires. Not even kidding. I think Brett just likes it when people tell he's still the best and to go for it one more time.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  20. RIGHT

    HAHAH Islam! "We can bash your religion all we want, but you talk about ours you should die" or how about this "THE RELIGION OF PEACE, but you talk bad about it you die"

    August 3, 2010 at 12:52 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.