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. Jacob

    I absolutely agree with one of these comments. Are we about to let white supremicist nazi groups build centers next to the work camps and Jewish cemetaries?

    August 3, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
  2. Gayorge

    RC – great points. Quran states that Jesus was not even crucified. Even if you do not believe the historical bible – look at extra biblical sources like Josephus, Pliny the younger, Taticus – all write within 50 years that Jesus was crucified by the Romans. Quran is inaccurate but lack of historical enlightment during Islam's founding prevented the truth to get out until the 1850s

    August 3, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
  3. BallsfaceMcSquigglebottom

    I like turtles

    August 3, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
  4. Nostradamus

    This is the beginning of the end. No one can stop what's been set into motion. It is the prophesy. I am Nostradamus.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
  5. apache

    It is ironic for allowing a mosque nearby where thousands of innocent people were slaughtered by the fanatics who devoutly worhshipered allah. The proposed mosque is a tribute as well as memorial to 9/11 murderers who committed crimes against humanity.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
  6. ac

    Only in America you are allow and able to have a contolled but open debate in a matter such as this one. However, It is even odd to be having this argument at all. I as many ask ourselves-Why at ground zero? Why is it that-has to be there?
    And that, it is very hard to understand unless it is a hidden agenda and we don't know or fully understand it because the lack of knowledge about it.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
  7. RufusVonDufus

    Let them build it and spend their $100 million and then blow it up. Poetic justice even according to sharia law. And if we are lucky maybe there will be 3,000 muslims in it at the time.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
  8. nomoregbldgk

    Is this site called belief blog because visitors are supposed to believe what they are told?
    Get smart.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  9. Jeannie

    I think there is a much more important issue in our large cities, than a mosque. In most "cities" that have a muslim population the street signs have been added to and/or changed to muslim language. This is AMERICA and our language is ENGLISH. If you come here from another country you need to learn ENGLISH or have an interpreter with you. American's cannot go to another country and expect all the signs to be changed. It is a slap to AMERICANS that other nationalities feel it is their right to have signs in their language while living in this country. (and yes I have lived outside of America) Let's get America back to how our country was founded: by immigrants who were happy and proud to come to this land and learn English and to obtain their citizenship. They did not come to this land with the idea of changing it to the ways of the country they left.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  10. PorkforMohammed

    I'm sorry, but I hope someone opens up a pork processing plant right next to these disgusting places of radical worshiping.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  11. Anthony

    Well well well. Look what we have here? New York is going to build a mosque that sanctify's the epitome of Jihad against all Christians. If we look into the symbolism of the mosque and agree that it is very controversial in the proximity of the world trade center is one. Secondly I believe that this structure is 13 stories. Does this represent anything? Like the number of terrorists that planned the flights. This is a sad day for all Christian Americans and those whom lost in the World Trade flights and in the two wars we are fighting now.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  12. KSC

    Muslims preach that Americans need to improve tolerance?? Let's go build a Christian 'religious center,' as this is being called, in a Muslim country and see how that works for us.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  13. andrew wang

    New York people and American people must protest New York Mayor, New York community Board 1 , New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission , Mosque Iman to ban Mosque near Ground Zero.FBI must investigate NY mayor Bloomberg, Landmark commission , Community board 1, Ground Zero Mosque Iman.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  14. wowlfie

    Just like Indian burial sites the site of 911 is sacred ground and it's a huge insult to those who died on 911 by the hands of Muslims. I guarantee this will be blown to smithereens by insulted family members who died in 911. It will not be allowed to stand.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  15. fozes

    this is crazy! not only they come to our country to destroy it, but now they build their mosques and "recreational spaces"; which we all know will be used to plan more terrorist attacks!!! and yet, people keep debating about mexicans! in my opinion, we should kick out the muslims and not the mexicans.............

    August 3, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  16. Allamut

    People of New York, yours troops in Iraq and Afghanistan fight not with Islam and Muslims, they fight with IDIOTS on the top of political game. It's not OUR war, it's THEIR war. I am very sad that many GOOD mans died, dying and will die there for purpose of big political business. I am Muslim, i respect you all, none of you did bad things to me, and so me to you. Live in peace please! My God or your...it doesn't matter, just be peaceful and respectful for each other. Don't play for political game of OUR STUPID rulers on top. Thats all. Thank You! And God Bless You.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
  17. Umme Omar

    TorontoKing...uh, you need to read History books and some Geography books too. There were no Chinese, Indians, Hindus, Buddhists back in 8th century AD in europe.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
  18. Kermit Roosevelt

    The continual mention of the Crusades as a period where Muslims were killed ignores the core, which was that the Crusaders were taking Jerusalem back from the Muslims who stole it in the first place. So, if we're going to insist on fighting over who stole what from whom over the last millennia, then nothing will ever move forward.

    That said the other thing that's being ignored is that today's Islam is a political ideology disguised as a religion and needs to be reclassified, at least in this nation. The Communists were atheists, so they weren't able to take advantage of our freedom of religion.

    I've said before, if Muslims want to live here peacefully, practice their religion quietly, and assimilate into our society, they will be welcomed with open arms. I have yet to see a demonstration of that. Right now, we have no choice but to view all Islam as the enemy.

    No evidence shows that Muslims are willing to be here as part of this nation, they clearly want to be apart from this nation while they are here.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
  19. Bob

    I feel sorry for the victims of 9/11 and I know a few. It's a disgrace.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
  20. Donny Sikes

    Why even care about what the muslims want they dont care what we want this is our country, if we let them continue on with this we should just go ahead and vote osoma bin laden in for president next time.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:14 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.