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. Dabrs34

    exuse me muslims, can i please build a few cathedrals and christian churches in saudi arabia?


    You are going to bomb us and start a holy war if we tried to build a church let alone worship our own religion on your land?

    Ok. then I guess you can't build a mosque in our country until you let loose these extreme ideologies.

    Its simple common sense people. We need to step back from the situation and take a look at what's going on here.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  2. MauiBear

    There had previously been a mosque in the area anyway. Denying the mosque is NOT the right message to send. Muslims didn't commit 9/11. Radical terrorists, hiding behind the cloak of Islam, did. Saying that Muslims are all responsible is like saying all protestants are responsible for the Holocaust because Hitler was a protestant (YES, he was). My only fear is that some idiot(s) is going to target this mosque "in the name of God". That will be resorting to the same terrorism as was enacted on 9/11. It should be built

    August 3, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  3. Anne


    If you truly believed Ground Zero was so sacred, you would have spent the past 9 years appealing to Congress to create a site that was worthy of reverance.

    When was the last time you visited the site? I was in the area yesterday and unless they've thrown something up overnight, it's still a big hole. Did you see all that news coverage of the old ship discovered at the site last month? Nine years later, that's still all there is of the Freedom Tower 9/11 Memorial- an empty concrete bathtub.

    So please, spare the "Remember 9/11" schpiel with regards to a community center being built a mile away, and focus your efforts on actually remembering 9/11 in a productive way. As you said, 9/11 is the business of all Americans. Private Manhattan real estate transactions across town are not.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  4. Mike

    What I find very interesting is that Muslims want kill others who are so insensitive as to portray their beloved Mohammed in any way shape or form as they see fit, but yet somehow seem to have no concern at all about their own insensitivity to other religions and peoples concerns.
    This is yet another nail in the coffin confirming the absolute hypocricy of this religion.
    They can either lead by example or continue to be persecuted by other faiths for their own shortcomings.
    Walking away from this mosque and building it elsewhere is what will help "build bridges" as they say. If that is indeed their true intent anyway. Doesn't really seem to be in my eyes what they are after anyway.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
  5. Jack -- Long Island

    I am a bit perplexed as to why you have deleted my previous comments.......but i will try and pu them across again.
    This is a slap in the face to anyone who was there on 9-11 and an even larger one to the families of those who perished.
    The local government is trying to be politically correct at the expense of COMMON SENSE. We are a joke to the rest of the world.....this is a really bad idea for so many reasons. Wake up and listen to THE PEOPLE for a change....

    August 3, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  6. Its_cmn_sense

    It's about trust, and rubbing our noses in it.
    The terrorists are/were Muslims.
    Muslims are told to lie and deceive to get their way. It is part of their religion.
    Their way is not our way. They are not tolerant. Try drawing a cartoon of Mohamed, if you dare.
    Yet, they may of Christ or Moses. Remember Maplethorpe?
    They will use our system against us if you if you bury your head in the sand.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
  7. Drew

    I don't care where there is any religious building. I just think they need to be taxed for the property and space they use. All of them.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
  8. Pam

    I just wish the Muslim world would show a little compassion to those killed in the attacks. This is not the place to build this Mosque, it will only breed bad feelings and hate. I predict there will be many instances of damage and destruction before, during and after the construction. Why not just build a COMMUNITY CENTER and leave all religion out of it. That is if you are really interested in healing and peace. Flaunting your religion, forcing it upon the victims is not a HEALING stance it is the stance an oppressor. In the name of peace find another place for your mosque. Please.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
  9. NJBill

    The NYPD, firemen, and all other unions must immediately and unequivocally announce that they will boycott all aspects of this project. Its tough in this economy to turn one's back on work. It's worse to follow our "leaders" and turn one's back on our country.This is the only peaceful way to stop this debacle.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
  10. pig

    They would not allow me to partake by knelling in their mosque. What a joke in allowing them to erect their mosque inches away from 9/11 ground zero.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  11. Sanee Akbar

    Osama bin Laden or his few hundred comrades living in caves and eating grass did not plan and execute the unfortunate events of 911. It was Bush and his all powerful CIA that orchestrated that evil act. Most of the educated Americans, who read and think, know that. Building a Mosque in New York or a Church in Saudi Arabia will neither heal the wounds of Muslims or Christians nor will it bring them closer. We have to redefine our foreign policies and boundries.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  12. Its_cmn_sense

    It's about trust, and rubbing our noses in it.
    The terrorists are/were Muslims. Obviously, not all Muslims are terrorists
    The muslim teaching in the coran is to lie and deceive to get their way. It is part of their religion.
    Their way is not our way. Simply go to the middle east and experiance their tolerance. They are not tolerant. Try drawing a cartoon of Mohamed, if you dare.
    Yet, they may of Christ or Moses. Remember Maplethorpe?
    They will use our system against us if you if you bury your head in the sand.
    Our county is worth fighting for.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  13. Cammy

    I hope there is as much support for my freedoms when I start burning Qurans in front of this mosque.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
  14. Rob

    With the way the muslim religion is looked upon now, I doubt the building will ever come to be. And if it does, it most likely will not exist for long.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
  15. TheHonestFactor


    Then again, perhaps if there was one there to begin with, they wouldn't of bombed the hell out of us.


    August 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
  16. Common Misconception

    Not all Muslims are the same, just like not all Christians are the same. Would you blame the Pope for the bigoted protests put on by the Westboro Baptist Church? Then why do people keep lumping all Muslims together?

    August 3, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
  17. intransition

    This really does hit too close to home. It makes me think of the JFK assassination and the governments deliberate withholding of pertinent information to the public because it is deemed as being too sensitive... we have to wait for everybody who was alive during that time to die before we can reveal the facts.

    Don't the same principles apply here? I guess times they are a changing... we now live in a more liberal-based society we're a lot of people are no longer keenly aware of the sensitivities that building a mosque near ground zero would evoke.

    Let's get back in touch with our roots. It's still too soon to construct a center of Islamic worship next to Ground Zero.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
  18. JMPelland

    Come on people, are we going to boycott every religion and every faith whose extremists harm Americans? I understand that we're all still nursing open wounds in a post-9/11 America, but we can't alienate an entire demographic because of the actions of a select few.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
  19. Duane St.Petersburg Florida

    sad really.....

    August 3, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
  20. Khara

    Khara Khara Khara Khara

    August 3, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
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