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. UberGoober

    Getting tired of protecting the Palestinian-baby killers. (Note the placement of hyphen). Those who cry anti-semitism are the racist of them all. 9/11 was not about Islam as Evil. Muslims lost their lives that day, they are allowed a mosque. Anyone notice how many tax dollars are wasted each Friday protecting the synagogues? BTW I'm Catholic married to a Jewish person.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  2. John

    Lot of racism here.

    I also see a lot of christians who feel threatened by Islam because it obviously isn't the one true faith like christianity.

    Really, our country is founded on freedom of religion. This is far enough away from ground zero that you can't see it.

    I just don't get it. Is this exposing racism????

    August 3, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  3. armass

    People should be allowed to build their houses of worship/community centers wherever local zoning allows.

    I'd also like to know how some of the people against this mosque define "Ground Zero". Is it a 2 block radius from the WTC site? 3 blocks? 10 blocks? one mile? They are utterly ridiculous. They are just looking for reasons to manifest their hate.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  4. Andrew

    How about we build a McDonald's in Mecca?

    August 3, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    Government always sells out the public.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  6. It wont last

    Jim James...you are a fool.
    I don't think the strip clubs are a problem. After all, the Islamic psychopaths that flew the planes weren't lap dancers.
    New York...America actually...is setting the stage for a repeat. It is staring you in your obese faces but are too stupid to see it.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  7. Mohammed

    Are these guys crazy?. This is like the Jews trying to build synogouge in the middle of Berlin in late 1930's. This will cause more hatred. I am already extremely concerned about my children. The mosque will not mend fences (as they claim). Just wake up guys...and read the hatred around you. When the USA has to leave Afghanistan , Iraq and other Muslim countries and China comes in to fill the vacuum....just imagine what will happen to you and your mosques. Spend $100 million for improving the lives of millions of poor people. God will be happier.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  8. Michael

    The mosque is a shrine to terrorism?

    Puleeeeeeese !

    Is every catholic church a shrine to child-molesters because a few hundred priests are pedophiles?

    August 3, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • Charles

      The 9/11 has be done by some Muslim fanatics who based their deed on the Koran teaching, the Hadiths, as well as the first “Holy War” that the prophet did at Badr, where he ambushed a trading Caravan and had to fight the fighters sent to protect it.

      Child abuse is strongly condemned by the Church. Only 500 cases have been reported in the past 50 years among half of millions of priests.

      In contrast, child abuse is legal in some Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Yemen, etc. based on Charia Laws who allow men to marry girls as young as 9 years old. This is based on the Prophet behavior and his followers who did the same.

      I hope you see the difference!

      August 3, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • Amrullah Yousafzai, Margalla Hills


      who told you child abuse is legal in Pakistan?

      The legal age of marriage in Pakistan is 16 for girls and 18 for boys.

      August 5, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  9. sure

    who cares. what is religion anyways?

    August 3, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  10. WALLY

    For those who critisizing Saudi Arabia for not allowing the building of churches in there.... my question to you is: Would the Vatican allows the building of mosques in the Vatican City?

    August 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  11. nn

    In time this will not be an issue. It is fodder for the politicians to use just to be heard and for Sarah Palin to get more press.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  12. just joe

    Wonder if the powers that be would let a christian religion construct a church in downtown Riyadh.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
  13. Anthony

    Most people don't know this including Muslims but Mosque was the name given to them by a spanish king as an insult to muslims.
    Mosque = Mosquito.

    I say if muslims want to Colonize in the heart of America. Let em, Let America go from. Columbus. and Washington who had no Christian views.
    To the rat packers who control this country now who fight for Christian ways. To Muslim faith were we got people being Beheaded and stoned in the streets.
    Christianity in our Gregorian Calendar in the year 1400 they we slaughtering people and killing everyone.
    Muslims calendar is the year like 1408 right now. What do you think they do?
    The only ones who seem to have it right is China. they live in the year 4000 something. and there almost self sustainable.

    I live in Toronto Ontario. my nearest intersection divides China from Pakistan. we hold the largest Tamil tiger population and Muslims control a main street. Theyre not going anywere theres 1.4 billion of them and it'll only expand at 3.6 kids per muslim.
    Enjoy your new Desert future.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:49 pm |
  14. Juan

    I'm amazed as to how much misinformation is out there.
    First of all, it is not AT ground zero, but about a half a mile away. People who call it a "mosque at ground zero" are intentionally misleading you, in an attempt to get a reaction from you. Second of all, that location is already being used as a Muslim prayer site. What they're trying to do is renovate and expand their current location. Third, the vast majority of muslims are peace loving people and very respectful of others. Just because a few very radical people did the atrocities they did and claimed to do it in the name of Islam, should not makes us discriminate against their entire group. Fourth, most New Yorkers don't have a problem with that location. Fifth, our country is based on freedom of religion. It was not founded as a "Christian nation" nor on Judaism, etc. Let everyone else be.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  15. Bill

    I am ok with the mosque in the area of ground zero if the Islamic population would be ok with a business next door that dealt with religious satire including cartoon depictions of religious leaders such as Muhammad the Profit. The insensitivity of one is no different than the insensitivity of the other.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  16. Disgusted

    If I were a fire fighter I would rather quit then save this Muslim outhouse. As a Soldier Im disgusted and dismayed. Our country is going to hell in a handbasket.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  17. Stephanie

    American were not the only victims. http://islam.about.com/blvictims.htm

    I love how we forget that there were Muslims in those buildings and they WHERE american. My dad fought in this "war" I cried that day, but this is just low and Sara is just talking because she lost her election she's an idiot.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  18. Dabrs34

    KCV-"Goodness, you make US look sooo bad! That was not funny or cute, way to go! Seems like you only care about the REAL Americans that died on 9/11...the ones that only look like you. I don't wish any hate on anyone, but people like you need to be on that list!"

    Yea and you are doing much better? Jesus

    August 3, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
  19. John

    A suicide bomber is sure to demolish this mosque at the grand opening. God is good, God is great but seperation by religious facets ha soiled the creators portrait.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
  20. Disgusted

    If I were a firefighter in New York I would rather quite then save this potentail future Muslim outhhouse. As a Soldier Im disgusted and dismayed. Out country is going to hell in a handbasket.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:42 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.