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. sure

    evryone has freedom to belief in anything but doing so has not to hurt others.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  2. hasc

    Great! Radical Islamists will now have shrine on the very site of their greatest triumph over those evil Americans.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
    • bobby5oh

      yes those evil americans of which i am one who keep buying their oil so they can fund mosques and cultural centers and plan and execute attacks on americans no less. Oh the irony

      August 3, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  3. Maria

    Although not all Muslims are terrorists. It is a fact that 9/11 occurred due to Muslim radicals... therefore building a Muslim Center in close proximity to the 9/11 site is offensive to almost anyone that is a. not Muslim and b. not part of the ACLU!! Find somewhere else to hold your services and don't try to say that the religion of Islam is peaceful. There is a general hatred towards all religions non-muslim. No you don't believe in murdering all Westerners you just hate their ideologies and liberal views. The same liberal views that give you the opportunity to live in this country and express yourselves without fear of retribution. The fact is that as Muslims you believe in limited women's rights and that limited human rights. Let's just take a look at all the women's sufferings in all of your countries (i.e. Iran, Iraq, etc. etc.)

    August 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  4. Vivian

    To Daniel..
    If you think the the US got what it deserved on 9/11, maybe you should apply for citizenship in some other country. I am sure they would let you say whatever you want about something happening there that you don't agree with. The USA is the greatest country in the world! If you are so unhappy you should leave this country, I will get the money for your one way ticket out of here. Maybe the American agencies looking for 'homegrown' troblemakers should take a look at you.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  5. John

    If only christians analyzed their own bible as much as they're critical of the Qu'ran.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  6. Tiger

    The root of all evils is the intolerance preached and financed by Saudi Arabia.
    They are the creators of al-qaeda.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  7. Midwestmatt

    Palin's against it? I'm all for it then.

    Seriously, Islam did not attack us, Bin Laden and his desire to control the oil fields of Saudi Arabia did.

    Get a clue.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  8. sure

    lord didn't certify religious leaders to be kings.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  9. shamoky1

    Is it 2012 yet?

    August 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  10. JR

    Remember the mayor and all his friends, downtown New York is not in AMERICA any more, What could be more disrespectful than this mess. The people of the city its time to come together and stop this insult do what you have to do,this is our country

    August 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  11. Charles

    These simple questions need to be answered by the useful idiots who defend this mosque (coming from a Christian who lived under the "tolerant" rules in a his former Muslim country) :

    Why built it as close as possible to ground Zero?
    ………… To remind the infidels that Islam will always prevail, as it is their custom wherever they conquer a land.

    Why inaugurate it on September/2011?
    …………same as above

    Why call it Cordoba?
    ………..Because it’s a reference to the Muslim conquest of Spain in the seventh century, where local Christians and Jews were treated as 2nd zone citizens under the Sharia Islamic laws in a dhimmi status (pay jiziah in humiliation, no right to govern, blasphemy against Islam is punishable by death, etc.)

    Why not disclose the financing sources?
    ………Most likely because it is coming from Arab Gulf countries. The same that expel western Christian evangelical groups considering them "foreign agents who threat the inner security".

    IF Muslims consider it a “Multi-Cultural center”, would a church or a synagogue be allowed to be located within the 13 storey building complex?
    ………No way. The cross is considered a symbol for idolatry in Islam (Jesus is believed to come at the end of time and brake it – Jews are believed to be descendant from Apes and Pigs).

    Before asking others to be tolerant, Muslim should start by giving the example first.

    No Muslim country allow apostasy from Islam.

    DID THEY ALL MISUNDERSTOOD THE CHARIA LAW FOR 14 CENTURY? Or something has the do with the Koran and the Sunna (tradition) that liberal keep denying?

    August 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  12. onuricle

    Another gift from the muslim President the liberals elected. Guess that's part of his kissup to the muslims doctrine. That's why he went to Pakistan in the 80's and won't show us his kenyan passport for going there.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  13. Gia

    Try building a church in the heart of a mjor middle-eastern city, our tolerance will never bre reciprocated, yay for religious tolerance!

    August 3, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
  14. me

    They are asking for trouble. Would not bother me a bit seeing it burn to the ground.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
  15. Mark from Middle River

    Funny Mick. You know the Taliban, klan, neo-nazis, black panthers .... the list goes on and on of ones not wanting peace or dialogue...basic coexistence with any one who is exactly like them.

    All of you folks make the same arguments except you just drop in another groups name in. As long ... As long ...blah blah ...

    How about this,...I'll say it in words you can understand..... until all sides and people learn to coexist then we will never have freedom

    August 3, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
  16. sure

    all about culture and traditions.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
  17. johnnyhouse

    Why not build a heroin rehab house there to cure the people who are eating the dope made in Afghanistan?We are now supporting a Muslim country that is supplying 90 percent of the heroin of the world.Maybe that is the reason we are there.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  18. Mon24seti

    This debate is similar to the confederate flag debate with many people unable to comprehend how or why it would be offensive to some people.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  19. Sarah

    Ahh the hypocrisy. People say they are all for peace and the resolution of conflicts and yet when Muslims attempt to do it, they respond with "OUTRAGE". To the arguments that say building a mosque near ground zero will cause unnecessary pain to those close to the victims of 9/11: the only way I can follow that train of thought is to infer that you have assumed the families of the victims all developed an irrational and unjustified hatred of Muslims after 9/11. And maybe some did, but if so they are in the wrong and need to learn not to make generalizations about a group of people numbering over one billion based on the acts of a few fanatics. Are families of the victims ever going to get over losing their loved one? I'm sure they never will. But it has been nearly 9 years since the attacks and the focus needs to shift to the conflict that obviously still exists between some Muslims and some Americans – the same conflict that continues to cost the lives of soldiers and innocent in the ongoing wars in the Middle East. By building this community center, these people are trying to prove to Americans that most Muslims are peaceful and good people, and can be part of the community just like any of us. And what about the families of the innocent Muslim victims of 9/11 – are their wishes just rendered irrelevant because some irrational Americans have declared Islam the enemy? I think we can all agree that if this was a Christian community center in the works there would be no problem, right? Well then you should see the hypocrisy and un-American nature of trying to prevent a Muslim community center in the same spot. The Founding Fathers made freedom of religion part of our First Amendment because they deemed it to be of the utmost importance. That means you can't throw it out the window just because someone's feelings might get hurt. It might hurt some feelings when I say that I think all religions are dangerous and fanciful, and yet, I have the right to my freedom FROM religion. At least I'm not an intolerant bigot and I certainly don't try to stand in between a religious person and their right to follow whatever religion they choose.

    Last thought, the Anti-Defamation League, defined in this article as an organization that battles Anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, certainly didn't mind taking a bigoted approach to this conflict. If they were attempting to build a synagogue there and someone protested them based on their religion they would certainly consider that bigotry – how can they possibly take this stance on this issue? I really worry about the animosity that continues to grow between the Jewish and Muslim faiths. Obviously, the situation is horrible between Israel and the Palestinians and yet that is no reason for non-fanatical members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths to lose their heads and turn into bigots. I know that the Anti-Defamation League has good intentions but they really need to take a step back and re-evaluate their thinking on this issue. You cannot fight against actions of bigotry one minute and commit them the next and expect no one to notice.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
  20. Bubba Gump

    Why does this have to be built there? I think the problem people have with the Muslim religion is that most
    terrorist are acting on behalf of the religion. While most muslims aren't terrorist, most terrorists are Muslim and they
    advertise that fact. People associate the religion with extremism. Whether is it right or wrong isn't the point. Muslims
    need to be sensitive to this. I could see this site attracting the fanatics. What is the Muslim community doing about fanaticism besides saying we aren't all like that? I think the area should be free of any religion so as not to discriminate.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
    • bobby5oh

      not to mention that most conflicts in this world are caused because of muslim separatists. They do not want to get along with anyone other than muslims and even then they kill each other. The muslims who died in 9/11 are considered martyrs

      August 3, 2010 at 4:06 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.