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. Think America!

    Let's try this post again: Back in 2009 at Gaston Hall,, Mr. Obama had the monogram IHS covered before he made his address. I urge you to open you eyes. Please, America!

    August 3, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  2. Aaron

    Umme – I am not sure how what I said means that we would expect no christians in spain. The "barbary coast" (where christians were enslaved) referrs to modern day algeria, morroco, and tunisia, not spain. I said Christians in spain were taxed for being christian, this would not lead to an expectation that they would all be dead.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  3. Michael

    Come on......it is blocks away from that site........unseen from that area...................it is a blighted area of cheap shops and now looks like a lot of residential buildings are sprouting.................from the former WTC site, it is unseen........blocks away............................if you Google NYC Mosques, you get 41 locations in NYC.................what is the big deal?....they are blocks away.................I feel sensitivity to the victims, but, this is America.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  4. Cswan

    This is really a matter of Muslims vs. Jews with a dotted line to Christians. This comes down to the Muslims hatred towards Jews and that is why the take a shot at the Trade Center every time. Too many Jews for them to stomach. I am not wrong believe me on this I know too many Arabs and have heard them talk. Even the non-terrorists hate Jews and anyone who supports them. This is all about religious politics.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  5. family guy

    it all has to do with the muslim vote and politics , so the good people of america get sold down the river to appease terrorisim.
    score 1 for the enemy..

    August 3, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  6. Khan

    What is the point of insulting islam folks? Dont write rubbish about Islam please. Is writing nonsense about Islam give you pleasure? This is totally cheap and coward to write such a negative and insulting comments. If CNN allowed you to write comments, write them in a civillized manner...

    August 3, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  7. Double Standard

    There is a double standard when it comes to religion. Because the mosque is being built in the name of religion people think it is perfectly fine. However if I were to have blown up the world trade center in the name of penguins and someone wanted to build a penguin shrine near ground zero. People would say you are Fing crazy and not even consider the thought.

    I want to build a synagogue somewhere in the gaza strip would that ever be considered…no. However since we are in the US and people want to seem open minded a mosque is going to be build near ground zero! People also seem to think islam is a “peaceful religion” BS there are no other religions where it is OK to beat your wife or cut off her nose and ears if she cheats on you. Islam is not peaceful it is violent particularly towards women.

    Finally people feel animosity towards muslims doing this will only instill more. It is common sense not to build a mosque near ground zero however since muslims are close minded and abrasive when it comes to their religious beliefs they are going to build the mosque. I let most crazy things muslims have done in the name of religion go however this is too much.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
    • AMessenger

      @Double Standard: In total agreement with you.

      August 3, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  8. UAL

    I know, open a Jewish center right next to it. Make it so people who are going to the Muslim center have to walk right by it, perhaps walk under an Israeli Flag. Then standback and watch all hell break loose.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  9. sure

    did jesus believe in god?

    August 3, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
    • oshtsu

      He did and most importantly He believes in you!!

      August 3, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  10. Think America!

    Back in 2009 at Gaston Hall, Mr. Obama had removed (covered) the Catholic emblem IHM before he made his address. Open your eyes before it's too late. Please, America.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  11. The Gunny

    As a U.S. Marine, and a New Yorker, I am ashamed of this decision. I have walked among the ruins of Ground Zero, and the smell of this place has never left me. Now, I seem to smell the stench of appeasement in the air. I have also walked on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. I continue to wear my uniform for the firefighters, emergency responders, and law enforcement personnel who paid the ultimate sacrifice that day. I serve for those that were in service of others. This decision is not only insulting to me, but it is also insulting to the countless families who lost loved ones on that September morning.
    “No people in history have ever survived who thought they could protect their freedom by making themselves inoffensive to their enemies.”- Dean Acheson
    Wake up America, Wake up.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  12. mytch


    August 3, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
  13. Michael, Chapel Hill

    "Peace loving Muslims," Is there anybody like that?

    August 3, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
    • AlexNYC

      Wow, they are lowering the standards @ Chapel Hill.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  14. sam

    If 2 dudes can walk down the street freely kissing and holding hands . And the board of education can force my child to learn about 2 moomy's or 2 daddy's being normal . I say what's wrong wih freedom of religion??

    August 3, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  15. Aaron

    Umme – The Muslims in Spain were not killed after the Christians took over, they were expelled. Most settled in the Barbary area (modern day algeria, morrocco, Tunisia) and some became the Barbary pirates who raided Christian countries for slaves. Both Umme and Jack – you are missing my point. I am not arguing that Christians are good and Muslims are bad, both groups have done terrible things to the other. but in our society today the narrative is "western contries were powerful and bad, and other cultures were victims." History is more complicated than that. Violence goes round and round. I find the name "Cordoba initiative" offensive because it reminds me that muslims conquered a christian nation. Why name an outreach group after a chapter in this cycle of conquest? This does not mean that I do not have an open heart, just that I don't like being insulted.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  16. sam

    Ok hear is my argument..to those stupid liberals who doesnt have brain what they say...whats that reason creating mousqu there ..why not create all religious monumnets in one place...you should understand thats a trick...if liberals have enough guts to fight against other religion..why dont you guys go and fight in israel,kashmir and afganistan..you guys are bunch of cowards..always have lame arguments..look at INDIA one of the moste peacefull people in world headed by Mahatam gandhi ..leader of tolerance..that country is going to be islamic republic in 40-50 years..,,so the point is this is really unnecessary..USA should strengthen Islam liberals and they should fight against fanatism..they should clear their own mess from the community...that should be first task not Mosque...if you still support it God bless you..die like Peacefull indians in kashmir...

    August 3, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  17. Victor in San Diego

    If the intent is to build bridges, why not a center where all faiths can pray for those that died that fateful day? If a mosque is built, Christians and Jews cannot pray there, and that segrigates people even more. I am not talking about a place where one goes and prays as another does, but a multi use building that would be a "Geneva" of religious faith, since people of all faiths will be remembered. Moving into a neighborhood doesn't bridge gaps, eating at the same table does.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
  18. lochlan

    Zionism has such influence over our media and government, ever wonder why? Heard of the Rothschilds?

    "Knesset (Israeli Parliament) sits on a hilltop in western Jerusalem in a district known as Sheikh Badr before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and now known as Givat Ram. It was financed by James A. de Rothschild as a gift to the State of Israel."

    "The building was donated to Israel by Dorothy de Rothschild (wife of James A. de Rothschild). Outside the President's Chamber is displayed the letter Ms Rothschild wrote to Prime Minister Shimon Peres expressing her intention to donate a new building for the Supreme Court."

    Wonder why the US protects Israel? Who owns our government? You're all sheep.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
    • bobby5oh

      So you are saying the Jews are smart and other groups like yourself are stupid. So stupid people resort to killing others to get what they want. boo hoo.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  19. Bob

    Well, anyone can enter a mosque, women are treated equal, Jews can go in also, and lastly it is a peaceful religion and works great in the middle east, no fighting or killing each other in the name of their religion. So sure let's build more and more, even some in YOUR neighborhood.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
    • hasc

      What? No fighting or killing eachother in the name of religion? What do you think has kept American troops in Iraq for the last seven years? Bombings in Iraq between Siite's and Sunni's aren't considered fighting and killing?

      August 3, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
    • Bob

      Tell me you didn't miss my point. NO mosque until they are truly a religion for all.

      August 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  20. Claire

    It's time for america to unite....this is what New York needs!!! i support this project 100%

    August 3, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
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About this blog

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.