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. zeb

    @kavi n . well i have warm wishes for u n i wish u a blissful marriage with a muslim woman. maybe one day the 3 of us will realise that we r brothers in faith and maybe we'll hug each other n cry !

    August 3, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  2. YoungAmerican

    Why can't we build a Pantheon like in Rome??? Pantheon is a Greek word meaning "to honor all Gods."

    August 3, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  3. Glas45

    What a shame. A huge monument to those terrorists killed while serving Allah. Disgraceful.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  4. Not afraid to hate

    this sickens me that these insensitive people are even considering building a place of worship in nyc. i am angered for those who lost someone in the sept.11 attacks and are going to have to deal with knowing this mosque will be right around the corner from ground zero. if i were in charge i would do anything in my power to make sure this thing isnt built. i am not one to be racist but i was at a very impressionable age when nyc was attacked and i cant get over the fact that a "peaceful religon" would do something so horrifying.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
    • disgusted

      Even if this "place of peaceful worship" (i use that term EXTREMELY loosely) is given permission to be built it is not going to be a very peaceful place. There will be protesters out there everyday, and I will make it a promise to myself and to the families who lost someone on that day to be one of those protesters some day. I clearly remember about a year after the tragic September 11th events I made a trip to ground zero to pay my respects to all of the innocent people that lost thier lives because a few "men" thought they were doing thier "god" a favor, and I hailed a cab. the drivers name was MOHAMMED. If my father did not scream at me to get in the cab, I would have walked away and hopped on the subway out of complete and utter anger for myself and all other Americans. This is a VERY sensitive subject for me because Americans are supposed to be open to everyone but it makes it hard when a certain religion is trying to kill your people ALL THE TIME. I am sure someone is going to try and defend these people but I am going to end my post with this: the shooter at Fort Hood was born in America to Muslim parents and was in the American army. He felt it was his duty to shoot his fellow military men and American Citizens.

      August 3, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  5. Tony

    I, uh... hate to break it to the random Internet Tough Guys who are frothing about this, but – there's already a bunch of mosques on Manhattan, including one a whopping five blocks from the WTC site.

    Better fire up the torches and pitchforks and get to work, huh? I mean, those terrorist generating spots have been spitting out suicide bombers, radicals with AK-47s and building-smashing airplanes for decades now, right? They need to be shut down!

    (Mind the dripping sarcasm, it's slippery. For those who don't get sarcasm, two words: grow up.)

    August 3, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
  6. Monica

    if all muslim are terrorists than all jews, and christians are terrorists as well. One way or another jews and christians have done wrong, just like some muslim leaders have done harm...we cant sit her and pin point to one religion and say the religion as a whole is bad....and if you think that way....your ignorant plain and simple IGNORANT AND UNEDUCATED...and for my fellow muslims dont feel sad when people here bash Islam....they are not worth your time....let them bark anything they want....and for those of you who are blaming Islam for the heinous acts of 911, then walk into a masq and open the Holy Quran and read what my religion states for taking away innocent lives....but if you wish to continue your lame remarks, then by all means do so....cuz what you say doesnt change anything....HAVE A NICE DAY!

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

      I'm glad you admitted the Qoran has a quote about taking innocent lives

      August 3, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
    • InFormed

      So does the Bible. Wake up and smell your own hypocrisy.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  7. KING

    Can we just build a strip club on the WTC site and knock off all this ya ya ya? We get it, you hate Muslims and Hispanics and Democrats, very Christian of you, now go away.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  8. ProudMuslim



    i bet u ppl cant read the bible like this, lol

    August 3, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  9. Dr.Hopkins

    History does not remeber the debate and discussion of the populace. History only remembers the actions. Showing the world that we Americans are the most benevolent Empire in the history of man by putting a symbol of the evil {i know Muslims arent evil} but having the strength and nobility to allow the edifice to be built shows how powerful and mighty this awsome empire of liberty is, and it makes me proud to be an American when i read that simple minded ignorance and treason speaking enemies like Sara Palin cant stop the truth of the American way.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  10. Red Roc

    May the blood of a thousand pigs shower each who enters this soon to be constructed terrorist center.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  11. Joe from Brooklyn

    I can't help but notice that most of those making the most noise in opposition to the muslim center are not from NYC. Four friends of mine were murdered by fundamentalist muslim terrorists on sept. 11, 2001. I'll never get over that. But I very much welcome a muslim center deicated to crossing bridges between muslims and Americans of other faiths. We have freedom of religion here in America – that's what makes us different from the extremists and I'm not willing to let Bin Laden or Palin take that away from us.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  12. Lawrence

    Since when is 45-47 unanimous when it comes to voting. Who said that its the Liberals fault these people voted this way? Most likely it was a money issue. If it's a landmark, fix it up and spend lots of money, if its not, sell it and make lots of money. They rater make money then spend it. By the way, it would be tax payer's money used to fix it up which I am for not selling it to those peace loving (Cough cough) muslims.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
    • Joe from Brooklyn

      45-47 is the adress, not the vote!

      August 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
    • verify

      "The commissioners voted unanimously against landmark status for 45-47 Park Place." 45-47 is the ADDRESS of the building - not the vote count.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  13. Flebotomy

    Watch this and then decide – this is coming from a Brit:

    August 3, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  14. Barry Soetoro aka Barrack Obama

    hasn't the city of NY though of the POTENTIAL danger in allowing this mosque to be built. There will be outrage if not riots. This is like getting kicked in the face wile you are down.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  15. hehehe

    I dont know all the bulls crap about religion but I see bin laden and his associates celebrating already.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  16. Kim

    Hhhmmmmm! Would they allow us over in the middle east to build a catholic or methodist or any other church of a
    christian faith in their neighborhoods????? This is a little crazy considering it is so close to ground zero. Surely it could be built somewhere else.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  17. Peacemaker

    Very sad day in America. Elie Wiesel a Holocaust survivor and human rights activist wrote, " I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

    We are America, land of the free. When we begin to deny people the freedom to build a Mosque or a Church somewhere, we are headed down a dangerous path.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  18. Jim Surrey

    Please realize that a lot of Muslims died that sad day in September as well. And many more innocent Muslims have died since as we hunt for Bin Laden and his cronies. You have to realize there are a minimum of 1 MILLION DEAD IRAQIS thanks to us invading their country in the name of freedom!

    Building a mosque NEAR and NOT AT Ground Zero is a slap to the terrorists and a big win for America! This is important in our effort to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan and maybe just maybe this gesture will stop them from attacking our soldiers in Afghanistan.

    My son is serving in Afghanistan, he sees terror first hand, he is fighting for United States and you know what, him being a Marine, he strongly supports this mosque in New York!

    Please lets not act so irrational and divisive. Lets not let idiots like Palin govern what is truly in our hearts. I was shocked that Anti-Defamation Group, who should have been clearly for this, are against it. It tells you the poison these right wingers are pumping into our society. Each person has rights to their opinion but the double stadard taken by fundamentalist right wing factions within our beautiful USA is just as scary as other fundamentalist factions and their agendas just as poisonous and heinous.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
    • Peacemaker

      Thank you, Jim for reminding us "Christians" that we TOO have .......... blood on our hands and plenty of it! Peace.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  19. ProudMuslim


    i googled 'cordoba;

    checky-checky first link:


    August 3, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  20. nancy

    I really think this is being looked at out of context. The vast majority of Muslims are peace loving people. I am truly thankful we live in country that preserves the right to the freedom of religious expression.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:58 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.