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)

    Real Americans will not allow this atrocity to exist for very long. Muslims are not the only people who know how to make ieds.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
    • Anonymous

      Real Americans respect just laws! Making threats about ieds, much less doing anything like that is beneath us.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  2. Mosque talk

    People of the panel. You let America down.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
    • InFormed

      Did you actually READ the article you just skipped down to the bottom to leave your own uninformed pointless remark?

      August 3, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  3. Carlton

    Now that the Muslims have a Mosque at ground zero Christians want a place of Worship in Mecca!!! Will you (CNN) make this request because I know our politicians won't!!!

    August 3, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  4. larry

    Muslims were killed in the attacks 2.
    Wern't landmark status/historic stautus used as excuses to keep areas from turning black or brown.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  5. Onefootout

    Sad commentary in the 381 comments so far. Of that I think 200 are from the same few people. It's a scary slice of our country.

    I'm a little embarrassed to have the rest of the world read our comments. I thought better of us.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  6. maggiemo

    Let them build it, let real Muslims show America and the world the truth about Islam. Having a mosque in the shadow is a slap in the face to the terrorists who murdered thousands in the name of their twisted interpretation of Islam. What they believed is NOT the real Islam.
    For those who feel it is a slap in the face of victim's families, I ask would you ban a Christian church from the site of the Oklahoma City bombing?

    August 3, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  7. Jerry

    Unbelievable!!!!!!! Radical Muslims kill 3,000 innocent people and we let them build a mosque on the site? Remember, this is the religion that still allows for the cutting off of hands and heads as punishment in Saudi Arabia.

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

      Unbelievable...hundreds of children are molested by Catholic priests and we still let them build Churches next to our schools. Wake up Jerry and smell your hypocrisy.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
  8. Robert Taylor

    America has become a door mat nation which has ceded its sovereignty.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  9. joey navy

    Wake up, America. Muslims....don't like America or our way of living....get out, no need to blow your sorry self up...don't go away mad, just go away. And that goes for anyone else, don't like it here? We didn't ask you to live on our land, you can go home now...back to the desert wearing your laundry on your head...

    August 3, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
    • Syed

      its not your land you psycho

      August 3, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
    • Diana

      "Joe Navy" I believe we did ask them to come here: Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of you teamming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

      August 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  10. Syed

    I hate Bin Laden and trust me majority of the muslims do.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  11. Whiskeydelta

    Why not just put a swastika symbol in a jewish cemetary?? That would be the equivalent. You people in New York need to squash that crap!

    August 3, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  12. Walker

    This area is not holy ground. Why are people so upset about this? If this country is going to tout religious freedom, it cannot be on a pick-and-choose basis. If we are going to do away with religious freedom, then tear down the houses of hate that the self-righteous Christians worship in.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  13. Shame

    This is shame, if Muslims starts building mosque at every terrorist attacked place then we will have mosque around the globe.
    Shame on you America for letting this happen.
    I cant believe this is how you honor 9/11 victims.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  14. Mk

    There should be no mosque. It is not a religion but political organization trying to take over the world.
    I know this people. If you want to know this religion, go to Asia (India,Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia etc. to see how inhuman these people are and question is they should be banned just like Nazis.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  15. bobby5oh

    You quote Old Testament stuff and 2 New Testament. Perhaps you should read Mark 7 in its entirety and hopefully you can get the message that Christ was making fools of the Pharasees because they criticized Him for eating with the poor and dejected.

    As for citing Luke Perhaps you should look up and understand what parable means.

    6) In Mark 7:9, Jesus is critical of the Jews for not killing their disobedient children as prescribed by Old Testament law.

    7) In Luke 19:22-27, Jesus orders killed anyone who refuses to be ruled by him.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  16. steved

    1) it is not a mosque 2) it is not on ground zero

    come on – at least argue the facts not on sensationalist emotions

    August 3, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  17. Monica

    also its quite interesting so many people are picking on one religion....must be something about Islam that attracts people all over the world...thats why its the fastest growing religion in the world...so will you say the whole world is turning into terrorists? and go look in the dictionary for the definition of a terrorist....you might find many Christian and Jewish Leaders as Terrorists as well...God bless America and its people....

    August 3, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
    • BridgeTheGap?

      Actually, I think the fastest growing religion is the absence of religion. Perhaps the the human race has finally decided to evolve and outgrow the cultural and mental mire of religion.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  18. Barbara

    So you're going to tell me that this is the only piece of real estate that's available and suitable for a mosque? 2 blocks from ground zero? The fact they (Muslims) would even attempt to build one so close to ground zero speaks volumes for their in sensitivity to the families who lost loved ones on 911 and the obvious distain they feel for us. To place issues of "political correctnes" above the consideration of these families is unfathomable. Muslims do not want to co-exist with us. They want to conquer and destroy us. And this is the first step.....to build a monument (probably funded by Iraqi Taliban) as a symbol of their conquest. Shame on the real estate company who owns it for even considering selling to these people. Yes, they are now 1 step closer to building it and 1 step closer to taking us over. London allowed a huge one to be build and now they regret it because it is a well known meeting place for extremists to plot terrorism. The same will happen here.
    Build one would be an abomination. You thought Hitler was bad? Just wait till Islam rules the world. Bloomsberg is afool.
    Guilianni never would allow this. Don't say you weren't warned.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
    • Jonathan

      That's a great argument (it's hard to show sarcasm in print) but you may want to re-read the article. These people already own the building. You can't tell me you would want to go spend money on another site unnecessarily.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  19. Jose

    Stop talking crap people and start asking when are we going to get our tower and memorial Built!!!!!!!!!! Two empty holes and people contiue to talk crap about religion. More people die from Obesity everyday in this freaking country than from terrorist attacks!! Continue believing in Kaizer Soze while your freedom and economy is been rob in front of your face!

    August 3, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  20. drp

    I think Muslims need to have some sensitivity aound building an Islamic center near ground zero. This is not to say never, but 9/11 was a day that will live in American's hearts and souls for a long time. The attack was perpetrated by extremist Muslims who still seek to kill us. I know most Muslims are not like that, and that is why I think they could put this building off for a few years...America is still in mourning.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:12 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.