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. Reality

    Why there should be no mosques anywhere on the face of Earth:

    8:59-60 “Let not the unbelievers think that they can get the better (of the godly): they will never frustrate (them). Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of God and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom God doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of God, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly.”

    Another translation makes this plain – “The infidels should not think that they can get away from us. Prepare against them whatever arms and weaponry you can muster so that you may terrorize them.”

    August 3, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
    • Ben

      Have you READ the Bible? If you're judging them by their books then no Christian churches or Jewish synagogues should exist either...

      August 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    • Reality


      Apparently you missed the following commentary:

      Recognizing the flaws in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity by the "bowers", "kneelers" and "pew peasants" will quickly converge these religions into some simple rules of life. No clerics, imams, rabbis and priests needed or desired. Ditto for their places of mythi worship. It will be called the great "Pink Slipping" of religion and its leaders.

      As per James Somerville, Philosophy professor emeritus from Xavier University, Cincinnati,

      "The faith of the vast majority of believers (and non-believers) depends upon where they were born and when."

      It is disturbing that such religious violence and hatred continues unabated due to radomness of birth. Maybe just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of it all.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  2. spado

    This mosque was supposed to represent moderate Islam and perhaps create unity has created intense division. This division cannot be blamed on bigotry, as other mosques are built in NYC without any kind of uproar. It is inherently inflammatory to erect a large building in honor of a belief system that was used as justification for the murder of innocents on the grave of those innocents. Surely a group that pretends to aspire for unity would understand how inciting this action would be.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  3. Jacob Mathews

    Did you hear what abu-fakhri wrote? Watcht out folks? This is what I call the ultimate purpose behind the Mosque at ground Zero. Muslim Domination all around the world. They are trying to convert the whole world to their religion. God Bless USA.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
    • SYLV

      Maybe muslim domination wouldn't be a bad thing since the left will have to give up some perverted and nasty habits.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
    • EW

      Are you suggesting that Christians are not trying to convert everyone to their religion?

      August 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  4. May

    Wale up America !! Did you read about our newest Bin Laden? Home grown, right here in the USA. A mosque this close to the place of mass murder, will not only allow insult to the victims and their familiies, but serve to embolden more disitants.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  5. Will


    I for one am not white, nor christian. I also am not against a mosque being built in NYC. BUT why at this particular spot??? Especially considering the background of this particular Iman. Hate to break it to you all, but not everything is about racism!

    August 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  6. SK2

    The question is will any Islamic nation allow a Christian church, Buddhist Temple, Mormon or Jewish Temple or worship cite be build in a sacred area like Ground Zero is to the American People. sometimes the American government have to identify it peace and love making policy. no everyone wants it. I'm not saying that every muslim is a terrorist nor extremist but the truth is. Islam is fake, Mohamed is a fraud and a fake. For the peace seeking muslim, understand that building a mosque next or few blocks from Ground Zero it like slamming fingers that have already been broken through a door. Will the republic of Iran allowed John Piper to open a Bethlehem Baptist Church next to Ayatollah Khameni grave???? Question yourself New York City Mayor.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
    • Ken

      "The question is will any Islamic nation allow a Christian church... be build in a sacred area... "

      No, that is not the question. It's simply whether or not NYC will allow this particular center in this particular spot.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  7. Chuck

    BURN IT TO THE GROUND WITH 3000 MUSLIMS IN IT. There, now we're even.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
    • tolerant

      So you are promoting violence and terrorism against a religious minority!?

      August 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
    • dentris

      Hey Tolerant – You gonna report him, too? Who made you the Allah of this board? Your handle is BS, as is this ridiculous idea to build a mosque 2 blocks from ground zero.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
    • tolerant

      dentris: Yes, I did report him, because he is promoting violence, which, in your views, is acting like the Muslims.

      August 3, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  8. Mohammed Dohadwala

    hahahahahaa.... Dude that is so hilarious! I bet thats exactly what FOX NEWS is gonna spin this as.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  9. Dan

    @dan – Sure, the last Crusade was 700, but how long ago was the last abortion clinic bombing? Or doctor killing? or Fred Phelps protest?

    August 3, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  10. andy

    Some people just don't get it! Allowing freedom of religion is a tribute to those who lost their lives at the WTC. Those who would kill in the name of religion would only take pride in the fact they have made us more like them. Don't you know the scripture "turn the other cheek" and "do unto others?" Maybe, there shouldn't be any religious buildings around any place on earth, as every religion, Christianity moreso than any other, has been evoked in the justification of killing, always by the insane.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  11. Meh

    So, those mischievous Muslims are up to their dirty tricks still I see.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  12. Gil

    Lets see now, A group of Muslims blew up the twin towers so all muslims are terrorsts. The guys who blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City were Christians, so using this logic, all Christians are terrorsts. So there shouldn't be any christian churches near ground zero either? Interesting concept people.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
    • SYLV

      Timothy McVeigh was an agnostic, and he was executed. When was the last time a the muslims were sentenced to execution. Tolerance my eye!

      August 3, 2010 at 3:57 pm |

    In response to “ common sense”
    Jesus most certainly did say that He “Jesus” is the only way to The Father “Heaven”
    John 14:6
    6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  14. SYLV

    Get real. The Left approves this crazy rap because it ticks off mainstream america. Tolerance my eye.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  15. Jacob Mathews

    How can Timothy Mcvay be a christian? There is many so called name sake christians. A christian is a tollerant and forgiving person unlike a muslim. Christians believe in christ and his principles.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • Syed

      How old are you? you really need to educate yourself.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
    • andy

      You don't know what you are talking about but somehow that is what this new world seems to be about.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
    • tolerant

      The Muslims also believe in Christ and his message. He was the Messiah, a WORD from God, born of virgin Mary, had miracles. Islam is the closest to Christianity vis-a-vis Christ and Mary than any other religion in the world. So why the ignorance and hatred?

      August 3, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
    • InFormed

      Yes the Salem witch trials were a prime example of religious kindness and good old 'christian' values.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
    • Facts

      You can make this statement about Christians but you can't spend the brainpower to apply the same argument to Islam? There are so many people, including millionaires in Saudi Arabia who are Muslim in name only. Terrorists are undoubtedly namesake Muslims, because they are destroying the essence of Islam with their violent acts.

      A Muslim is a tolerant and forgiving person, just like Christ and all the prophets before him taught them to be. They believe in the wholesome principles that their religion prescribes to live righteously and peacefully. No terrorist can say they believe the same thing, so no terrorist has any right to call themselves Muslim.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    • Mark M

      The same way that Muslims who commit acts of violence in the name of Islam can be Muslims. There are extremists in any group, whome will use the name of their religion, cause, or whatever they can, to justify their acts.

      I'm sure lots other Muslims, the ones who follow their faith peacefully and spiritually, say the same thing about the terrorist extremists you're speaking of – "They weren't REALLY Muslims."

      It's easy to decry and disown those that don't follow and behave EXACTLY like you do, just to "wash away" the possible association.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
    • Facts

      Thank you for your comment.

      I make the point of stating that they are not Muslims because nothing about their acts represent what Islam teaches. I have to make a point of removing "possible association" because so many others are creating this association and causing this unnecessary division in the first place.

      People claim that "moderate" Muslims do nothing to condemn or stop radical extremists. My stating that they do not embody the tenets of Islam is my own humble way of doing just that. I loathe the murder of 3000 innocent civilians and I hate those terrorists for the damage they have done to Islam simply by claiming themselves to follow it.

      The Islamic world cannot root out an eliminate terrorism any better than the US military has been able to. As you alluded in your comment, extremism is not exclusive to Islam. Why do Muslims have to put up with any association with such an ugly thing?

      August 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  16. B

    This is ridiculous. How can you not allow them to build there?

    The attacks of September 11th were carried out by a TERRORIST ORGANIZATION, not by a RELIGION. So because some guys who hijacked planes happened to worship differently than you, these Muslims are not allowed to build a place of worship in New York City? Maybe we should change the tagline we often associate with our country to "Land of the free (as long as you are white and Christian)".

    August 3, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
    • illuminated Genius

      It is also ridiculous that Americans don't stand up and fight this symbol of Islamic conquest being build as a symbol to destroy America. The religion that murdered 3,000 people now will have a monument to honor Al-Qaida how disgraceful and repulsive, shame on those sell out politicians! Islam has failed, Islam is a failure and so is this idea which has not even been started. It will be fought to the death rest assured Islam will also fall. Intolerance is preached in Islam world wide, this thing will not be build and will be protested heavily.

      August 3, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
  17. olmanmahreen

    How many churches have America’s evil christian conquerors built on the sacred land we stole from the hundreds of thousands we murdered? How many churches stand today in the decimated blast zones of our handiwork Hiroshima? Nagasaki?

    August 3, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  18. B

    This is ridiculous. How can you not allow them to build there?

    The attacks of 9/11 were carried out by a TERRORIST ORGANIZATION, not by a RELIGION. So because some guys who hijacked planes happened to worship differently than you, these Muslims are not allowed to build a place of worship in New York City? Maybe we should change the tagline we often associate with our country to "Land of the free (as long as you are white and Christian)".

    August 3, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  19. Buttons

    This is a lose lose situation. Even if the Muslim Center is built, there will be many unhappy people, most likely daily protest which ruins the chance of peaceful prayer as this will not just go away, and only sow the seeds for further ignorance towards Muslims. No matter which side wins, everybody loses.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  20. abu-fakhri

    Mashallah! Success at last. We shall dominate the America from the inside out.... ECONOMIC JIHAAD... We can only succeed by beating the white supremacy at their own game – INTELLIGENCE CHESS.

    My brothers, we must go to school, become successful doctors, lawyers engineers, and dominate this capitalist society from the inside out... we can rule the world in this way... play their stupid 'democracy game' and then flip it around against them.

    mmmmwahhahahahahaha, we muslims will dominate without you white americans even realize it.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • tolerant

      Utter nonsense and ignorance!

      August 3, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • Aberforth Dumbledore

      lol, hehe. Exactly what the Dark Lord would want us to do. The Ministry of Magic is nearly within our grasp...

      August 3, 2010 at 3:52 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.