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. Liam M Lowe

    You people just break me up. It was NOT Islam that attacked the twin towers on september 11, 2001. The attack was perpetrated by a bunch of terrorists with legitimate beefs with no one willing to listen. Terrorism is not the answer to ignored greivances but ignorant reactions are not the answer to terrorism. The U.S.A. is a multicultural country and to deny any religion their right to express themselves through the building of an ediface is wrong and anti american. You people watch way too much CNN.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  2. AmericaISgreat

    I am a muslim who always think that USA is the best and a great country. Here is one one more reason to strengthen my belief.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  3. nkl

    This is disgusting! Really?! I bet the muslim extremists are peeing in their pants at how stupid we are for allowing this!

    August 3, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  4. Joey

    You already have Stars on your flag.. now make room for a moon as well. You guys are going to be an Islamic country soon so might as well start early ... I just cant believe you guys. South Park and family guy make fun of Christ and that is freedom of religion and speech but everyone chickens out when it comes to saying anything against Islam.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
    • tolerant

      There is no evidence to support your claim. The Muslims are a tiny minority and even if they start producing more children than the non-Muslim Americans, it'll take over 2000 years for America to become a majority Muslims.

      So your assertion is nonsense and purely fearmongering.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • tolerant

      To Anthony: Simple math.

      August 3, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  5. big tex

    a slap in tha face....we are such a forgiving country...we'll help others but not our OWN people in America and their needs....

    August 3, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  6. Ricky712

    People are acting like white Christians were the only ones killed by the jihad extremists. It's a free country, and the Soho should be able to make a mosque with their privately owned real estate.

    It's funny how Palin, Ms. Anti-Government, wants the government to intervene and control privately owned property.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  7. Larry Sessions

    I don't know that I agree with the statistics, and the reference to being a "Christian" nation is irrelevant, but still, everyone should at least watch this:

    August 3, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
    • dutchblitz1

      The statistics sounds about right. Before 9/11, about 25,000 Americans converted to Islam per year. Since 9/11, it is about 100,000 per year.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  8. J. T

    stop posting this moderate garbage if you have never read the q'uran! it states "kills the christians and jews wherever you find them" for crying out loud! anyone who claims to be a muslim and does not do this is not a moderate muslim, they aren't a muslim period! they just use its structure of worship. geez people, get some education...I suppose you believe the Tamil Tigers are a breed of predator felines...

    August 3, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
    • Ben

      That would be informative if it wasn't a lie.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
    • tolerant

      Read the verses before the verse you have quoted to understand the human situation it addresses. Taking things out of context to suit your agenda is pure ignorance.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  9. Reality

    America – your ignorance – has just killed your country. You vote 70% against the Arizona law but the liberals won and the people marching in Phoenix with the American Flag (which they later burn) and Che Guevara shirts have taken over. You will now see the murder rate in your city like Ciudad Juarez! You protest this mosque close to 9/11 but the little liberals voted on it anyways! Right there – a slap in the face – and a great place to build a massive explosive device right in your own city – New York! Instead of fighting this with arms, you are now sitting in your couch drinking a beer. In a few days, you will not even be able to defend yourself as another little group of liberals will take your amendment 2 away so you will not have any weapon to defend yourself – only the criminal will! You have that professor in California declaring war on white people that he will kill every white and viva Chavez and Castro but none of you have come to resist him and take care of that traitor. You got injured protecting this land in wars but now the ACLU is demanding that all flags, pledge of allegiance, and crosses be taken down because it offends Muslims. Go ahead, continue your beer drinking. Soon, it is all over. No markets, no stores, no Walmarts, no McDonalds, no nothing but mass rationing! and if you are lucky and able to convince your new Muslim government that you are not a Christian or Jew, you may be lucky to breathe another day of air! I would start looking where to hide right now because your ignorance and lazyness has caused the demise of the United States! This nation is not worth defending anymore. It has died. The liberals have won in throwing it down a toilet. Decent Americans – your lives are in extreme danger! Wake up and protest in masses, power if necessary, but it may already be too late. It is your right but may already be gone!

    August 3, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
    • BridgeTheGap?

      No WalMart? That's bad?

      August 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Reality, this Sounds very much like a speech Hitler gave back in 31". If non of your "predictions" come to pass will you then convert to Islam?

      August 3, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • Reality

      Somehow the moderators are allowing the same ID to be used by different individuals. The comments above are not from the original Reality.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
    • Jim Surrey

      Reality...if you are even a thousand miles close to reality in the first place!

      Your hatred and immaturity knows no bounds. Islam is one of the three religions that is so closely intertwined with Judaism and Christianity that it is ridiculous. It is sad that someone who denies Holocaust is viewed as an absolute inhumane SOB but we tend not to mention the killing of people of other races, lets say hundreds of thousands Muslim Kashmiris being killed by so called peaceful Hindu East Indians in VERY recent history, the genocide in Rwanda between Tutsis and Hutus, the mass killing of Muslim Bosnians by Christian Serbs, the killing in China by their own secular race against themselves, the God fearing Jesus loving Protestants and God fearing Jesus loving Catholics killing each other in Northern Ireland, the Christian Basque Separatists killing almost daily in Spain, the Hindu Tamil Tigers killing people in Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka, the Catholic drug dealers in Mexico killing their fellow Catholic opponent drug dealers.

      I mean, how many examples of religious, racial, tribal and national hatred and propaganda are we willing to let into our lives? In my opinion this mosque is a beacon of hope, love and American greatness.

      This coming from me, the white Christian Vietnam vet and my son who is currently serving in Afghanistan. He thinks letting this mosque being built is one of the best ways to win hearts and minds, something we have failed to do so far in our wars whether in Vietnam, Korea, Cuba, Russia and now in Iraq and Afghanistan!

      Please, think straight and think far beyond your own 4 walls. World has become smaller but that doesn't mean our brains have to follow suite!

      August 3, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  10. Joey

    Everyone should ask themselves what those Hijackers in hell would be thinking right now.. surely they would be laughing at you Americans !! You already have stars on your flag now make room for the moon as well !!

    August 3, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  11. Mark from Middle River

    Three blocks and around the corner folks. There are walmarts closer to Civil War battlefields.

    Don't let the news media incite your rage. Think about it ....buildings "at" ground zero were effected when the towers fell and were damaged or torn down. This thing is sitting pretty far away yall'

    August 3, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  12. J. T

    When you are a muslim, there is no other designation. You can only be a muslim. You cannot be a muslim-american

    because those two idealogies clash more than americanism and being a true christian...this is sad. It is evident that muslims build things on top of temples they have destroyed, basically in an attempt to erase history, to say. Its ours now...what a horrible, evil thing to do, to destroy beautiful ancient architecture, they'd destroy the great pyramid if they could. Of course other groups are guilty of this as well..namely Nazi's and Communists...Islam is right up there with those two, except it hides its political and socialogical dominence structure behind as thin veil of religion, and therefore gets away with it.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
    • Ben

      Nice job of generalizing a billion people with your ignorant opinion.

      You are a disgrace to the amazing and unique brain our species possesses.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
    • EW

      Certainly nothing in the USA is built on top of Indian sacred burial grounds or anything like that....

      August 3, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  13. M Lee

    People WAKE up! How can you spineless wimps let this happen? Whats next, teaching their language in public schools? They are laughing at our lack of will and our over abundance of STUPIDITY disguised as compassion and understanding. it WILL empower them. The destruction of this area, the impact of this explosion and 2 of our proudest buildings not only killed 3,000 INNOCENT people, it blasted many of their bodies into small pieces that were never found and were blown for blocks away. This mosque is literally being BUILT OVER THEIR BONES! One of your lost loved ones may be under their new building. We have become a fragile, scared nation hiding behind our curtains. Keep hiding under your covers while your country is shamed, humiliated, taunted and taken over. You get what you REAP, and we all know the GRIM REAPER is fanatical muslims. Don't be afraid the rest of your lives. DO SOMETHING if not for your self, then for our future and the future of our kids.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  14. Colton

    It's sad reading these comments. people really don't understand what our Country is about. I'm not religious, but I am an American and I lived in NYC on 9/11. I hope this Muslim house of worship is allowed to be built. New York City is a melting pot! To think that we'd allow 9/11 to take that away form us is sickening! People on here are actually threatening to blow it up? Pull it together! This is America, act like it!

    August 3, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
    • illuminated Genius

      Yes i am very sad reading comments of morons and weaklings like you who support this offensive mosque. These people don't care about you, they want to cut your head off if you don't convert to Islam. This about being tolerant of the most intolerant death cult on this planet. Stop protecting religion, listen to the Atheists point of view for a change and you will learn something instead of allowing America to lose its pride and be destroyed by the muslim terrorists.

      August 3, 2010 at 9:04 pm |
  15. Jason

    This is a great idea! Why dont we build a Nazi museum at Pearl Harbor while we are at it?

    August 3, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  16. JohnQuest

    Reality, you forgot to add the verse that follows:

    8:61 And if they incline to peace, incline thou also to it, and trust in Allah. Lo! He, even He, is the Hearer, the Knower.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
    • Reality


      And as you know, the koranic messages of world domination by Islam supersedes any messages of peace with infidels.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  17. Jacob Mathews

    Infidels are all the non muslims by the way. Who wrote those? What religion says that?

    August 3, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
    • Ben

      Do you speak Arabic? Have you studied the Koran? I'm going to say "no" because that isn't what infidel means.

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

      "kaffu" is the proper term.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
    • SYLV

      "kaffur" is the proper term.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
    • tolerant

      Incorrect translation will only cause confusion amongst the ignorant! The Qur`an recognizes that there are believers who adhere to the message of a true messenger and prophet of God and follow their own traditions than the ones followed by what are now known as Muslims. The rejectors of the Truth (kaafir) is a strong term and implies a conscious and deliberate covering and rejection of the Truth, something only God will decide as He is the only one who intimately knows each of us.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  18. zeb

    how i wish all the native americans may rise up and ask these white racist colonists to get out of their land.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  19. Sharon

    This is totally obsured, is the Obama party and his friends promoting war in the U.S. This kind of action has to stop, its bad enough he can't secure our borders on actual facts, and lack of security, let alone have extremist now holding sacred territory to the American !!! people. This will only promote his weakness with our enemies, unless he too is on their side I wonder sometimes. I try not to be prejudice but one cannot help themselves when there has been so much conflict, and lack of security on our borders. CONGRESS AND THE OBAMA PARTY NEED TO STOP SELLING MY COUNTRY TO ITS ENEMIES

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

      Holy crap, are you having a stroke right now our something? Your brain doesn't appear to be working properly.

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

      Sharon, you think Bush did a better job of securing the borders?

      August 3, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
    • Ben

      JohnQuest, please stop using that stupid argument. It just perpetuates an image that all liberals do is blame Bush. Just stop it and don't mention Bush again. There are plenty of other VERY STRONG ways to argue against people like this.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
    • Colton

      I doubt you'll look it up but I hope you do. The border is more secure now than it has ever been. Obama has repeatedly asked Congress for immigration reform and they have not acted (Dems and Rep)

      August 3, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  20. Spike

    I understand why they did not vote preserve the building. But the fact of a mosque going up there leaves me just.... I can't even say how wrong this is.

    August 3, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
    • mary

      Yet the feelings of those of us that think this is wrong..Are not considered.. We are accused of having hate and a lack of forgiveness.
      Well, what about indifference and a lack of compassion on the part of those who want this mosque built here?
      It's as if the world has lost all common sense or common decency.. And only the wrong way prevails..

      August 3, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
    • Ben

      You aren't being considered because all of your objections are fundamentally flawed. Why would a physicist consider your opinion when designing an experiment for the LHC? He wouldn't because you're incompetent on the subject.




      August 3, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57
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.