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. MNCitizen

    New Yorkers will regret this decision in the years ahead. This mosque will become a center of pilgrimage for Moslems the world over. They will come here to celebrate 9-11. In the future you will see news stories about how their radical imams came to this mosque to promote hatred against Christians and Jews. They will plan terror attacks from this site like they do from other mosques and keep weapons there.
    Don't believe the apologists for Islam responding here (such as Common Sense below). Islam believes in compulsion in religion. Islam put a special tax on non Moslems thru out its conquest of other lands. Today, Christians are persecuted in Egypt and Bahais in Iran. These are just 2 examples of many. Moslems practice the exact opposite of what they claim their religion stands for. If Moslems really believed in tolerance and non compulsion, then why don't they speak out against abuses of non Moslems in Islamic countries? Know the truth about this religion before it is too late.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
    • illuminated Genius

      That monument for terrorism will not be build and America will not allow it and true Americans will not allow it. The best thing that could happen is they bomb the place if they attempt to shove in our faces. Islam has failed, Islam reputation is destroyed. It is clear that this is being used as a symbol of Islamic victory. There is no such thing as tolerance in Islam, it is the most intolerant satanic death cult in the world. I hope they torch that place to the ground and do everything to destroy this evil project.

      August 3, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
  2. Edward

    This is for the poster: Commonsense. I am not trying to fight with you. I wish only to share my views. When you quote the Koran it doesn't mean much to me. In the Koran, Mohammed described heaven as a place where the rivers ran with wine. Later he forbade drinking alcohol. So, you can correctly quote the Koran, yet and say two opposite things. The issue of so much contradiction in the Koran is handled this way. What ever Mohammed said first, is over ruled by what he said later. (Please commonsense, I invite you to reply and correct any mistakes I have made. It will be interresting as I cannot be certain that I do not know more about Islam than you.) I was in Jarkarta (Indonesia is the worlds largest Muslim country) shortly after 9/11. There were posters up on the sides of buildings and on the sides of buses of Bin Landin. Twice in Manila, I narrowly escaped kidnapping attempts. Once through smarts and once through physical resistance. This Islamist are from the Mindano Islamic Liberation Front. (MILF, I know, I know) Yet another terrorist group that want to separate from the Philippines to have sharia law. This fight to separate is going on in many places in the world. I have grown, through traveling 54 countries, to not trust Islam. Why? They are allowed to lie by their religion. I don't think that Mohammed was trying to keep peace in his family when he took his half-son's wife away to be his own. But I am glad that YOU wish his family well. I will never see perfection in a Prophet that married a 9 year old girl and raped her at 12 years old. I know a Muslims cannot understand my disgust with this, but I do not see this as perfection. That Bacha Basi is practiced in Afganistan, Tajiikistan and exclusively in Muslims countries further upsets me as far from pefection as possible. (Bacha Bazi = Dressing a little boy in womens clothing, putting bells on his wrists and ankles and making him dance before a group of men. Saddly, the end result of the dancing is rape of the child. When Mohammed was young, he said wonderful thing. These are the verses we see Muslims quote on comment boards. Never is it mention that these versus are over ruled by the hate from the later years of Mohammed's life. He was slowly poisened and I am sure he fell terrible. This might explain how he went from love to hate. What a shame that his loving teachings are over ruled by his hateful teachings. For the Islamic relighion alone, I must arrive at the airport 3 hours before a one hour flight to NYC (Muslim 9/11 plane crashers).. I must take off my shoes (Muslim shoe bomber) serrender my liquids and creams (Muslim liquid explosive bomber) And perhaps enter a machine that can see through my clothes (Muslim underpants bomber) Read that carefully again. Did you see Jew, Christian, Hindu, Budhists, Agnostic, Druid... No, all I have listed is due to Muslims. Travel is torture now. Because I was at LAX (Los Angles airport) when the army ran in with big guns and screamed at us "The president of the United States of America has put this airport at high risk of a terrorist attack. We are at code red." After all of this (and ten times more that I am leaving out) I also have the incovience of throwing up before my flight and needing to take tranqulizers before flying. I have reason to be angry as I earn my living by traveling. I wish there were flights that excluded anyone form the exploding religion. I would feel far safer. Nothing here is false, nothing here is embellished. This is true. Luckily for Commensense, he can go to the earlier parts and qoute me beautiful things that no loner apply to Islam. Once you are dragged down the street by Muslims who want to bring you to Mindano, extort money from your family and then behead you, will will drop your arguement. Everyone here that says Muslims have every right to build a Mosque at Ground Zero are 100% correct. But pushy, pushy, pushy, jeez. They have the legal right, you are correct about that. But I am correct about Islam.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
    • Acaraho

      Contradictory like the Bible is contradictory? Religion means nothing to the wise man who follows a path of faith and holiness.

      August 3, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
  3. Reality

    Islam is not a peaceful religion. They have built-in hatred for Christians. Their goal is to behead every Jew and Christian around the world in any way shape or form. Get that into your little ignorant minds. Stop watching American Idol or listening to rap and get your rear ends out there to protest and DEFEND this cancer with force if necessary, that is growing in NYC, Arizona, and everywhere where liberals are!

    August 3, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
    • tolerant

      This is what Islam teaches about the Christians:

      1. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, who is exalted in the Qur`an, as is Christ.
      2. Christ was the Messiah.
      3. Christ performed miracles.
      4. He was a WORD from God.
      5. They did not slew the Messiah (= WORD), so the divine side of Jesus did not die. Sounds familiar?
      6. Christians are believers too as they follow the message of God.
      7. Christians are People of the BOOK.
      8. Islam accepts all the Prophets and Messengers that the Christians believe.

      Which other religion comes close to Christianity vis-a-vis the essential doctrine of Christianity?

      So why the hatred towards Islam?

      August 3, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
    • Reality

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

      August 3, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  4. John Wayne is dead

    Does anyone know if Red Cross dumped it's symbol the cross because it offended Muslims?

    August 3, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  5. cody

    Freedom of religion was not made to protect hate group like Islam. Yes, any group that thinks every country that is not run by Sharia law is their enemy and that non-believers deserve to be harassed, maimed, or killed, is an intolerant hate group.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
    • Mike in NJ

      Your interpretation is, to put it bluntly, WRONG.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
    • cody

      Mike your interpretation, to put it bluntly, is naive.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
    • tolerant

      Do you see any Muslims spreading hatred here?

      We have forgotten a very basic principle: Do unto others what you want done to yourself. Or Treat others like you'd want to be treated.

      We need to see "others" as "us".

      August 3, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  6. Dale

    I have an idea, lets have the same unions who are rebuilding the world trade centers build the mosque. The world trade center is 8 years behind schedule and must likely way over budget. These same unions should build the mosque, it would never get built and just like the new world trade center (freedom tower") it would must likely be way over budget.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  7. Serenity27

    Money cannot by peace and liberty but it sure can by indoctrination and ignorance....!

    August 3, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  8. kanon

    Bigotry loses once again.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  9. big tex

    wow..Larry Sessions..that was one interesting video...

    August 3, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  10. toxictown

    I agree that this is not the most tasteful of ideas and the muslim group behind it should be more sensitive, however, it is not like they are building it ON ground zero. NYC is a very cramped place. I'm sure if we looked hard enough there are already mosques and other islamic facilities quite close to "ground zero". How far away is far away enough? 4 blocks? 10 blocks? A mile? 2 miles?

    August 3, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • Terence

      Exactly my feeling on this. Where do you draw the line on what "too close" is? As soon as you get into this debate, you will open a Pandora's Box of issues of freedom of religion. Oh, you Americans—what a great country you live in.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  11. Jayrock

    I love how people have a bias on a religion based on radicals who call themselves Muslims. So I guess if a small sector of people are enough for you to generalize and hate a large population of the world that are Muslim, I guess we can make the same assumption that all Americans are disgusting gay hating, soldier hating, unpatriotic pieces of Christian poop based on the actions of those idiots from Westboro Baptist Church. I guess the only people in the USA who deserve freedom to practice their own form of religion are those spiteful Christians who have murdered, pillaged, and terrorized everyone else on the face of the planet in the name of God. You all are idiots, end of story.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • cody

      When Americans (which are not all christian by the way) or Christians dance in the streets because of another groups actions, then you can blame them. Muslims danced on 9/11, thats why we blame them for the hate that is spread from their religion.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
    • Jayrock

      So just because you saw on t.v. a group of folks cheering on the attacks on 9/11 means all of the Muslim world was cheering too right? Again, generalize the Muslim populace based on a 10 second news reel. The power of media herds the sheep pretty good, especially the ones that follow and don't think.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  12. JennyTX

    I am worried that the nice people who attend the mosque will be subjected to name-calling, harassment, and other forms of hatred, including violence.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • Reality

      Oh, that is nice JennyTX......me too! I am worried that the liberals have killed so much of this country that beheading people because they are not Muslim will become a daily ritual here! Cutting throats really hurt! Remember Daniel Pearl? If I were you, I would start to worry a little, even in Texas my dear! You do not know how close your life is at stake right now! It is not funny!

      August 3, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
    • Reality

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

      August 3, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  13. KevinBob

    All the hate America, get in your face mosque supporters are trying to call the 80 percent of us in this country hateful. We would be hateful if we wanted to build a KKK Shrine in Gettysburg, PA a Civil War battlefield; a museum in Hiroshima showing the development of the Atomic Bomb and call it the Manhattan Project. But these hate America bunch want to allow a mosque built right near the WTC site. What's the difference? I'm sure the ACLU will have an explanation.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  14. Reality

    No Walmart? That is your American ignorance. People spend hours walking around walmart to try to take a picture of someone weird shopping there, then they send that crap via emails to make fun of it. My friend, in Cuba, not only are there NO walmarts, there is NOTHING! No food, No clothing, no electricity, no potable water, no nothing.........now also happening in Venezuela under dictator criminal Chavez. THANK GOD THAT YOU DO HAVE A WALMART WHERE YOU CAN AT LEAST BUY CLOTHING AND FOOD!!!!!! Not like Cuba!

    August 3, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  15. Ben

    Can I build a catholic church and bingo center in Tehran Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad... please, please may I.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  16. Jemes

    Those who claim Quran as the ultimate book of tolerance, can you please justify why are there so many references to kill infidels? Why peace loving prophet personally killed men, women and children? Ground Zero Mosque is a slap on the face of tolerance. Success for Taqiah (Islamic war time principle of fooling infidels when the infidels are large in number). Islam is at war with the west. Not surprising western version of the quran (written in English) omit those references. A victory for Islamists. At first a moderate outside, which is in fact a musk of disguising the militant inside. Question is, can a quasi religious-political movement such as Islam can ever be moderate? Those who say yes, should read history. Moderate face of Islam is only to exploit the western value of tolerance and get a foothold. Ultimately extremists and radicals take over, because majority of Muslims are fundamentalist and hate west. The big question is when you have mosque already 12 blocks away from the ground zero that can readily serve your intent to show goodwill, why do you need another 2 blocks away? According to a philosophy of an established civilization, pride in any form is dangerous. Even pride in tolerance. Some time there has to be intolerance for greater good of humanity. After all who are we supporting or facilitating. A medieval religion that spews venom to pagans, Hindus, Jews, Christians, Atheists and keep half of its population under Hijab. The decision to grant permission to build this Islamic center is a slap on the face of tolerance.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
    • Jayrock

      Can you explain why God killed millions of people in the Bible while the Devil only killed 10? Can you explain why in the Bible a gay man should be stoned to death on spot? Can you explain the Spanish Inquisition? Can you explain the Crusades against the "infidels". Can you explain the millions of souls that were tortured and put to execution under the name of God and the prosperity of Christianity? Why can't you follow your own teachings and love thy neighbor?

      August 3, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  17. Sam

    Islam is a very wicked and violent religion and must be banned allover the world.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  18. Maui Craig

    Building this structure in New York is as offensive to Americans as building a sushi restaurant in Hawaii. Both have got to be stopped.

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

    If Islam really is a religion of peace, why are there so few (none?) Islamic countries which are Democratic and free in the way that Judeo-Christian countries are? Why are they so horribly repressive of women and minorities? Why are women afforded fewer rights than men, often to the point of being without rights at all? Is this the product of a peaceful religion. You know the tree by it's fruits.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  20. dwight huth

    Blame the military drama writers for this move. They are hoping that the building of the mosque generates some type of violence between people so they can write another book of fiction to continue to feed the maul of the oil industry with military sensationalism. of being patriotic and American.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:18 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.