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. JohnQuest

    Please let me know when true law abiding Americans join this talk, I guess you people believe that the law should only be followed when it is convenient and that you agree with it.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  2. shock'd..

    I just honestly do not see the purpose of doing such a thing. I understand that the ok, freedom of religion or what have you.. fine, but a mosque near ground zero? For a group of people, a culture.. who has never wanted association with past events, to go ahead and even think up something like this, is an insult. I do not see anyone around here planning to build a catholic or christian church in the middle of an American destroyed site some where out in the middle east. That is just absurd.. and extremely disrespectful to many Americans. At the end of the day we can not pretend what has VERY clearly ALREADY happend.. 911 is a FACT. Lets think about this.....

    August 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  3. Ron

    OH BOY, like us you Americans are bowing down to the minority of your population. The ones that hate our western way of life and yet want to live it and take what it offers and all the time work out how to destroy it and destroy to people who give them freedom and choice.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  4. Emma K

    This is an outrage, another foot in the door for another piece of America slowly but surely they have and are moving in, wake up America.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  5. Slufoot

    Bloomberg the blooming idiot gives his blessing. That is about right for this coward. Hand over Bin Laden let us hang his right there where the towers used to be then you can build the Moqsue on that site. But first hand over good ole Binny please.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
    • Facts

      Who should hand him over? The building owners? Surely they know exactly where he is because they're all pals, right?

      Use just a little common sense.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  6. JohnQuest

    spado, If what you say is true then explain the following fruits"

    The South American Drug Wars
    Iraqi Invasion
    The Balkins

    All wars started by Judeo-Christian

    August 3, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  7. JustSoYaKnow

    I could not be more disgusted with Jay, Houston's comment. There is no rational cause to insult the prophet Muhammed in that way, and to lump in Mormons with the insult is equally appalling and indicating of his ignorance. Every religion has a complicated history, complicated further by ambiguous scriptures that aren't desgined for our times, and have been corrupted depending on the failings of their followers and specific communities. Compare Christians between the U.S., Italy, and Zaire and you'll see the difference geography can do. Everyone should read CommonSense's and tolerant's explinations of Islam and keep them in perspective. Every religion has its faults, but the purest senses of what they're trying to teach is always love and peace. While I'm Christian myself, I've always been very aware of the 'no-compulsion' element to Islam, and believe in it in conjunction with my faith.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  8. Jacob Mathews

    yes mayor is just worried about revenue. Does he really care about anything else?

    August 3, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  9. VA boy

    I cannot believe that this is going forward! This is like putting a churh a block from the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The Saudis wouldn't allow it and neither should we. I understand that we're a tolerant country, mindful of other's beliefs, however, the developers of this mosque seem to not be mindful of the fact that 3000 Americans were murdered by Saudi nationals!

    August 3, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
    • tolerant

      So, what you are suggesting is that America should follow the Saudis and become as intolerant as they are!

      Following the same logic, America will have to suspend democracy until Saudi Arabia establishes it.

      Wow! What a purverted logic!

      August 3, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  10. Bruce

    This will build bridges the same way that the Dome of the Rock built on top of the Temple Mound built bridges with the Jews?

    August 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  11. JOHN

    I wonder if Obama plans to worship at this mosque?

    August 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  12. John Wayne is dead

    I remember in 2009 some 200 muslims in Fort Lauderdale protesting Jews and shouting " go back to the oven" So proud of you American Muslims, stay classy.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  13. big tex

    but does it have to built soo close? i think thats whats upsets alot....just like a strip club there are boundaries where they can be built.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  14. Kaz1634

    Congratulations to Mayor Bloomberg: A new training ground for the Taliban and Al queada in your city. They have killed so many of our service men and women and ALL the victi ms on 911 not to say how many of our responders to this tradegy. And NOW now they have will have a NEW TRAINING PLace to further they infultration to the US. Hope you sleep well based on this decision!!!!!!!!!!!

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

      Care to show us any evidence of your charges? If you have any, it is your duty to provide it to the authorities.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  15. HeWhoKnows

    Only in America!

    August 3, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  16. Joshua Ayers

    Sometimes an issue matters and it gets people upset, other times people getting upset is the only reason an issue matters. This is one of those times. Just another Mosque is NYC, who cares.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  17. Mike in NJ

    Freedom of religion applies to ALL religions. So be an AMERICAN, everyone, and let people worship freely, whether they subscribe to YOUR religion or ANOTHER. Remember the words of Jesus? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." LIVE YOUR GOSPEL.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
    • 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.

      By the way I am not christian so I have no "gospel" to live and Christian gospel does not represent America. Believe it or not, not all Americans are Christian.

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

      Cody stated: "Freedom of religion was not made to protect hate group like Islam."

      Prove it from the constitution and the laws of America

      August 3, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
    • tolerant

      To Cody: At least on this board, it's not the Muslims who are spreading hatred, unless you are a Muslim spreading hatred and ignorance against the Muslims.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
    • Bruce

      Ironically enough, the founders did not have Islam, etc in mind when they wrote the 1st amendment. It was taken for granted that all were either Christian or Diast. They felt that US citizens should be able to choose between Presbyterianism, Methodism, etc.......

      August 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
    • Jayrock

      80% of Americans claim they are Christian...even though most of them skip out on Church on Sunday to sleep in, ignore their own teachings when it's convenient to them...oh and follow a book that has been rewritten and revised by time to suit the agenda of ones in power at the time. I can't wait to go to hell for not accepting Jesus as my savior as the Christians teach. I can murder, I can steal, I can lie, I can cheat my way through life. What I have done in my mortal life does not matter, I will go to heaven as long as I repent and accept Jesus as my savior. Maybe this is why so many lazy ass Americans love and embrace Christianity and ignore all of the souls that have suffered in the past in order to advance and uphold Christianity.

      August 3, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  18. BYN

    Everything I needed to know about Islam I learned on July 5th 2009 muslin riots in xinjiang China, Everything the world needed to know about Islam the world learned on 9/11.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  19. Kevin Brooks

    This makes about as much sense as building a Nazi friendship center in Israel.

    The next time the Taliban are in town, they can enjoy the new mosque, say a few prayers, then plan another attack, all in the same place.

    Go Liberals!

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

      Yeah, a mosque is just like a nazi friendship center... You are a very simple man, aren't you? Have you ever been out of your county?

      August 3, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
    • tolerant

      Wrong! Taliban are not the ones trying to build this center. Some guy named, Imam Feisal, is. But he should not build his center there after all and move it somewhere else to avoid unnecessary controversy.

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

      yea.. go liberals, the decay of this country as we know it...

      August 3, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  20. Jacob Mathews

    Rightly stated Jemes. These folks dont want a place everyone can worship. They want to build a Mosque. This is a big victory for the fundementalist in this country and across the world. Infidels does mean anyone who dont believe in ALLAH by the way. Can anyone Quote from Quran and prove me wrong?

    August 3, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
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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.