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. Jon

    Islam is NOTHING but a religious front for the largest paramilitary hate group that has ever existed and that's all it has ever been. They hate everything that isn't islamic and they fully intend to take over the government and our personal lives with that psychotic sharia law. I want to know who greased the palms of the idiots in NYC who approved this and how much they were paid because no one in his right mind would would act against his own citizenry in such an affront without being paid a he*luva lot of money. And, one final thing: If the muslims get to build their mosque at ground zero, I want the American Nazi Party, the Skinheads and the KKK to have an equal opportunity to build their headquarters there, as well.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
    • McButtLovin

      Hey guess what fool, they already have the opportunity to build there as well. And by the way, all those groups are not religious groups. They are hate groups, which are still allowed by the constitution. Get a clue.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
    • tolerant

      Ignorance and fearmongering!

      August 3, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
    • EW

      Hey genius, they do have the same opportunity. That's kind of the point. All they've got to do is buy the land!!

      August 3, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  2. bob

    Can we not tell the differences between those terrorists and the regular muslims? This is not a religious issue, why can't they built it there?

    August 3, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  3. cyg

    Americans can be so tolerant – and sometimes so utterly dense. Maybe we should erect a statue of Saddam or Bin Ladin at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well? Perhaps next the Washington Monument? We should have a tribute to the men who started us on our War Against Terror, right?

    August 3, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
    • Dhulfiqar

      Ronald Reagan?

      August 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  4. traveling lady

    America will never learn – this is NOT the time to turn the other cheek. This cult – they call it a religion but it is not. Any cult that say they have to 'kill' any one for any reason is not close to God. But in being polictically correct and being 'loved' by all our leaders are taking this country down to the depths of hell. Just wait as there is going to a war on this soili of all us American trying to get rid of those that are not Americans but want to come here and cahnge us to their way of thinking. Keep them in the Middle East where they belong – I am NOT for living with those I do not want to live near. Read here, the dirty poor and I don't care what race you are, color you are or God you believe in. I want hard working, educated people that think for themselves and do not want ot kill anyone for any reason, money, drugs, cults, or just too damn lazy to work. Humans do not have the right to do as they please, this planet was not made for one.........but the American way of life is gone and thank you Washington DC for making all mix and mingle whether we wanted to or not. God knew what he was doing when he seperated us and man had to go screw it up. When they "made" us have to sell to those we do not want in our neghborhoods, we had to bus our children way to far to school, we did not solve the problem. People normally want to be with those that are like them – and that does not mean race – I am talking responsible good, people who are not afraid of hard work and making a better life for themselves. That is who I want to live with. Not trash.........and our big cities are just that trash – third world country influence. We do not bring over the educated and hard workers, we bring in the poor and dirty and all the way is a hand out. Good going Washington DC.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
    • McButtLovin

      Hi. You are crazy.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
    • Dhulfiqar

      It would be interesting to discuss your views on Islam. Do you have a blog or something?

      August 3, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
    • EW

      How do you know the people that will continue to use this facility are not responsible good, people who are not afraid of hard work and making a better life for themselves?

      August 3, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
    • Diana

      " I want hard working, educated people that....." Please tell me where you received your education? How far did you get in grade school, sixth grade?

      August 3, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  5. McButtLovin

    Many of you guys keep speculating and making arguments that are backed up by crap. Fact of the matter is, it doesn't matter what your opinion is, they have the legal right to build the mosque, guaranteed by the constitution's various provisions. End of story, discussion closed.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  6. John Wayne is dead

    This has nothing do with religious freedom.NOTHING. Folks this is a fact!! Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf heads the Cordoba Intiative which was found by the Government to have funneled more than 12 million to the Palestinian Group Hamas

    August 3, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  7. Dhulfiqar

    This is great news.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  8. Manuel

    The biggest genocide of human history occurred during the islamic conquest of India. More than 50 million hindus were murdered and hundred of temples destroyed including the one of Ayodhya where the conquerors then built a mosque.

    Yes, folks, that is Islam a religion of "peace and compassion"

    Shame on some politicians whos only God is $$$ and don't mind selling their own country to Islam.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
    • Dhulfiqar

      Manuel, if you're going to quote history, you might as well quote it correctly. So tell me how many natives were killed since the discovery of the New World?

      Indian Chief Hatuey: The Spanish finally caught Hatuey, tied him to a stake and prepared to burn him. A priest
      attending the execution, told Hatuey that if he became a Christian he would go to Heaven. "Are there Christians in Heaven?" He asked. "Yes," replied the monk. "Then I do not want to go there."

      Today, Hatuey is a hero in Cuba.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  9. Tom R

    I find it hilarious that the most religeously intolerant religion that iver ever seen can come here and demand religeous tolerance and we just hand it over. What the hell is wrong with this country.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
    • cf

      Well so far 90% of the comments on here are from Christians expressing hate toward another religion while simultaneously being smug about theirs and playing the persecution card. So why don't you go take a look in the mirror when you make such a statement.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  10. VegasRage

    It's a project that will build bridges," said Oz Sultan.
    My azz it will, how utterly naive of Oz to think so, for most Americans you might as well have said it was a Muslim only bathroom.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  11. Adam F.

    Ok fine, Islam wants to play hardball? We'll open up Wal-Marts all over Afghanistan. Touche Islam, touche...

    August 3, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
    • darkO

      naaaa... we should put christian landmarks all over it and watch it all get blown up because these people are all peaceful right?

      August 3, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
    • cf

      Oh please. Christian missions go all over the world and build churches where they don't belong and recruit indigenous people to christianity.

      There are mosques built in our country because there are muslim people in our country - your neighbors, friends, and coworkers - and they have a right to a place of worship, too. Whatever happened to "love they neighbor"? It's not "love only thy Christian neighbor."

      Islam is not a terrorist organization; there are terrorists that happen to be islamic, but there are aslo bad people that happen to be Christian.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  12. Red Roc

    Larry Sessions, that was a great video, one I have seen before and we all should be alarmed.
    There are countless Osamas being born each day, do you want your children and grandchildren living in a country, a world for that matter ruled my muslims? Where women are abused, unable to attend school, drive a car, or talk to man to whom she is not married? A place where one NUT JOB is teaching a NUT JOB to be that 72 virgins await him if he kills for the cause? Think I'm wrong calling them nut jobs? Case in point: why the hell would anyone want 72 virgins anyway. After 3-4 I'd want a pro! The funny thing is they actually believe this crap.
    I know we've all seen pictures and videos of the middle east, nice place right? Well kept, clean, nice housing, clean water, good overall infrastructure , good schools for all, right? All of that will be imported if we don't do something.
    The muslims have NO, ZERO intentions on this facility being peaceful.
    Shame on you NY.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  13. oracle2world

    This is okay. In fact, I would like to see a mosque next to every public building the muslim terrorists would like to bomb next.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  14. Timothy Mcdade

    Were the terrorist obeying the law? No they were obeying Islam. That's the difference here. Islam does not care about American Law or anything bout America . True Islamic believers follow Sharia and that's it. There is only Sharia. This is something we as Americans have trouble with. We don't understand Islam and are expecting Islamic followers American law. Not going to happen. Were dealing with a whole different set of rules and the opposing team Will NOT recognize or follow ours. Please check this out for yourself.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
    • tolerant

      It is part of the Shari'ah to follow the law of the land.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
    • darkO

      yep... these days, the 3rd world will never be able to co-exist with the modern world peacefully...

      August 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
    • DAnnyJ

      Wow... It's like there arent MILLIONS of law abiding muslims in our country already.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
    • cf

      No they were not obeying Islam, they were obeying the orders of their psychopathic military leader.
      Christian people are murderers, bombers, and terrorists too, but that behavior doesn't get blamed on their religion.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  15. Mandy

    Islam will be the end of this world as we know it if we let it. They don't want peace. They want to blow themselves up with taking a bunch of us American's with them so they can go hang out with Allah and his 72 hoes, oops I mean virgins. Hows that 72 virgin stuff work anyway? You all hide and suppress your women but yet you blow yourselves up because your promised 72 virgins? freakin' weirdos!

    August 3, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
    • tolerant

      Care to show a reference to 72 virgins from the Qur`an? Many Muslims have learned to be pluralistic from the West. It's a shame that many in the West are forgetting about their own good values.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  16. McCluck

    My magical deity can beat up your magical deity! Na na nabooboo stick your head in doo doo

    August 3, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • EW

      Nice. You've boiled this entire ridiculous argument down to one sentence. Love it.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
    • Jayrock

      what happened to the like button? I need it for this one.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  17. Jacob Mathews

    Musilm being a peach loving religion is just a joke right? I am laughing at folks painting such a nice image if ISLAM. Be real folks. This country is doomed if we let this kind of things happen here. Old testament is the past. We believe in New Testament and its principles. Quote me a verse where it talks about killing in the name of religion in the New Testament.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
    • Ken

      Probably out of context somehow but, Mathew 15:4
      "For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death."

      August 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  18. Brain Stormed

    Look we already have enough mosques in our country as it is. Why not let them built a mosque if they really need to. Like in Egypt or Mongolia!

    August 3, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
    • darkO

      lets see... because they already have enough muslims infecting those countries, we are next. they will keep building their shrines until were all converted.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
    • cf

      Let's see, there are way more christian churches in this country. In fact, in my small town there are 6 different churches all just blocks from each other. I think there are enough christian churches in this country so you shouldn't be allowed to build anymore.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  19. Braveheart

    Coomonsense...you are lying through your teeth and deceiving the people...
    1 No compulsion in Islam- If you don't know Quran learn from me ,look up this verse,the verse you quoted is abrogated and replaced by the latter verse " Slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush" (Sura 9.5).
    2 god of Islam and God of Abraham are not the same God , God of Abraham is Yahweh and God of Islam is Allah a pagan god. look at the characteristics of the god of Islam , he is unsure of what he says so he changes his mind...
    3.Judge the religion by the prophet- Muhammad the prophet of Islam- what value does he have, he married a 6 year old girl, practiced polygamy, killed defenseless people and children, encouraged slavery, allowed rape of slave girls, commanded his followers to kill those who resist the religion...Do you want us to follow his morel...??
    4.Learn Islam- I challenge you to learn Islam with open mind and you will see this is not what you say. Islam cannot be from god...
    5 Islam is the only religion that does not condemn people to hell- What a joke?? you yourself is not sure if you will go to heaven neither was your prophet...Only Shaheed ( Martyrs)go to heaven without any prerequisite. So encourage jihad and to kill people for 72 virgins.
    Don't fool people with your lies and deception...Islam is not a religion its a tool for terror

    August 3, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
    • illuminated Genius

      Yes thank you, i think now it is time for Islam to become a dead religion. I disqualify it as a religion given so many horrible things around the world have been used in its name. I do hope that Islam dies, for the good of all humanity and all the wars that are caused in the middle east because of satanists believe in Satan Allah word to kill infidels for Jihad and holy war. The Atheists are right in this sense Islam is dangerous, but also is the sad corruption that exists in organized religion in which people use religion as a weapon for the wrong reasons. We have to honest and sincere about the truth, muslim radicals want to kill all non muslims and this is stated in the Qu'ran if they don't convert. If they are to make a building they should have a banner dedicated to the death of Islam center- promotion of ex-muslims against Islamic terrorism around the world. Paint Mohammed day would be allowed as well everyday in the death of Islam center.

      August 3, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  20. Quentin

    Religion is the signal most evil thing known to mankind today. It hampers scientific growth as well as basic logic. Religion sparks hate amongst otherwise civil people. This is a perfect example. A rough group of men attacked our nation and now we are anti-Islamic. If Wal-Mart® wanted to open a store two blocks away nobody would care but since it is an Islamic religious institute, Americans have a problem. Also, nothing is tackier than being too lazy to twitter using complete sentences as well as punctuation. It shows how uneducated and uncultured Sarah Palin really is.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:07 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.