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. Michelle

    Even though they have a Consitutional right to build a Mosque near ground zero, the Muslim Community should show more respect for the county they live in and for the victms of that day. It just proves what kind of people they are. And if the Muslim community whats to be accpeted and respected they should move the Mosque. You dont get acceptance and understanding from insult.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
    • tolerant

      Michelle, you are forgetting that about 10% of the victims on 911 in NY were Muslims and many Muslims participated in the rescue efforts.

      August 3, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
    • Robert

      Its still a slap in the face to the other 90% others friends and familys victims. why would you want to build something that is going to cause more hurt? My mother taught me that you earn trust and respect. This is not showing me what a kind a tolerant region Islam is that so many claim.

      August 3, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  2. Pet

    Pure sick, sadistic. despicable, disgusting, puke. What else can I say. America is asleep at the wheel once again. The liberal pukes talk about how there are moderate Muslims, fine and dandy. Bottom line is everywhere in the world that Muslims are in charge there is persecution, oppression, physically torturing women and everything else that is bad. Nothing good that I could think of. Now they want to slowly but surely force their way of life on us. NOT GONNA HAPPEN! But again take a look at our pathetic, bend over backwards, taking up the a.. politicians who try to impress the Islam community. Not going to do no good anyway. The Islamic extremists want us dead and always will because they hate everyone. Why cant everybody else see this?

    August 3, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  3. Acaraho

    To all of you who are criticizing the building of a mosque near ground zero, where were you whenever a church or synagogue was built on land sacred to Native Americans? Your obsession with denying a mosque being built is a 100% reversal to how shamefully you've treated and continue to treat the Native peoples of this country.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
    • David Stone

      Native Americans don't run this country, they were conquered. Sorry if you don't like that history, but it's how it is. When islam conquers American (God forbid), they will be able to erect their war trophies wherever they like. By the way, does the land belong to the indians who last held the land when we took it, or to the indians who held it before the last batch of indians took it from them? You do realize they had their own wars, land grabs, etc., right?

      August 3, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
    • George

      Clearly, all Muslims are living in a different century. No one alive today had anything to do with what happened to native Americans. Fact of business, native Americans are doing quite well now that they have casinos.

      August 3, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  4. the great allah mohamad cult leader

    Islam is NOT a peaceful religion. It is ok to lie if your protecting allah, so when do we actually believe a muslum?
    Everyone cries not all muslums are terrorists. well guess what all terrorists are MUSLUM Go to yuotube and you can find clerics preaching violence, but can you find ANY other religion preaching violence? BRING BACK THE CRUSADES ONLY THIS TIME DO NOT STOP!!!!!

    August 3, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
    • Acaraho

      So I guess Tim McVeigh was a Muslim?????

      August 3, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  5. DR. Obama

    Let's build a Jewish Synagogue in Damascus and see how that is received. Peace? Surely, the religion of peace will accept. Correct?

    August 3, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
    • Acaraho

      Thousands of churches & synagogues have already been built on land sacred to Native Americans.

      August 3, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  6. CAA

    Question for however says that Muslims already own this place and worship there.

    If they already worship discreetly, why bother for turning it into a 13 Story Mega Mosque?

    Simply to provoke.

    The islamists are using this tactic successfully in Europe, trying to implement mega Mosques -which can hold thousands of people- on all strategic locations in Spain, France, Britain, etc.

    Then, they use the angry reaction from local people who opposes such Mosque as a “proof of the hostility of the West against Islam”.

    They play the victims and it helps them to recruit more volunteers for their Jihad.

    It is simple, but it works.

    I strongly advise the liberals to learn Arabic language to understand what goes on in these countries! They are already laughing at your stupidity out there, starting by your biggest useful idiot Obama!

    August 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  7. Jim Surrey

    Human 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 6:07 pm |
    • David Stone

      My answer to your nonsense is quite simple. There are NOT large, world wide, organized groups fighting under the banner of Christianity. There ARE however, large, world wide groups fighting and killing in the name of islam, and there are islamic schools that teach terrorism, bomb making, etc. Christians dropped the convert or die policy a few centuries ago. It is still a primary part of doctrine in islam. Only in an islamic country to you see cheering crowds gather to watch a beheading, or a stoning. It's a barbaric faith based on oppressing women, and killing and torturing those who don't buy into it. IT SUCKS, unlike any other religion. And no, I am not a religious person, this is an independent observation of common sense.

      August 3, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
    • Acaraho

      You forgot to mention the US Government's genocide against the Native Americans.

      And to David Stone, where do you live; under a rock? All you have to do is read any US newspaper and read about accused people already convicted by the public before they even go to trial. The US populace is by and large a boodthirsty citizenry plus the fact that many states still support the death penalty and allow citizens to view executions is barbaric in itself. Before you criticize other countries look first at you own country's practices.

      August 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  8. catainmidnight

    I'm a person of color, Roman Catholic, and considered liberal. In the computer field, I work with many Muslims whom I am friendly with and respect. We have conversations regarding the Koran versus the Bible and agree on some points and disagree on others. So I recognize all Muslims aren't evil. But to put this building in the shadow of the worst disaster to hit the U.S. since Pear Harbor is immoral and an insult to those who died there. Can you imagine the propaganda that this is feeding those who oppose our way of life? This building will be shown on Al Jazeera as soon as it goes up. We are trying to be fair in a forum where fairness does not count. We are being taken advantage of because we have rules. Rules cannot only apply to one side. We're dealing with people who don't believe in rules. Let's not add to the imagined victory these people thought they gained 9/11.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
    • tolerant

      Though I agree that they should not be building that center there, these people are not the ones who committed 911. Moreover, about 10% of the victims on 911 in those buildings were Muslims and many Muslims participated in the rescue effort thereafter.

      August 3, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  9. Ray

    I'm ashamed to admit it, but Timothy McVeigh was a Christian. There are churches near the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Why were they allowed?
    Don't forget that the KKK claims to be Christian. Should people around the world hate us because of those Christian extremists?
    People make choices. Religion does not. Be angry at the people who do the crime, not at their religion.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
    • David Stone

      TImothy Mcveigh was NOT part of a large, organized, world wide group based on Christianity. He was a lone, sick individual. Islamic terrorists are part of a world wide religious group, and they kill in the name of God, and have schools that teach their sickness, and have the support of many clerics. Bad analogy.

      August 3, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  10. John Wayne is dead

    Fact 1: This building has been on a list to be a landmark for 20 years
    Fact 2: The group funding has funneled 12 million to Hamas and is linked to the terrorists group
    Fact 3: This group prefers Hamas over the Palestinian Authority, they said it not me
    Fact 4: The Anti-Defamation group is even against this
    Fact 5' Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf " the United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened on 9-11."

    August 3, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  11. John

    Why is it so important to build a Mosque located at Ground Zero? Why haven't Ilamic spoke out against terroism they all people should? Perhaps if the leaders were more outspoken against terroism and 9-11 this wouldn't be a problem. But for the most part they remain silent. No condemnation? Hmmmm

    August 3, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  12. Patrick

    When you invite the devil into your house expect what you get in return.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  13. PeaceTV

    PS: If some American soldiers were enjoying killing unarmed civilians in Iraq (including Iraqi journalists working for US media) from their helicopter, it does not mean all American soldiers or All American people enjoy killing unarmed civilians. There are black sheep in every nation, every religion, ever society, every culture, etc. etc. The way ordinary Americans have noting to do with the war crimes of a few crazy Mariens, those who are building the mosque have nothing to do with the ones who caused 911. Those who are pretending to represent 911 families on this site they should first find out want 911 families think about 911. Search for the 911 investigation video done by four widows known as "New Jersey widows" and dozens of other 911 families who support them.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
    • David Stone

      Whatever acts are committed by our soldiers, or even by our military, I can assure you of one thing. They are individual acts by misguided individuals, who are NOT part of some religious organization, killing in the name of GOD, as so many do in islam. Islam is the ONLY religion which has schools where people learn to be terrorists. We don't wage war in this country in the name of GOD, in case you missed that minor detail. Islamists DO wage war in the name of GOD. No, we are not the same, sorry.

      August 3, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
    • DarthWoo

      Actually, there is a known infiltration of the US military by fundamentalist Christians, leading to a most unfortunate atmosphere of religious discrimination in many branches. I've no doubt that at least a few of these people feel it is their righteous duty to kill Muslims in the name of their god, even if they don't tell their COs that that's why they are there. And although obviously not as widespread or advertised, there are plenty of fundamentalist Christian militia groups around the US.

      August 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
    • PeaceTV

      DarthWoo, Thanks for explaining that to Mr. Stone.

      August 3, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  14. David Stone

    Here is the deal "defenders of islam".....your tired out excuse of "most of us are peaceful, it's just a misguided few that do these things" is getting OLD, and PLAYED OUT. Allow me to explain....yes, only a small percentage of you fly jets into buildings, blow yourselves up, behead and stone others, and "honor kill" your daughters. BUT, the other 99% stand by SILENTLY and do NOTHING to put down the worst among you. In EVERY other religion, when some FREAK does something insane, the majority is ashamed of them, and PUBLICLY DENOUNCES THEM, and there is NOT MASSIVE SUPPORT FOR THEM. Not so in islam, where the silence is DEAFENING, whenever some insane barbarity occurs. THIS is what truly makes islam SUCK, even more than all of the stupid, oppressive things you do to your own people, especially women and gays.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
    • tolerant

      Simply not true!

      August 3, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
    • Jayrock

      I hate to bring this argument up but I would like the same treatment of Christian Churches as well for the repeated sexual abuse of kids. Hey not all of you do it but when someone does the Vatican pulls out it's purse no problem for these people. Based on the fact that some Christian leaders rape kids, I do not want a Christian Church built near me or my family. If some of you are child molesters and your leaders protect these individuals with the wallet developed from other Christians, then obviously you all support Child Molestation. That is enough for me to be outraged enough to shut down any Christian Church and not let one go up within a 5 mile radius of me. Thanks.

      August 3, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
    • FactChecker

      Have you researched to see how many Muslims & Muslim organiztions have condemned terrorism and terrorists? Have you talked to a muslim? Or are you waiting until Fox or CNN tells you that......

      August 3, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
    • CSnord

      @Tolerant - Prove it. I can think of hundreds of examples from dozens of countries that confirm @David Stone's comments, which is a large body of proof. Other than emotional liberal nonsense based on wishful thinking, what do you have to counter his statements?

      August 3, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
    • Jayrock

      He's waiting for Fox or CNN to tell him so...because if it's on T.V. it has to be true! Sheep...

      August 3, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
    • tolerant

      To CSnord: Google "muslim voices against terrorism" and then go to the second link.

      August 3, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
    • CSnord

      @Tolerance - Obviously a lot to read, and interesting, but it is just a lot of talky-talk. Actions are more powerful than words and there are Muslims all over the world killing, maiming, and torturing in the name of their religion every day. Aggressors initiating aggression to oppress others who believe differently. When the words become action, then will I believe that Islam is peaceful and tolerant. History, however, teaches us differently.

      August 3, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
    • tolerant

      To CSnord: Did you manage to read it all?

      As for action: Over 99.9% of the American Muslims are peaceful and law-abiding. So, there is your proof! Additionally, American Muslims have died defending America. Collin Powell mentioned one such person once. There is at least a Muslim member of congress, Keith Allison, whose family came to America in the 1700's. American Muslims are contributing to America in every walk of life. There are doctors, in whose hands people put their lives.

      At the doctrinal level, Islam is the closest to Christianity. No other religion exalts Mary and Jesus as much as Islam does, other than Christianity. Islam accepts the virgin birth of Jesus, regards him as the Messiah and a Word from God, recognizes the followers of Christ as believers.

      So why so much hatred towards Islam?

      August 3, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
  15. Seriously y'all, get a grip

    So we get to ignore the people (AMERICANS) of Muslim faith died in the attack as well? EMTs, pregnant women, people just going to work as usual? Christians, Jews, Hindus, even *gasp* ATHEISTS died in the attacks.

    Now, is it a little ill-timed? Probably. But no one has been pitching a national fit about people using the factory as a prayer center already.

    Sadly enough, people all over the world are too dumb to get educated. Islam is a beautiful religion with a lot of tradition that we use in Western society (you know, numbers and such), but it has a dark side in extremism. And what do you know?? Christianity is the SAME WAY. Funny how that happens.

    And just as a side note:

    NO, the country was not founded on Christian ethics-Deism isn't the same as Christianity. Along with Deism, this country was originally founded on slavery, piracy, xenophobia, male chauvinism, and greed. The Pilgrims didn't come here because they were persecuted, they were kicked out for persecuting everyone else. So I guess some things never change...

    August 3, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
    • David Stone

      Muslims kill their own every day, it is a death cult. There is a certain enjoyment of death, torture, dismemberment, etc. Any muslim that died that day was part of the problem....not an ounce of sympathy here, sorry. Bad timing? Nah. Building a mosque has traditionally been about honoring martyrs, and this mosque is a like a war trophy to the greatest psychological victory this barbaric stone age religion has ever achieved. It is a monument to the power of allah, and the martyrs who died that day killing all of us evil Americans. Of course, NONE of them are going to admit that, but use your brain. The thing about islam, is that you are muslim first, above all else, even above being American. The whole thing is revolting.

      August 3, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  16. Odracir

    AMAZING........WHO CAN AMERICA ALLOW SUCH A THING???? Build a Mosque near Central Park...but not near Ground Zero. Is my impression or are they getting what they wanted? By the way ask Baghdad if we can build there a Church or or maybe in CABUL. And can our womem be allowed in their countrie to wear what they want?ARE WE INSANE. ARE WE GIVING THEM WHAT THEY WANT. FREEDOM SUCH NOT MEAN STUPIDITY....ARE AMERICANS GETTING STUPID?

    August 3, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  17. KarenH

    What happened to the idea of Ground Zero Memorial? Sounds like snakes are involved in this nice piece of real estate. I smell money and when it comes to the Mighty Green, no one cares about whats right, wrong or diginified anymore. At times, i see the American nowadays ways are of greed, glutney, immorality and the path of least resistence.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  18. rob

    By allowing this center to be built, Americans will demonstrate tremendous tolerance and maturity. I guess it's fair to say that American culture and civic life are superior to that found elsewhere – like, say, the Islamic world?

    August 3, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  19. Skypilot

    BFD, its two blocks away and none of your business if you don't live there.........

    August 3, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  20. jon


    August 3, 2010 at 5:51 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.