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

    Sad πŸ™

    August 3, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  2. Tommy

    Muslims died on 9/11 in the collapse too. We shouldn't be penalized for the actions of terrorists. And the mosque – which is ALREADY BUILT AND IN USE- (its just going to be rebuilt) is not even at ground zero- it's over two blocks away! Before you get your panties in a bunch, get the facts straight.

    August 3, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  3. PhilipShade

    I just want to know is it 2 long blocks or 2 short blocks.
    If it's two short blocks I'm against it, if it's two long blocks it's ok.

    August 3, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  4. Tommy

    I think all of you idiots EXISTING is a slap in the face to me, a Muslim who was born in America and just wants the freedom to be allowed to pray to God. I can and will do it whenever, wherever. Its peaceful and its not like any of you pray anymore anyways. You might stop, but don't try to stop me from praying to the Lord.

    August 3, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  5. LMR

    Why build anything religious?
    I read most of these comments and the majority does NOT want it. I don't understand how so many people are against it and it is still a go.
    Now isn't the time to shove something like this down Americas throat.
    Please wake up America-

    August 3, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • family guy

      i think its called appeasement in america , muslims call it submission.
      obama and democrates want the muslim vote . just like they want the hispanic vote for selling out arizona .

      August 3, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
  6. lookout

    Islam like any other religion seeks to proliferate its existence of course they're gonna want a monument in the smack middle of a major land mark...it'll have everyone cheering in the middle east thinking they "won" the war. Last time I checked you don't put an enemy's banner in your own territory and say you won the war. Freedom of religion does not mean freedom of ethics. People wake up... Saying that islam is peaceful at this time in history is like saying that the US likes to mind it's own business. lets not screw this one up...this one is easy.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  7. glenda

    i feel sorry for them.....some crazy american will wait til they build it, then might say, "aren't paybacks hell"....

    August 3, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  8. German Sanchez,Jr.

    I want all my Brother US Marines to have a say so over this Mosque these people want to built on USA 911 Ground Zero !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I I want to hear ur u ALL My Brothers and Sisters and Veterans Of United States of America Comment on what happening here let our Voices Be Heard my Brothers and Sisters Veterans !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 3, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  9. Josh

    I think this is a slap in the face to all of the victims and their families of 9/11. it disgusts me that new york city would even consider allowing this to be built next to the worst attack on our soil.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  10. The South Will Rise again

    Well thats what you Yankees up North get...... Down here in the South we know how to put them kinds of people in there place. lol

    August 3, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
    • Jayrock

      There's a reason why NYC is one of the greatest cities in the world. We know how to get after it up here, we teach our kids how to work. Instead of wishing we still had slaves to do the work for us while we sit around all day raping them.

      August 3, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
    • Acaraho

      I think the FBI may be on the lookout for you.

      August 3, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
    • The South Will Rise again

      LOL JAY ..... NYC got so big because of the poor immigrants working in the factories, building roads and serving as nannys and maids for the rich at slave wages.

      August 3, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
    • Jayrock

      Yeah but those poor immigrants came to this country on their own will and worked the wages they did on their own will. These hard working immigrants are the foundation of the American spirit.

      August 3, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
  11. zeb

    Larry Sessions. so what is the solution? bomb obama bomb???

    August 3, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  12. Time Aug 9 USA edition

    Look at picture on front page of Time Magazine Aug 9, 2010 –> those that defend the Muslim will be the first to cry what happens to their daughters. Then it is too late.... open your eyes America, you are a dying last stand against this!

    August 3, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  13. thoroughlyentertained

    well done

    August 3, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  14. JoAnn

    You can talk religion beliefs, distance from the towers, and who is ignorant or not but I think they shoud ask the families of the fallen how they feel about it. We were all effected one way or another on 9/11 but the families are the ones directly affected.
    I think it is easy for us to say it shouldn't be built but at night we have all of our familiy sitting around the dinner table.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  15. Observer

    Why does the U.S. bend over backwards when it comes to muslims (including CNN). We have been seeing this all along.
    Have you heard any muslim say that they are interested in understanding others' religion and ways of life? NO – they want everyone else to understand their religion giving the impression that they are the opressed ones.

    Attention all entrepreuners: Here is an opportunity to open a good BBQ eatery next door (get my drift). Let's see how understanding this "tolerant" religion is; And how the good tolerant muslim citizens take to this idea.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
    • Acaraho

      So the West is willing to understand others' religions? We have different levels of Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform) and Christianity has Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Congregational, Baptist, Episcopalian, Unitarian, Mormon, 7th Day Adventist, Jehovah Witness, etc. The West is just as intolerant of religion as anyone else otherwise we wouldn't have so many individual denominations. Think before you post.

      August 3, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
    • George

      They have the oil. Why do you think you saw George W. Bush holding hands with, and hugging and kissing on the mouth, (french kissing) a Saudi prince? You think he did that cuz he's gay?

      August 3, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  16. JT

    In my opinion this is an insult. It is understandable not all muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are muslims. Just because US allows everyone to come and plant flag here shouldnt allow them to claim rights and protest when the fdont get something they want. Now building a mosque at ground zero, c'mon now at least think about us who lost loved ones there. A mosque at ground zero will be look as a symbol of victory for those against US

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

      TImothy McVeigh and the The Unabomber weren't muslims. Eric Rudolph and the Army of God were fundamentalist Christians, so is the Klan. Then there's the Jewish Defense League, the Weathermen, the Symbionese Liberation Army, none of them are/were muslims. But they all performed terrorist acts.

      August 3, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
      • Gaorg

        So by your definition the founders of our country also committed terrorists acts. That logic is shamefully flawed. Islam is the only RELIGION condoning violence. No Christian has ever supported KKK or any other fringe cult and to call them Christian is wrong. Unfortunately, American muslims have not denounced violence and do not denounce the Quran versus that speak of the right to kill the infidel and lie to the infidel.

        August 3, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
        • Tommy

          Lying is always wrong in Islam, to whomever. And no other religious text is free of stories about war and death. What were the Crusades?

          No Christian has ever supported the KKK or any other fringe cult? Nazi Germany was Christian. Its like you idiots are sprouting up out of thin air with no knowledge of history.

          August 3, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
        • Gaorg

          Tommy, you are sorely mistaken to call the Nazi movement Christian or to allude to Nazism and Christianity being somehow intertwined. You do not understand history – All knowledge and published literature coming out of Germany pre WWi and WW2 was secular in nature and spawned by enlightment for eugenics and darwinian fervor. Just because Hitler calls himself a christian does not mean that mein kempf was a Christian approved writing. Your logic is tragically wrong and sad to know that people are out there that think like you.

          August 3, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
        • Gaorg

          Lying is not only permitted to achieve this goal, but encouraged3. The Muslim is in fact required to lie in order to change the host society into an Islamic nation and merge the old culture into one in which there is no religion but Allah’s [Q. 3:19]4

          August 3, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
        • tolerant

          Simply not true! Lying is considered a vice in Islam, for it is the dark side of the Truth in this realm of duality.

          August 3, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
        • FactChecker

          American Muslims have condemned violence, terrorism and terrorsist. Have you researched to see how many Muslims & Muslim organizations have done this? Have you ever met and talked to a Muslim? If you are waiting for Fox or CNN to report on it don't hold your breath because that is not 'newsworthy' to them.

          August 3, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
        • Gaorg

          FactChecker: I real all local news and watch cnn msnbc and sometimes fox – I have yet to see a story or read an article about a local Mosque apologizing to the community or assuring the community that they do not believe in the Quranic verses that call for the killing of infidels.

          The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called 'hypocrites' and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

          These verses are mostly open-ended, meaning that the historical context is not embedded within the surrounding text – as are nearly all of the Old Testament verses of violence. They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subjective as anything else in the Qur'an.

          Unfortunately, there are very few verses of tolerance and peace to abrogate or even balance out the many that call for nonbelievers to be fought and subdued until they either accept humiliation, convert to Islam, or are killed. This proclivity toward violence – and Muhammad's own martial legacy – has left a trail of blood and tears across world history.

          August 3, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
    • Acaraho

      You are the fool. My sarcastic comment was in reference to someone else's comment that all terrorists are Muslim.

      August 3, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  17. GEN-X

    If you build it THEY will come. WAKE UP AMERICA. (it already happened here with the Native Americans- Chritians took over the land and started building now look at the Muslims. They will kill us all.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  18. DrFreddy

    I am glad that the mosque has a go ahead signal. Justice=1 bigotry=0

    August 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • David Stone

      How the islamic world sees this:

      Mosque to honor fallen martyrs who died killing evil Americans.

      Islam 1; Infidels 0

      August 3, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  19. JD

    My heart is very sad. America is in big trouble. There is no such things as a moderate Moslem. If they speak out they are threatened with their lives also. Moslem are going everywhere and refuse to assimilate. They are like wild dogs as the Bible said they would be. We need to treat them with goodness , but they are very decieved people. We need to pray for the Moslem women. Like someone said build a women's shelter in Tehran. The goal of Moslems is to take over the world....there first country they want to take over is England. Right now they are trying to build the largest Mosque in the world in London. God have mercy on all of us and them, because they serve a false God Alah.

    August 3, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  20. Time Aug 9 USA edition

    Look at front page photo on TIME magazine, USA edition Aug 9, 2010

    Soon, Americans, your daughters will be treated like that - wake UP, stop the infiltration into the USA NOW!!!!

    August 3, 2010 at 6:37 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.