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. zeb

    Any way, thanks CNN for giving every one a chance to express. u sure r emerging as a tolerant channel quite unlike FOX. I appreciate this attitude. just keep it up!

    August 3, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
  2. Washington

    Religion will be the down fall of humanity. If Americans let this happen it will be the End.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:03 pm |
  3. Religion Divides

    Hey they need to build a common worship place for Christians, Jews, Muslim, and Buddha on that site. Not Muslim alone out of respect for 3000+ dead Americans on that site committed by Muslim Extremists.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:03 pm |
    • Jayrock

      This is a good idea actually, only thing is people from other religious communities need to step up for this to happen.

      August 3, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
    • 21k

      what did they do in oklahoma city when that wonderful xtain tim mcveigh killed innocent people?

      August 3, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  4. tep

    You dishonor my brother who died in tower 1.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
  5. Darwin in Vegas

    Bob says it all: Only when humankind evolves beyond the need to worship fairytales will we be free of this nonsense."

    August 3, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
  6. steve

    For one to disallow Muslim to build a mosque in NYC because of the actions of a few nutjobs is like saying all those areas where predominantly Christian soldiers massacred natives here in America should be void of Christian places of worship. How is it any different? A belief system does not kill people. People kill people.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
  7. sharon

    I am not in favor of allowing the Muslims to erect their Trojan Horses in our country so they can continue to use their Mosques as training centers, communication liaisons & financial support to spread their fanatical religious terrorism. This is not a matter of religious tolerance, it is a matter of our national security. Why should we have to pretend to turn a blind eye to the written & demonstrated teachings & practices of the Muslims to do whatever is necessary to obtain domination over various populations in order to setup govts ruled by their own religious law? The Muslim religion has made it very clear via their writings & actions that they will never accept religious freedom for others or live by the laws of secular govts. The so-called peace loving Muslim religious leaders & their billion or so members have done absolutely nothing to publicly denounce or outlaw the religious teachings & practices of their religion that promote & honor the fanatical religious terrorism committed in the name of Islam. The Muslim religion openly teaches & promotes the belief that they are superior & are religiously obligated to slaughter & terrorize their own & other peoples to forcefully overcome & rule them, so why is it so hard to believe they would resort to sedition & subversion to try to use our religious freedom against us in order to undermine our govt & destroy our nation from within? Why shouldn't we require the Muslims in America to open their mosques & services to non-Muslim observers in order to monitor & prevent another religious terrorism center like the one led by the "blind sheik"?
    After being murdered & attacked over & over in the name of Islam, why shouldn't we require the so-called peace loving Muslim religious leaders & members to now prove their intentions by publicly refuting & prohibiting the fanatical religious teachings they have embraced throughout history to this day? If the Muslims really wanted peaceful, working secular ruled govts that allow total religious freedom & govt representation for all people, then they would have formed such govts a long time ago. If the Muslims really did not support the fanatical religious terrorism beliefs being carried out in the name of Islam, then the Muslim ruled countries would use their own armies to easlily wipeout the followers of Al Qaeda, the Taliban & any others of that ilk.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • Mira

      I completely agree with you Sharon...some Americans still have no clue as to what this religion preaches to their followers. Some Americans still want to be sweet and innocent, keep thinking sweet....someday it will be your kids that get slaughtered by these animals that are making fun of the victims of 911. How foolish to beleive that these extremist have infiltrated our country and are wolves in sheepskin...Rot in hell mohammed!!!

      August 3, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
    • Eric G

      Religion has become a threat to the security of all mankind. The hate practiced by all religions can no longer be tolerated. Believers need to figure this out or humanity will deal with the threat accordingly.

      August 3, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
    • Tommy

      i am not in favor of you spewing your idiocy all over the internet. go MEET a muslim family and find out what their life is like instead, that way MAYBE you would learn something. nobody has anything they could learn from YOU, that much is obvious, you closed-minded freak. go move to west virginia and rest in peace alone and with your privacy, scaredy cat.

      August 3, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  8. Eairon in Phoenix

    I"m curious as to find out who they think will build the "community center", I can not imagine the local Iron workers union will be bidding for the job. Also, IF it does get built what makes them think they will be safe from retaliation?

    August 3, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
    • Carl LaFong

      They'll hire a couple of guys who are unemployed and need to feed their kids.

      August 3, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
  9. Gaorg

    why are you on a religious forum if you do not believe in God? To spew your hate? Christians are not hateful towards Islam – but we do not want to be used as a door mat either. Build your mosque further away. This act is having the opposite effect of bridge building.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
  10. Sherilynne

    The attacks on 9/11 were committed by Muslim extremists. The KKK are Christian extremists. I think it's pretty horrible that the bad actions of a few tend to encompass everyone from that religion. If you're a Christian, how would you feel if everyone thought you were a member of the KKK simply because they made the news more often than "good" Christians. Do not judge lest ye be judged.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
    • Gaorg

      Sherilynne: The KKK is not a Christian Extemist organization – have you read any of the 66 books of the bible? To equivocate the kkk to muslim extemists is completely wrong. Muslim extremists have 109 Qu'ran surahs to support their position – where did Jesus say that it was ok to kill people if their skin color was black?

      August 3, 2010 at 8:48 pm |
  11. brian

    And yet no one seems to care about the +12 Christian churches within walking distance of the Oklahoma City Bombing memorial...

    Seems this is more about sticking it to brown people and foreigners then it is about a legitimate belief that a terror target should not become a monument to the belief system that destroyed it.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  12. Jathan, Redlands CA


    August 3, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  13. Samantha

    Ridiculous. Only in America can a religious group kill over 2000 people – in the name of Ala, and then get to put their mosque over the remains.

    By the way, it's going to cost 100 million dollars to build this mosque... where are they getting funding for this? Oh yeah, they wont disclose this information. Good for those terrorist. I'm sure Iran and everyone else who is funded this are laughing. If they really wanted to 'build bridges' perhaps they could have even considered building this a few blocks away.

    Perhaps Israel should bomb the Dome on the Rock so they can build their temple... do you think it works the other way around? I think not.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  14. Don

    Tammy, don't be ridiculous. There are millions of Muslims in America. Are they forcing you to believe in their God? Bigotry only makes things worse my dear.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
    • tolerant

      What do you mean, "their God". There is only one God – one Reality that encompasses all other realities. One Creator. Our perceptions of that Reality may be different in their outer forms, but that Reality is the same.

      August 3, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  15. RandomDave

    Haha, I love how the same morons who preach tolerance and try to force their way of life on the rest of the world are shrieking in horror to see a Muslim prayer house go up. You ignorant bigots aren't fooling anyone. Go pick up a book, please.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
  16. K

    This is one of those situations where people have the right to do something that they should not do. Of course we should allow Muslims to build mosques. No, we should not blame Islam for 9/11. But it's not so simple. We've all seen footage of the peaceful Muslim who decrys the violence perpetrated by terrorists, but says to his friends, "But you know, this kind of thing is bound to happen to countries like the US, who support the enemies of Islam..." Reasonable Americans who don't want to blame Muslims for 9/11 still harbor resentment against the Muslim world, because the Muslim world has not universally, unequivocally, stood against terrorism. The fact that Park51 wants to build a mosque in the immediate vicinity of one of the greatest crimes perpetrated in the name of Islam shows that they lack the sensitivity they claim to have.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
  17. shines

    Build the Islamic simultaneously with churches and synagogues being built in Mecca. (Of course the hook would be allowing folks to worship in them)

    August 3, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  18. Ron

    I pray to my god for all the false christians to learn tolerance and learn to live in peace with their neighbors. I pray their neighbors will learn to live in peace with them.
    Every nite....

    August 3, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
  19. Stop Islam

    Islam+Tolerance= Oxymoron LOL
    Before you know majority population in this country will be Moslem as these guys breed like rabbits. Koran instructs the Muslim to marry multiple women & breed like rats to take over the world.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
  20. ArrKay

    Oh this is rich.

    "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."

    Ah, yes, battle bigotry, Anti-Defamation League, fight on! Well, unless it's against muslims, then it's apparently justified.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:00 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.