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. Markus of monroe, La.

    Allah means God in Arabic. Allah is not a seperate god from Christians God. When you say hello in french it does not mean kill it is a gesture of speaking. Talk to a Muslim or talk to a Christian and learn before downing great religions. God is Great in English or Allah ho Akbar in Arabic. Peace.

    August 4, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
  2. LilRdvet2

    Three words for you: FOLLOW THE MONEY! (nothing else would have gotten this approved in the first place, much less have this landmark status voted down)...FOLLOW...THE...MONEY...

    August 4, 2010 at 11:47 am |
    • Nicholas Kattar

      And this is news? Welcome to America.

      August 4, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  3. notchodog

    I would like to hear all Muslims say that they believe that Jesus Christ died for their sins. The Koran tells them it is OK to lie to an "Infidel" therefore how can your words be trusted? The Bible states that it is a sin to lie!

    August 4, 2010 at 10:38 am |
    • Nicholas Kattar

      So Notchodog let me ask you a question: "Have you ever lied?" And please when you answer...Don't lie.

      August 4, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
    • Markus of monroe, La.

      When your judged will you be judged on your sins and accomplishments on this earth or are you you on easy street because Jesus died for you sin. If i did something for you then why would you have to worry about it. I love the Messenger Jesus & all the great teachings. You are one who say Jesus is God/Allah but if i ask you were Jesus seat in heaven you well say on the right hand of the father. How can i sit on the right hand of myself. Study the king James and learn it all Muslims have to know and must know about Jesus and the love he had for us and that God/Allah Chose him out of many to be created that way by his Grace and love to help man kind. We all are Muslim if you believe in god no matter what your faith is.The word Muslim means one who submit to God/Allah. Praise be to God/Allah.

      August 4, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  4. Mel

    Total BS ... building a Mosque on the site where a bunch of Muslim's killed close to 3,000 innocent people. That would be like opening a P.F. Chang's at the site of Pearl Harbor. It's just the Muslim's saying, HA HA America, look what we did!

    August 4, 2010 at 10:31 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Mel, are you saying that, if a group of religious fanatics commit crime, an act of terrorism for instance, the entire religion and everyone that follows that religion should be held responsible?

      August 4, 2010 at 10:37 am |
    • cback

      A mosque built on ground zero?! An act beyond human understanding caused by ' muslins', and now a mosque will stand as a reminder? Unbelieveable

      August 8, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  5. JohnQuest

    There is a lot of hate here, how is different them those you say hate you? Seem to me it is the same, you hate them they hate you, if there was a such thing as hell I think all haters would go equally.

    August 4, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  6. freevoice

    It’s a shame the Muslim world is falling backwards. Shamsodin, you are right. Centuries ago Muslims and Jews had a relationship of respect and lived as neighbors throughout the Middle East. Without oil money from the west, the Arab countries would not be as developed as they are today. It’s too bad the extremist have high jacked, distorted and bullied the Islamic world. The Muslim world needs to stand up and take responsibility for their actions. Even among the leaders, the voices of reason have been silenced by intimidation and violence. When you raise your children in hate and intolerance, this is the result.
    And for “FreePalenstine”, the Romans re-named Israel Palestine after they destroyed the second temple. The only ones holding back the Palestinians is their leadership.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:49 am |
  7. shamsodin

    When Islam ruled Spain let me tell you what history was recorded..

    The citizens and kings of the big empires used to flee there lands and used to come to the Muslim's land's for freedom. We let them have believe there own faith and we even let them have there own way of life including there own court system we treated them very equal by allowing them to come to our court systems and doing votes speaking out against oppressions pretty much everything the U.S offers in freedom.. It was Muslims who brought it to you the Christin empires.

    It was our great parents who brought you knowledge when Rome was in dark age. It was our great parents who saved your great parents from oppression those days. It was because of us technology is the way it is today..

    It was us who reinstalled mathematics who invented and change everything.

    Be mindful and thankful.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:12 am |
    • BobRoss

      shamsodin – How did Islam gain control over Spain? Through forced expansion and conquest. That is why I am skeptical of trusting any organization named the "Cordoba Initiative."

      August 4, 2010 at 8:22 am |
  8. bill frederick

    perhaps they will read their koran as they fall through the humid congo air and come ever closer to the ground they never should have attacked to build this is not to live in the past it is to celebrate the past through remembrance I never want to forget the past I only want the congo moment to befall every muslim who smiled on that day including you mohammed numbn***s

    August 4, 2010 at 5:33 am |
  9. bill frederick

    to fly air congo over the ashes of the twin towers and then to be pushed out of the plane

    August 4, 2010 at 5:27 am |
  10. bill frederick

    I want all the muslims to fly air congo

    August 4, 2010 at 5:25 am |
  11. Allah is not a peaceful God

    If Muslims are going to get away with building their Mosque on the spot where innocent people died in vain caused by stupid Muslims belief, than I say why not throw a grenade in their mosque and destroy it like they destroyed our World Trade Center. That will set a happy bridge. 🙂

    August 4, 2010 at 4:27 am |
    • Markus of monroe, La.

      How can a kind Christian think like that. I Live in Louisiana and My friend was shot in the back by a white police officer and killed. Should i go around and shoot all White police officers because he made a UN Godly move, NO I love him and you and the people who lost there lives. What about the children since the war started that don't know religion that are under the age of 3 that are dying by friendly Fire Hundreds of Thousands should some Muslim walk the streets and kill all people who are in the military children no. Let love. Oklahoma Bombing was done by a Christian Should we throw bombs in their Church NO>

      August 4, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  12. batobantelis

    This is the first time a project was build in honor of those who nothing to suffer, and at the expense of those who were hurt whose families, love ones, or friends were killed in the 9/11 tragedy. In here one can see the callousness on many in power in the name of 'religious freedom'. A freedom of religion to offend others feelings...

    August 4, 2010 at 3:14 am |
  13. Fred

    To all peace loving Muslims, you preach tolerance when the matter concerns your interest, why don't you show the same tolerance and concern to non Muslims living in Islamic countries? Why do you come in drove to America, Australia and Europe only to insist for a change to suit your way of life, often under the guise of political correctness, freedom of speach and multiculturalism? Then why come at all if all you want is to create another Islamic state? You are better staying put in your own country right?

    Case in point, a while ago the british Muslims insisted that they should have a sharia (Islamic) court to give ruling on matters Islamic, because it is not for the secular court to decide. Sections of Paris has become so Islamic that the streets resemble that in an Islamic states. Why can't non Muslims living in any Islamic states exercise the same rights that are accorded to you in the West?

    Muslims talk about the respect of multicultiralism, well what's so multicultural about any of the Islamic states, such as Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, in countries like Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia where Christians face daily discriminations and have their churches attacked and burnt of militant Islamic groups seemingly immune to the rule of law?

    August 4, 2010 at 1:12 am |
  14. Fred

    There is no denying that Islam was spread by the sword. So was Catholic Spain subdued under the Islamic sword. The holy city of Jerusalem also fell under Saladin's sword. I like to ask these so called 'peace loving' Muslims why is it forbidden for Christians to build their church in most Islamic states, in particular in Saudi Arabia where even private worship in one's own home was forbidden, why so many Christians were put in jailed for practicing their faith in private? Why don't you 'peace loving' folks speak up for the right of the Christians living under the oppressive Islamic Sharia's laws? Why do you practise double standards and don't walk the talk?

    August 4, 2010 at 12:46 am |
  15. novhellenic

    What nonsense! Go build a mosque in your own country. don't spit on the face of people who are too naive to protest your behavior for what it is – self hatred converted to West -hatred

    August 4, 2010 at 12:37 am |
  16. Reality

    One more time:

    What drove the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Then we can talk about the location of mosques and what is taught therein. Until then, no male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere.

    And if they build the topic mosque, there should be a plaque over its entrance saying, "Entrance to the World of Koranic-Driven Terror and Horror".

    August 4, 2010 at 12:22 am |
    • Nicholas Kattar

      "Mohammed's book of death?" Really? Did you really just right that? "Ya suspect kid."

      August 4, 2010 at 9:36 am |
  17. Scott

    Lets set the record straight. The problem is not Islam per say. Turkey and the largest Islamic country (Indonesia) really are not trying to kill everybody. Pakistan is more of a problem, but that is more with India and Afghanistan (their neighbors). As for the Middle East, most people there like Americans, Christians etc. And most of them are peaceful and useless. They can't do anything right and need to bring in Americans and Philipinos and Indians to run their countries. But, there are a good number of terrorists. As are the Israelies. Note not most, because 45% don't even believe in God anymore, but a good number (lots of them settlers). As for Christians, I would think what Christian France and Britain did to Africa would make any Christian feel ashamed.

    So, solution
    Stop sending arms and money to Israel.
    Stop buying oil from the Middle East
    Remove all troops from the region

    If this is done, peace will be in many parts of the world... well except for the Middle East but let them handle that themselves

    August 4, 2010 at 12:14 am |
  18. WhiBrock

    What can I say to begin my post, other than stating I am speechless? I am “on the fence” as to where I stand on this issue. I understand we preach freedom of religion and to tolerate a wide array of religions regardless of their beliefs; however I have to state, where is the tolerance here? I will admit I have never been to New York in my life, ever. I am not sure of the geography or location of this “Mosque/Community center”. I will say this, if we believe in tolerance and push that so, why aren’t we being tolerated? The only problem I have for this building is the location, regardless of where it may be built- at ground zero or two blocks away-I would have at least tried a different location further away. It is nothing intolerant or racist as I have many friends who represent numerous religions.
    To some Americans this is offensive, and to some NYC is a sacred and emotional place, and others need to be tolerant of this. The only solution to this, is possibly finding a middle ground. If this “Mosque/Community Center” were to be built elsewhere- would some American’s find this still offensive? At this point, tolerance should be reversed.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
  19. Bushpig61

    Wait till the place is full of muslims, then bomb it!

    August 3, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
  20. Bushpig61

    Wonderful. Let's allow a permanent reminder of how America had its nose rubbed in it on Sept. 11th. A trophy for all Muslims to show the world. "We not only struck at America's heart, but put a monument at the very site of our conquest!" What has America become? Are we that yellow-bellied and politically correct that we have to allow such a slap in the face? I'll go on record as saying that if this mosque gets built, I hope it and everyone who allowed it to be built "get theirs", in one way or another.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:19 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57
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.