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)
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  9. Simon Lloyd

    it should also be noted, by you morons that one of the main individuals behind this mosques creation – has been lobbying in the arabic/islamic world for years against Islamic extremism and was an individual even Goerge W. Bush (yes, a great fascist like yourselves) reached out to during post early post 9/11 hysteria for help in making political thru-ways with the islamic world to help agencies like the FBI/CIA in finding things such as sleeper cells. Now i would give his name and maybe a link but you lazy fucks should take the time to go look him up

    August 22, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  10. Simon Lloyd

    Just a little something from an Atheist. Religion in general is wrong – it promotes meaningless conflicts like this and gives fools like yourselves something to argue about. For those of you writing from the lower class – educate your dumb self. Of all the dangers in the world you are prolly not EVER going to have to deal with radical muslims. You're much more likely to get blown up by abortion clinic christian extremists. It dont matter what religion you follow – they are all designed to placate the lower class/ disenfranchised individuals into thinking that they have worth and will somday find happiness -- without overthrowing the individuals with power/money.

    In short if you think extremist muslims are a real problem in this country go do some real reading and figure out what's actually going on, or kill yourself because you don't deserve to breath.

    August 22, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
    • Terrie

      We have already had to deal with Muslim extremist. It is called 9/11

      May 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  11. dan

    i use to think New York had common sense. I was wrong. The safety of the people living there takes a back seat when it comes to money and pay offs

    August 21, 2010 at 10:52 am |
  12. Fadi

    Yes, it stabs hearts. But in the long run, it will help America heal and show tolerance for the near billion peaceful, non-violent Muslims, a lot of those in America. It is necessary, and, while akward at first, will allow the world to see how tolerant America is.

    August 14, 2010 at 12:54 am |
  13. jerry

    people have the right to worship who and where they want that isnt a crime nor is it a crime to build a mosque by the site of the world trade centres,it just seems odd,strange and suspissious that they would want to build one there

    August 10, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  14. Hal

    History teaches much to those who are willing view it objectively. I see here many contradictory posts; some with merit, some accurate, some opinion, some fear, some false history and some wishful thinking. To build a mosque this close to the site of the most devastating attack on our country by a foreign power means different things to different people and different groups. If it is built to serve peace loving Muslims who only wishing to practice their faith, that is very acceptable and may be viewed favorably by many. If however the purpose of the developer and its proponents are to build a monument to the 9-11 attack in celebration of the victory that the attack represents to Islamic terrorists then that is unacceptable. So the questions we should consider here are: What are the intentions of the Cordoba Initiative and its supporters? What groups or individuals are funding the project? Perhaps time will revile the truth, it most often does. Either learn the lessons of history or be bound to repeat it.

    August 8, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  15. thekin

    Everyone that worships the God of Abraham should be eliminated. All Abrahamic books should be burned.

    August 5, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
  16. Nicholas Kattar

    A great victory for humanity. Well Done!

    For the record: They're not building a mosque on the very ground where the WTC once stood. It's being built on a plot that happens to be near the site. If I'm not mistaken that is not the same thing. The tragedy on 9/11 was an attack on America by Muslim extremists, yes. Disgusting. Yes. And I hope they're burning in hell. HOWEVER...An attack on America in the city of New York where the victims and there families were of all race, religion, and creed. This was not an attack on christians by muslims. This has absolutely NOTHING to do with the Muslim community that lives, works, and prays peacefully in New York City and has done so before and after the event. There is a number of Muslims who work around the area and who worked in the World Trade Center. Let us not mistake the sinister actions of individuals who practice an extreme element of religion for an entire community of peaceful people. Let us not mistake fanaticism for the Islam religion as a whole. Should we tear down all the delis or small business around the area that people own just because they are practicing Muslims? Building a Mosque in place of shitty run down building that serves no purpose is by no means a slap in the face of the victims of 9/11 and their families. It has nothing to do with it and there is no conspiracy or some apocalyptic end to the "American" way of life. That attitude and thinking is old and boring. It's a Mosque. Not a statue of Osama Bin Laden. It's a Mosque. It doesn't symbolize anything. It's a place for Muslims to pray. Nothing more. New York has Mosques, Churches, Synagogues, Temples, whatever. Religion I can take it or leave it personally. But some people can't. But that is why New York is and always will be the city of change, progress, and the center of the world. That is why New York is the survivor and only the ones who live here really know it. Real New Yorkers understand people. We are a city of people. We walk and argue and yell, and laugh, and push, and roll our eyes at each other everyday. On the street, the subways, the parks, in our cars. But we understand, accept, and tolerate each other probably more then any other city in the U.S. Because even though we might not always all like each other, WE STILL LIVE TOGETHER AND WE FIND A WAY TO MAKE IT WORK.

    August 4, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
    • jim

      Well, Nich, let's see how well it all works when they become the majority. I'm old and will be dead by then but maybe you will be alive to bow down and kiss their black hairy ass. Hope you enjoy it!

      August 13, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  17. DrFreddy

    If people oppose the idea of mosques being built next to Ground Zero then they should also oppose the idea of building churches next to the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
  18. Manuel

    No one is saying to give away fredom for every one, but to control those that have shown in the past and even nowadays that they don't believe in it. If they get the power here, they will burn all books of Benjamin Franklin and others. They will wipe out all the past history before them. Don't you see what is happening in England and France and other parts of what now they call "Eurabia".

    August 4, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  19. Manuel

    Some posters here are so afraid of losing fredom that they are unable to see that the real danger is in allowing Islam to gain a foothold in this country. I am not sure if they all are dreamers, lovers of the freedom that the Creator gave us, or part of them are real ingenuous liberals and part of them Islamic disguised sympathizers.

    It is easy to talk about freedom and liberalism while we still have a democratic government. But wait until America gets a govenrment controlled by Islamic clerics

    Please stop dreaming. think of your children and grandchildren. They will be the ones suffering more.
    Say NO to the Cordoba Initiative.

    August 4, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

      Benjamin Franklin

      August 4, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • jim

      During WWII we did not know which of the japanese we could trust and interned them all in camps in the middle of the US. Was there one that was imprisoned that could have made all the difference in the world if they had been able to supply info that would have changed the course of events?
      Our government has proven that it has no way of knowing which of those that are admitted to the Us from the middle east countries, muslim countries, are going to use their job or education that they get here to plan an attack on us. Muslims have slipped away from military training camps and no one knows where they are or what they are up to. Foreign students have planted bombs in our planes and streets. What plans are laid in the many mosques around the country? Is it more proper to be politically correct and leave them continue to come here not knowing their intentions or is it better to be on the safe side and throw out all that are here and admit no more and by doing so know that we stand a better chance of surviving and intensiifying our efforts to stop all we can at the borders? If they were recognized for the political and military movement that they are and ignore their cover of being a religionit becomes possible to do. Do they really have any talent that this country needs?

      August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  20. Gary

    dont need any more tax evasive churches,mosques,or any government buildings ....need factories so we can be a productive Americans like the great Nation of China........ "God" is blessing china with American jobs as religious idiots in U.S.A. argue over an imaginary God.

    August 4, 2010 at 1:43 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.