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. Eliseo

    If the property is being bought by the mosque who cares what they put up there, if I buy my house and decide to call it a mosque then so be it, as long as I follow guidelines within the home owners association! This is pure rubbish for people to be saying what the should and should not place there, everyone is to darn sensitive, all I can say for the wimps out there who are wimpering about this is grow some b@lls, I am surprised you made it this far in evolution, you should have been extinct hundreds of generations back!

    August 3, 2010 at 11:15 am |
  2. Sayeed

    All the nay Sayers are the minority, the sane, respectful, educated majority has spoken.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:15 am |
    • Truestory

      Ur an fing D-Bag Sayeed!!! Go draw dumb little pics of allaha and his fugly face!!!

      August 3, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  3. George

    Lets all watch this thing go up, its going to be interesting. There was a discount store in New York where the Muslim employees were said to be dancing in the aisles when the twin towers were attacked. Before the week was out, it burned to the ground.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  4. Leis

    Awesome. Muslims destroyed the city and now they get a shrine for it. Doesn't this seem backwards? There is such a thing as tolerance. However, as an American I'm so sick of tolerating the killing of my friends and family. Saying that I'm sick will be offensive to some, but I am tired of worrying about offending murderers. It's time we stand up and say "Enough is Enough!"

    August 3, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  5. Rackem

    Only in New York would this kind of crap actually go through. They need to take a vote.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  6. Phil

    Exactly Chasboy! My thoughts exactly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    As for the 'Community Center', did WE f'n forget that they have been caught before planning and plotting their petty-thoughtless suicidal events in their own mosques?!?!?!?! WAKE UP AMERICA, ARE WE THAT NAIVE?!?!?!?
    All I have to say is that if they do build this, I hope they watch their backs....I wouldn't wanna be them in this city after what they did to us 'in the name of their religion'....

    August 3, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  7. Lindsay

    Abdullah- Allah is NOT the Chrisitan GOD. Beliefs aside, just reading the Koran and the Bible, you can tell immediately that the two gods describled in those texts are not the same being. They do not have the same characteristics AT ALL. I am a Christian and allah is not my god; my GOD is Triune, Three in One-The Father, The Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:13 am |
    • gyrokeith

      actually Jesus and John the baptist are mentioned in the koran

      August 3, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
  8. cnn1bigjoke

    this is a slap in the face to new yorkers who lost loved ones. Mosques have historically be built on site of those whom they conquer. One can only hope they get a taste of their own medicine at the new site.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:13 am |
    • Tommy

      So you are saying that you actually HOPE that innocent people, wanting to pray, who had nothing to do with terrorists who kill for fun, should be killed at the new site? You are a sicko, we should ship you to the desert and leave you there.

      August 3, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  9. Rodney

    This should be a crime. When are we the (United Sates) going to wake up? Talk about adding insult to injury this is just crazy!

    August 3, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  10. d

    Equity would love to see a huge cathedral, in Saudi or any middle eastern country for that matter .
    Oh could we please also wear our crosses crucifixes in public when visiting the middle east too? Not.....

    August 3, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  11. Arizona Huey

    I love all the myopic hypocrisy going on here. The caltholics and christians all in an uproar over a mosque being built around ground zero. If this was going on about not allow one of their churches going up – wow, the fury would be deafening. Personally, I think ALL religion needs to go away. The world would be a much much better place to live without all of the zealot gum flapping and posturing going on.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:11 am |
    • Rob

      Hey, right on Huey. I live in Western Canada, and a popular sentiment here is, this has got to stop. Religion in general is out of control especially when mixing reilgion and politics (political correctness in the true sense of the words).

      August 3, 2010 at 11:34 am |
  12. Big Bob

    You got that right, GQieenie923. In 20 years, everything south of Canal Street will be a no-go zone for infidels.
    They'll have no one to blame but their "enlightened" selves. See Europe as the model. Yet, blindly we go on!

    August 3, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  13. tim

    The " BIG APPLE just became the" BIG COWARD"

    August 3, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  14. Carb Addict

    I'd rather punch myself in the face than eat a donut from Dunkin Donuts!!

    August 3, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  15. Jamie lametre

    Anyone ever slowrolled their beanbag getting out of a truck? feels like a bottle rocket going off in your drawers.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  16. George

    What you are witnessing is the beginning of the end of the world.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  17. calcman10

    I posted this question 10 minutes ago, but it has yet to make it on the board. Someone explain the significance of the name that was chosen for this mosque?

    August 3, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  18. Mike in SA

    Oh, and as to the people likening this to a church being built near the OKC bombing site...McVeigh was not a Christian. In ihs final statement, he said he had left the Christian faith and science was his God. Guess we can't build a university science center any where near the site now.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  19. Jaden

    Some of you are just so ignorant. It makes me sick to my stomach to share citizenship with you. If you guys knew your facts, you knew that there is nothing wrong with Islam. You'd know that we arent fighting Islamics, we are fighting Extreme Islamics. You can be Muslim, but you dont have to be Extreme. This exact ignorance and rhetoric from some of you is the same reason why pure hearted Muslims do not feel as though they can be a part of this great nation. You all shun them away with bigorty and hatred and that leads to things like the Fort Hood shootings or the Time Square Bombing. Muslim Americans who try to feel like an American are turned away by their own. There is nothing wrong with having an Islamic Center a few blocks away from Ground Zero AS LONG AS Extreme Islamic Rhetoric is preached and taught there. I bet half of you didn't know that Muslims gather in that building at least once a week.
    Last time I checked, no religion is perfect, especially Christianity. If you knew your history, you'd know there were many things Christians did back in the day that would make you sick to your stomach. Thankfully, they don't do them anymore. Now let's hope these Islamic Extremist would end their hate full ways and practice their religion in a safe, peaceful and loving manner just as MILLIONS of other Muslims are doing.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:09 am |
    • George

      There are two kinds of Muslims. Those who are fanatics, and those who wait while their brothers in arms do the dirty work.

      August 3, 2010 at 11:12 am |
    • BridgeTheGap?

      George, sure seems that way, doesn't it? Where are all the peace-loving counter-extremist Muslims?

      August 3, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • Kobe

      Hey Jaden,

      It makes me sick to my stomach that you and your fellow american muslims just sit there and watch your religion being hijacked by supposedly a 'few bad apples'. Then why don't you do something about it? Rise up! Take to the street and protest those 'bad apples' that saw heads off people and stone women and repress them, killing innocents in the name of Allah? Nope – you just sit on your hands don't you?

      Let me ask you this – what if your son or daughter converted to Christianity? What would you do? I think I know but I doubt you have the courage to be honest.

      August 3, 2010 at 11:22 am |
    • Kobe


      One more thing – is it cool if we built a church in Mecca? How about Saudi Arabia? How about any of your precious Islamic sites of worship? That cool? You there? Hello? You pansy coward RESPOND!

      August 3, 2010 at 11:38 am |
    • LearnToRead

      The reason you never hear about the moderate Muslims is because you aren't listening. There are plenty of sane people trying to express their balanced beliefs on this comment section alone.

      Saudi Arabia is not a democracy like the United States. When you condemn the construction of this mosque, you are reserving rights to yourself and denying rights to others. That is not America. Shame on you.

      August 3, 2010 at 11:58 am |
    • Jaden

      First of all Kobe, I am actually Christian, Protestant, Pentecostal to be specific. AND I work a few blocks away from Ground Zero. I work on Worth Street, (look it up). And it's ashame you don't do your research because there are hundreds of thousands of Muslims who are loosing their lives in Afghanistan, Iraq and many other Muslim nations for this very same fight we are in. Maybe you should get out of you bigotted head and read some more and diverse material and learn the facts. And as a CHRISTIAN, if my child ever converted to another religion, what more can I do but love them and wish them happiness. I hope they would practice their new religion in a peaceful manner. Religion is a personal experience, what I may get from Christianity may not be the samething he or she will get from it. They may experience that joy and happiness in Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism or maybe even Atheism. As long as my child is an ethical and just human being who will respect the rights of others in this country, my job as a parent is complete.
      George and BridgeTheGap, I urge you to do the same and read other material and actually learn a thing or two from Islam. Perhaps when this Islamic center is built, you can take a trip and learn something and be rid of you bigotted ideas and hatred.
      Thank You LearnToRead, hopefully one day people will realize that we are America and we respect the rights of EVERYONE and not just the ones who share a common belief. Kudos to you.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
    • Agathe

      Some Christians still do bad things in a different way. They capitalized, commercialized, in other worlds hijacked Christianity. We have been told by those so called story telling tele-evangelists that God would be good to us as long as we put the money in the collection basket and support their fancy lifestyle. What did all the mega churches do? FYI they are all money making machines that appealed to the emotionally vulnerables who would gladly give their last dollar that they could ill afford for a promise of better health, better job, better children, better husbands...
      I cringed every time I saw one of those people on TV giving their sales pitch disguised as a sermon or service, they quoted portions of the Bible that suited their purpose because I knew the money would be pouring in mostly from the lonely, vulnerable seniors. I started to take control of my 83 years old Mom's finances after she wasted a big portion of the money that my Daddy left for her to those disgusting preachers.

      August 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
    • BridgeTheGap?

      Jaden, I have no interest in learning about Islam for the same reason I have no interest in learning about any other religion. To the contrary, I urge you to open your eyes and realize that religion is the true source of all bigotry and hatred. If you are as learned as you claim you are, then consider for a moment the history of humankind and the wars we've waged on each other. How many of those wars had to do with something that couldn't be watered down to some sort of religious/ideological difference?

      My comments aren't motivated by bigotry or hatred as you seemed to have assumed. They are motivated by common sense and common decency. Sorry if this frustrates you.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
    • Joshua

      I agree that a restarant specializing in Pork dishes should be made right outside the building, due to their insensitivities

      August 4, 2010 at 9:30 am |
  20. karen

    This mosque will become holy ground for muslims. This should never be allowed to happen in this country.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:09 am |
    • LearnToRead

      Umm...are churches not holy to Christians? Any mosque would be considered holy to Muslims, not just this one.

      August 3, 2010 at 11:51 am |
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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.