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. Janice Walters

    I wonder how many explosives they could hide in a building that size and what the blast radius would be?

    Sounds like a plot for a movie?

    August 3, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  2. George

    So they didn't pull the plug on you even after the brain died?

    August 3, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  3. David

    They are just asking for trouble.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  4. Alex

    I find all religious equally offensive to my common sense and reason.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  5. Rob H.

    Another sad day in America, all for the sake of being politically correct. Liberalism at its best. But new yorkers should not complain, I haven't met one that is not a liberal democrat yet.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  6. Anonymous

    I am on the fence with this issue. I HAVE seen Muslims come into neighborhoods and spread their religious propaganda and build mosques that negatively affect areas of population, however I have also witnessed this from other religions. I think, if anything, ground zero should be made into a memorial or museum. Its just not right and it is a bit like a dagger in the heart.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:23 am |
    • LearnToRead

      This mosque is not being built ON ground zero, but rather NEAR ground zero. Ground zero is fenced and sectioned off.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  7. Greg

    Religion is the cause of all conflict on the planet and the human race would be better and more evolved without religio. All of gthese post are a prime example of how all religions lead to HATE.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  8. George

    Truth be told. We Americans do not want to bridge the gap. We want the gap to be wider, much wider. Like oceans wider.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  9. Wayne

    It's really quite simple;




    August 3, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  10. CommonSense

    Quran states ' There is no compulsion in religion'. Prophet Muhammed was the most beuatifucl example of human character, justice and peace. It is no wonder Islam is so prolific and is followed by so many. If Islam was what many of the ignorant writers on this blog say that it is, it would not have more than a few fringe, crazy followers. Islam is the continuation of the same truth taught by Abraham, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them all). Those who criticize the Quran and Islam only do so out of a complete lack of understanding or view it from such biased lenses that there is no point arguing or debating the issue.

    Muslims submit and pray to the same God of the Bible and the Torah.

    It is very easy and almost expected that ignoramus's look at the conduct of the extremist people who happen to call themselves Muslims, and judge the religion and the Prophet from it. If we all used this standdard, then Jesus, Moses and many other of God's Prophets would also be the target of the same filthy accustaions, given that no relgiious community is free from bad followers. When Jesus saw the misguided conduct of the Jews of his time, did he blame Moses for it?

    Learn about the true Islam, before making such awful statements. Islam, in its purest form transforms minds and hearts and guides people to the ultimate truth – but unfortuanately people need to have a purity of purpose to study the Quran and its teachings and look at the true, unadulterated facts about Prophet Muhammed's life (peace be aupon him and his family).

    Islam is the only religion that does not condemn people to Hell for not being Muslim (God will judge based on how one lives ones life – not on labels). People might, but the religion does not. There is NO compulsion in religion, according to Islam. Christianity however, does claim that if you don't belive in the divinity of Christ and do not accept him as your 'savior' you will go to hell. At least the people say so, Jesus never said anything of the sort.

    For those who just want to hurl insults out of fear and prejudice, please do not respond to my comments.

    May the God of the Torah, Bible and Quran guide those who sincerely seek success in this world and hereafter. Ameen.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:23 am |
    • illuminated Genius

      You are a liar! There is nothing peaceful about Islam, it is a dangerous radical political ideology promoting fascism, totalitarianism, military components controlling all aspects of life. I seen discrimination of women, promotion of death to infidels, arrogance among muslims, discrimination, promotion of Islamic Jihad, terrorism in the name of Allah, anti-freedom pro-slavery, promotion of hate and destruction of life. The Atheists are right and so is Geert Wilders, Pat Condel, Richard Dawkings, Wafa Sultan,Salman Rushdie. Osama BIn Laden did not get his ideas out of nowhere he got it from the Qu'ran. America can thank Islam for 9/11, the attacks at Fort Hood by a muslim chanting messages from the Qu'ran.

      August 3, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  11. dan

    This is such a slap in the face to Americans regarding 9/11. And whoever brought up the Christian crusades – okay, the last crusade was like 700 years ago! Muslims are blowing people up every day! Show me a peaceful Middle East and I will show you religious tolerance.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:22 am |
  12. Hassan

    @ Jason & Tammy...Ignorance is a crime....you have to have broader vision and investigate and study more before you make a comment, just dont follow the media, thats not the truth what they show you on conservative news channel, they only show you what they want you to see and know....its a small world, travel and interact with people...once you do that you would know who is your friend and who is your enemy or probably not your enemy at all....peace....

    August 3, 2010 at 11:22 am |
  13. Anti_Islam

    All muslims are terrorists...

    August 3, 2010 at 11:22 am |
    • Nick the Rat

      all Catholics are hemophiliacs

      August 3, 2010 at 11:36 am |
    • depaul

      all jews are savvy businessmen

      August 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  14. Jrod

    That's like saying you can't build a japanese restaurant in Hawaii because of the proximity to Pearl Harbor. Or better yet, what about the NRA convention held in Denver just days after the Columbine attack? Left-wing nuts were appalled that anyone would even ask them to put their guns away for senstitivy's sake. These are the same people trying to now keep this peaceful place of worship from going forward. It works both ways Palin! How did Charlton Heston say it? "From my cold dead haaaaaaands" lol. Get a life.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:22 am |
  15. Equity

    So let's go build a mega Church in Mecca!! Or would these "tolerant" Muslims seem to have a problem with that??

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

      Saudia Arabia is a religious country. Their religion is built into their government. America was founded on regligious freedom. Remember that one? That's why you can build whatever wherever.

      August 3, 2010 at 11:46 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      nah, lets go build a synagogue in the vatican city, im sure the more tolerant catholics would be ok with that.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  16. JohnQuest

    I am surprised, there are people living in the worst place to live on the planet (possibly the universe) that have a bit of common sense. I would have put money on the panel finding this structure of significant historical value just to spite the Muslims. I am happy to be wrong (although I still think a weekend visit to NY is almost as bad as spending an eternity in hell).

    August 3, 2010 at 11:22 am |
  17. shabsi

    I think the press like CNN, BBC and other major media help to make these muslims feel more important than they should be. WHY IS IT THAT WHEN THEY STOP CHRISTIANS FROM BUILDING CHURCH IN THESE ARAB COUNTRIES, NOBODY TALKS ABOUT IT?? But any time its against them, the whole press carries it. They don't give you the freedom they ask for in their own country, so do they deserve it? In the name of equality, you allow these brutal muslims to occupy your territories, at your own detriment. Whether they say Islam is a peaceful religion or not, the wars going on around the whole world justifies what they truly stand for. We have other world religions, but they are the only one that keep putting the whole world under intense pressure, why??? How my heart bleeds. I am not American, but i live in a country where we have to tolerate Muslims and their forceful means of imposing their beliefs on others. The last time i went to London, i had pity on it 'cos sooner or later, they will even blow up the House of Parliament-they have so islamised that country. What a shame!!!

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

      Why don't they leaglize gaming in nyc and just put a casino up instead of this mosque.

      August 3, 2010 at 11:51 am |
    • Hassan

      Shabsi, this is a free country..This is USA, you have mosques, churches, synagouges, mandirs and bhuddist temples...u need more exposure and education to understand whats wrong and right...we all learn every day

      August 3, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  18. qanerd

    For all you geniuses who think this is harmless exercise in religious freedom, you might want to use you favorite search engine to research Cordoba. Cordoba was all about dealing with and subjugating the infidel (that means YOU). This isn't called the Cordoba Initiative for nothing, though I understand that they are considering a name change the better to fly under the radar

    August 3, 2010 at 11:21 am |
  19. George

    One important question to Muslims. Why do you all have such stupid sounding names, like Yabba Dabba Doo, and such?

    August 3, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • Nick the Rat

      lol asshat

      August 3, 2010 at 11:35 am |
    • LearnToRead

      Most Muslim names are in a language other than English, hence you're lack of comprehension.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
    • LearnToRead


      August 3, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  20. Jay, Houston

    Just what we need – a shrine to the pedophile "prophet" mohammed just 2 blocks from ground zero.

    If the Muslims want to go somewhere, they should take their pedoprophet and go hang with the fundamentalist mormons. Both religions are basically the same 7th-century misogynistic violent nonsense anyways.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:21 am |
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.