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. BD

    It's not a Mosque, but a religious center, which will have a room for prayer, this is similar to the Jewish center which is nearby. All religions have their fanatics who consider anyone outside of their belief system "infidels" Try the bible belt towns down south/midwest. Try going into certain areas of Israel without proper attire according to the Hassidics and see how long you last. And it's not ground zero, but a few blocks away. This is a lot about nothing which the right uses to further their cause. btw – yes the Saudi's and their brand of Islam is in fact crazy and intolerant of others who do not believe as they do, however, they do not speak for the vast majority of muslins in the world, as I am sure glad the fringe fanatics in any religion do not represent the majorities of their own religion.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  2. toto_22_1999

    Hi Tammy;
    From your comment I can sense your ignorance about Islam. Allah is the Arabic word for God. Jews use Elohim which is very similar. Muslims worship the same God as Christians and Jews. Usually people read a book then criticize it, don’t you agree?? You know nothing about Islam so I suggest you go and read unbiased books then start criticizing. dd

    August 3, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  3. TuTone

    so some crazy people did some bad things, and tried to justify it in the name of god........and it is god's fault? no its the fault of the people, who arent crazy, who see god as loving, and had nothing to do with what these idiots did.......the only comparrison is the color of their skin, accents, and the word they have for the word god? I dont understand the logic, and I am really hurt to think my fellow country men have so much unspent vengence for osama bin laden that they forget the energy in effort should be spent seeking justice......that we want to bring injustice to your fellow country men, by denying them a place of worship? If the time period of the Roman empire produced so many well thinking people, that though outside the box, how can it seem we are two seconds away from creating the first wheel? Let these people have their religion.......the easter bunny, faeries, and what else they want to believe in, it's the right we fight for as AMERICANS

    August 3, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  4. alhassan age 13

    screw u victoria what if we muslims said build your own church somewhere else. places of religion are important we respect each other so u better say ur sorry

    August 3, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • Sam

      Lookout, another angry little Muslim in the making. Check his backpack at school!

      August 3, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  5. Edgar Friendly

    I live down the street. Go for it.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  6. schtimi

    As long as the extremists Moslems continue to preach Jihad, I also, can only consider the building of numerous mosques as a goal to establish beacheads in our country so that fanatics can plan and advance their strategy under the cover of religious freedom. Try to build a Christian church in Moslem countries.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  7. freepalestine


    August 3, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  8. Klean9

    The land of the free and the home of the politically correct and gullible...

    August 3, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  9. Muhamed Ali

    Victoria you dont speak like that when you go on gas station , who you buying from that same gas that you put in your car.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  10. Jrod

    Correction...I meant "right wing"

    August 3, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  11. walala

    I'm sure some crazy New Yorkers will definitely burn it to the ground. I hope they do too.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:28 am |
    • ragnarmcryan

      Because killing Americans is a perfectly okay thing to do, as long as they don't look like or worship as you do? People like you legitimized tyrannical fascist governments all throughout the history of this world. Long live Freedom, democracy, and the USA– You obviously don't share these values.

      August 3, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  12. podro

    allah is not the christian god, the name gortoba it was a city in Spain when it was taken by muslims, they want to keep on remembering their lost dream which by building this fu**** mosque they think that there is a hope to take america ,the new dream for them( new andalos or spain), (((( if america doesn't wake up it will be taken))))) i know islam more than u know it.thay think that building this thing is a victory for islam,saudi money

    August 3, 2010 at 11:28 am |
    • LearnToRead

      gortoba? Really...

      August 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  13. David

    Everybody can quote who did what to who in the past or list all the names of muslims who died during 9/11, doesn't change the fact that putting this up is just asking for trouble, it will be a target for vandalism and possible attacks.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  14. sakibaba

    I am an athiest and really do not care what you build where as long as its legal. However the constitution guarantees equal freedom of religion: period and muslims are citizens too.
    A lot of right wing nuts try to legitimize their actions by quoting the actions of the very people they oppose. Then where is the difference between the fanatics who perpetuated the hateful crime at ground zero and them. This is america and we respect all life. The fanatics did not discriminate when they had killed on september 11.....they had killed Americans from all walks of lifes(not christians, muslims,hindus, jews,whites, browns or blacks etc).
    Gernerally 10 years is a good enough time to heal but a lot of frustration seems to be stemming from the fact that we are involved in generational unending wars(one of them totally had notthing to do with anything but greed, and totally dropped the ball on the other one trying to regain ground now) which we cannot seem to be able to find our way out off with absolute victories and are bankrupt as a result of it.Osama must be lauging his guts out because we fell for his scheme: destroy the tolerant fabric of america and bankrupt them.
    The difficult part about being the "greatest nation on earth" is the being "great" part.

    "Two wrongs do not make a right."
    Mahatma Gandhi

    August 3, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  15. Mike Lanni

    Build churches????? are you serious? like we even use them , No one goes to church anymore more than hal of them are empty.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  16. Jim James

    Sarah Palin...lol

    No, no, no. Building a mosque would be insulting, I agree. I guess the strip club down the street and the dozen or so bars in the area are a perfect compliment to the Ground Zero memorial.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  17. whatsthat

    The Twin Towers came down how long ago ? The mosque will be built long before the towers are completed, sounds like a victory for one side to me.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  18. aaron

    let them build it then lets bomb it when its packed with towel heads, let them really find allah,in sha allah. we will fight them to the last drop of blood, i hope their dead ancestors feel it.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  19. Tone

    This is a slap in the face... Since I'm christian why don't I fly a plane into a building somewhere that is considered a Muslim nation, destroying it, then have my christian bretheren build up a massive church in its place.

    The REAL sticking point should be WHO exactly is funding this?? I can almost guarantee you they're not from Manhattan if you get my drift..

    August 3, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  20. Guest

    Have it on the new WTC itself so that it won't be a target for another attack

    August 3, 2010 at 11:25 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.