August 11th, 2010
03:12 PM ET

Controversial New York Islamic center will not relocate to public land

CNN's Alona Rivord filed this report:

Developers of a Muslim community center near the site of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York Wednesday declined an offer by Gov. David Paterson to relocate the project.

Paterson had suggested Tuesday that state-owned property could provide an alternative building site for the controversial project.

"If the sponsors were looking for property anywhere at a distance that would be such that it would accommodate a better feeling among the people who are frustrated, I would look into trying to provide them with the state property they would need," Paterson told reporters.

Developers say the current location for the project - two blocks from ground zero - was selected intentionally to serve the Lower Manhattan community.

"We have a tremendous amount of respect for our governor, and we are always interested in hearing what our leaders have to say, and what their ideas and proposals are. But this has always been about serving Lower Manhattan," said developer Sharif El-Gamal of Soho Properties.

The proposed $100 million, 13-story facility, which is being built by the Cordoba Initiative, will include a mosque, performing arts center, gym, swimming pool and other public spaces. The Cordoba Initiative describes itself as a Muslim outreach group.

The project has drawn fierce opposition from many families of victims of the 9/11 attacks, as well as from several members of Congress and some religious groups. Some have argued that building a mosque near ground zero is disrespectful to the victims of the attacks.

"I don't have any objection to it being built there," Paterson said Tuesday. "But I am very sensitive to the desire of those who are adamant against it to see something else worked out."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other city leaders support the center.

"Those of us in public service are going to have to create a greater dialogue right now to try to make sure those feelings are heard to whatever extent we can," Paterson said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Islam • New York • Politics • United States

soundoff (859 Responses)
  1. Michael

    Religious freedom but dont put a mosque there srsly!!!!

    August 11, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
  2. David Horowitz

    Muslims have a habit of propping up mosques on top of conquered lands....This mosque is bad omen.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  3. CantSilenceMe

    I'm neutral on this debate. The 9/11 victims families should keep in mind that the dead don't care what happens in NYC.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  4. SickOfThem

    @Pink Hijab- Go away you evil one.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
  5. amarjit

    Liberty & freedom has enormous moral constraints which are implied. It will be a public stigma on America if the mosque is built at the ground Zero & bowing to Al Qaeda who once said that America should adopt Islam moreso when perpetrators were Islamic fundamentalist & hardliners.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
  6. Markymark

    If Muslims were as caring, loving and compassionate as they claim to be, they would understand the frustration felt by so many and they would move their Mosque to a less sensitive area. Since they won't even talk about that possiblity, it tells me that their motives are as feared by so many. Evil!

    August 11, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  7. JK

    I respect any religion, but what I don't like is the contradictory messages the Imam sends in different languages. I think we should be respectful but also protect our own interests.

    What about this video?


    August 11, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  8. James

    The construction of this mosque is a travesty and those of you who support it need to be first in line as volunteer victims for the next wave of jihadist attacks. Your "tolerance" is disgusting. You have no real values at all and you are cowards for not standing up to these animals. We are being laughed at in every corner of the world over this and rightly so. Only complete idiots would allow the construction of such a den-of-murders as this next to where over 3,000 of our countrymen were murdered in cold blood. Those of you who support this are disgusting cowards.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
    • AmericaNA


      THESE people who want to build the center are FELLOW AMERICANS TOO

      and they have every right to do so...


      August 11, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
    • James

      Again I'll say, your "tolerance" is disgusting. Keep your head in the sand and our country will be overwhelmed like a flood. Just look at what is happening in the France and the UK. WAKE UP!

      August 12, 2010 at 6:41 am |
  9. Kevin

    This sound off board has exceeded the stupid limit.

    Let me just add, that while they have every right to build their building wherever they can afford to build it, they're the ones who will have to deal with the 24/7 protest crowd making their center extremely undesirable.

    From a real estate standpoint, the builders are wasting money.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
    • FrankinNJ

      They are not wasting money, simply because their intent is to build a mosque near the site of thier 'victory'. They will get what they want because of people who are either blind, stupid or willfully ignorant to see the truth and history behind this type of building pattern.

      I don't blame those here who are obviously anti-american and want this built. I blame the morons who actually believe the excuses they post.

      August 11, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  10. jamesnyc

    I'm sorry but if this Imam is any way pro Hamas and saying we brought on 9/11, deport the heathen. There is no way this building should be built. The only people who want it are ivory tower idealogues who are probably getting kick backs from the construction company. Paterson is right to try to get them to put it elsewhere. If the Muslims want to spend money, how about helping build the WTC's back first and then and issue fatwa against the murderers of 9/11? Why don't we build a Mikky D's in Mecca while we're at it.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
    • slag

      I like your idea James, let them rebuild the WTC.

      August 11, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  11. Voravit

    The only people that will offended on this project are those people that believe Muslim are foes to this nation. Its too bad that most American still have no clue about Islam. Its like you saying all White people are racists and Black are lazy and Jews are cheap and evil.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  12. jelectric

    Hey I usually don't respond to message boards. I do love to read people's comments and hear other peoples opinions. I wanted to share a little about who I am and my perspective. I am a missionary through an organization called Youth With A Mission. We have taken several groups who come in to Chicago to several different religious information centers. We have an Islamic Community Center in Chicago. I have gone 4 times to their community center. Each time I go their messages have become worse and worse. The last time I went in They were talking about killing the infidel. Afterwords they allowed us to go into a room and ask questions. Once we had our time of Q&A I went up to thank the Imam for taking his time to meet with us. I was yelled at for coming into the community center. He said Christians should not be entering into this place. Asked us why we are here?

    My concern is simply this imam who wants to create this new center. He talks about For America to score even higher on the „Islamic‟ or „Shariah Compliance‟ scale, America would need to do two things: invite the voices of all religions to join the dialogue in shaping the nation‟s practical life, and allow religious communities more leeway to judge among themselves according to their own laws” 86).

    America‟s values are from “the principles of the Declaration and Constitution are consistent with divine ordinance, the particular method of government and a particular scheme of sociopolitical cooperation that follow from it are thereby invested with divine sovereignty and command an authority that comes from God. The power of the community is of a vicarious kind, being held, as it were in trust from God. A Shariah-compliant states owes its existence to the will of the people and is subject to control by them, although it derives its ultimate authority from God” (107). My issue is not about any kind of community center being built but the intent behind them.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  13. Bill

    I don't think the mosque should be built at that location. Since there are numerous tributes to the victims in that area, it would almost guarantee some kind of conflict.

    This is being built for the sole purpose of turning Muslims against non-Muslims. It will put all Muslim worshippers there in danger, as well as posing a danger for the surrounding area.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  14. Jeremiah

    Maybe the unions can help out with getting this issue resolved. All construction companies should refuse to work for this group.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  15. Tamashi Shinto

    It will be interesting to seee what Prez Obama's tak on the whole issue is, and what he woul o if he is invited for the opening ceremony on sept 11, 2011 *the schduled date of its opening) would he go?

    August 11, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  16. Chris

    This is about what all religions are about....spreading and getting bigger. These people dont want to relocate...they want the biggest building they can afford to build. They want people to come there and learn about their religion. It would be nice if some christian nutter flew a plane into it if its built.....

    August 11, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  17. Just asking?

    This mosque is an abomination. Why is not the president making a statement about all of this?

    August 11, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
    • free2comment

      He got the news over 6 years agon and now you can see what he's been briefed with at UFO Human Link A Page in the Life blogspot com

      August 11, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
  18. slag

    At the very minimum, building the mosque near ground zero is in poor taste. Muslims do understand that it is unsettling to the majority of Americans but yet they continue with their plans as if they are trying to make a point.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  19. Paul

    It's amazing that in this day and age, that all the wars in the world are over religion.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
    • Monica

      That's in part thanks to misled information. If people want to be evil, it will always come down to attacking race and religion. The more educated you are the more color blind you become.

      August 11, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
    • buffalogal

      You're kidding, right? I'm hoping you don't really believe your own misled statement. . . .

      August 11, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
    • jamesnyc

      Yes, but a lot of wars have been over religion. People have been burned to death, eviscerated, stoned, beheaded, raped, gassed, drawn and quartered you name it all over religion. Ban religion.

      August 11, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
    • Abel Arce

      That is the most bigoted response I've ever heard. Most of the muslim world live in the 3rd world, and are extremely poor and uneducated. So, are they the most numerous racists? No, I don't believe that. It has to do with the character of theindividual. Now, if they are muslims, yes they are very intolerant and racists individuals. I was in a middle east country and saw an arab treating another human being like trash in public. This educated arab got into the train and rudely ordered 2 philipino men to get out of the seat so he and his wife could take their seats. I felt humiliated when the philipinos got out of their seats and this rude muslim couple sat instead. You know, I don't think islam is for you or for anybody.

      August 11, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
  20. Sick of it all

    LMAO at the whole situation. I was there on sept 11 th and how quickly we forget. If the citizens of new york city allow this abomination to be built, then they deserve whatever they get.

    It's about time that the majority rises up and takes over again rather than cowtowing to every minority group in the country.
    Call me a racist if you want... I'm just sick of it

    August 11, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
    • jamesnyc

      I was down town that day too. We should be the ones that decide whether that building should be there or not. Maybe we should have a class action suit against them for pain and suffering...

      August 11, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
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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.