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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. Bayousara

    I would like to see the City of New York locate public latrines near the new mosque if it is built. I will fly to NYC and use those latrines to "express" how I feel about this mosque being built at this location.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
  2. SickAmerican

    It sickens me to hear Americans talk about some of their fellow Americans like this. I am glad to see the support from a large number of people for this community center. I know a lot of Muslim Americans, including my neighbor who is an Afghan immigrant. All of them have said that they do not in any way support the extremists. It sickens me that people actually have the guts to say all Muslims are bad. Most are very good people just trying to make a living like you and I. For those who talk about these Muslim extremists and say all are extremists because of these groups, take these groups into consideration: Sons of Freedom, National Liberation Front of Tripura, Russian Orthodox Church, Lord's Resistance Army, KKK, Army of God, Christian Identity, Christian Patriots, Lambs of Christ, Concerned Christians, Hutaree, and the list goes on. What do these groups all have in common? They are all radical Christian groups. Think before you judge.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:26 pm |
  3. lar

    I believe it is time for western society, lea
    d by the USA, to unapologetically diminsh oil imports 5% per year until we get off middle-eastern oil completely. Then muslims can be left to themselves and to their born-again poverty. We Americans owe Islam nothing. Middle Eastern nations bar christianity and judaism. Why should we condone this symbolism? Political correctness? Is it politically correct to build this sham in the shadow of the dead. Dead because moderate muslims refuse to admit the abject evil in their midst. Stop it now o

    August 11, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
  4. Channe

    If it is wrong for a religious group to build a place of worship in a city that members of their faith once attacked, then I suppose you are completely OK with no churches ever being built in Africa, the Middle East, or India since the British and their Angelican Church killed millions through colonialism in those parts of the world .....

    August 11, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
    • eaglesays

      Orientalism was written by a terrorist sympatizer, not a true scholar. Refrain from your byased worthless opinion.

      August 11, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
  5. frank

    O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).

    chapter 49:13

    August 11, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
    • eaglesays

      That was invented by a dilussional A**h**e

      August 11, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  6. Swamprattler

    now to make things equal, someone should put up a topless bar and a gay bar next door

    August 11, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
  7. ROCKWOOD

    Let them build it......it will be destroyed.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
    • Channe

      As an American and an atheist I have two simple words for you – SHUT UP. If you are advocating destroying a building that was built legally than you are basically the terrorist.

      August 11, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
  8. Curt

    Before an mosque is built, I would like to see the Cordova folks and Muslim leaders in general make a very public announcement against terrorism, and wacko fanatics. Plus, start an ongoing effort to end this nonsense. Sure they said a few words condemning their zealots after 911. It just seems way too little, and nothing much since then. It was just lip service. I get the sense most Muslims feel America had it coming. Until that attitude changes, why put a Mosque anywhere near ground zero. When Disney can open a park in Kabul without fear, they they can have their mosque.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
  9. 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 9:07 pm |
  10. La Tuya

    Just use the law of Eminent Domain and take it, for the good of New York residents. The needs of the majority outweigh the needs of the few. An eye for an eye, sayeth the good book. Also, does it have to be 13 stories?

    August 11, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
  11. CamarilloSam

    The powerful Non-Christian U.S. political power has worked for 20 years to prevent Christians from praying in public school because it "violates the separation of church and state". Looks like that same powerful non-christian controlling group of NYwoulld now like to have it both ways. 🙂 Wonder how many congressmen dependant on their election funds will have to look awkward?

    August 11, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
    • hobart

      The most outspoken group in favor of separation of Church and State in my city is a Christian seminary. Thus, your myth is busted.

      August 11, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
    • eaglesays

      hobart, are you gay?

      August 11, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
    • hobart

      No, but thanks for asking. Are you?

      August 11, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  12. ElementEZ

    It is amusing to see the American people so concerned about the construction of a mosque just two blocks from Ground Zero and fall short of being concerned about all the others problems that their country created for itself. America is in debt, broke, Americans are unemployed, losing their jobs, business is bad, what Christians argue is America's low morale, high taxes, very high demands and little supplies, etc. Americans are talking a mouth full of garbage about the same class of people that make their money off American tax payers. Lol. Far too many Americans have a long way to Enlightenment.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:04 pm |
    • eaglesays

      We real americans believe in ourselves, in spite of forigners like you. We still are the economic engine of the world. Sorry if we oppose the USA to become a caliphate.

      August 11, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
  13. hobart

    Wow. This forum is populated by the most racist, judgmental, delusional, xenophobic American-exceptionalism-myth believing idiots in the history of the universe.

    1. The Bible is just as violent as the Qu'ran.

    2. If all you anti-Muslim folks thought about it, even for a second, a Mosque at ground zero is a human shield against future attack on the same site.

    Jerks!

    August 11, 2010 at 9:03 pm |
    • kendallpeak

      Surrender is always a protection against future attack. Return to your people and learn to be a man.

      August 11, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
    • hobart

      Upholding the Consitution of the United States, respecting the rights of ALL Americans, is not surrender. Indeed, do step up and be a man, or at least stop favoring one set of rules for you and your pals, and another for those you don't like.

      August 11, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
    • eaglesays

      What have we done to them? They tried to blow up the WTC in the early 90's. They succeded in 2001. Do you think we americans are stupid? Our patience is not infinite.

      August 11, 2010 at 9:30 pm |
    • kendallpeak

      The US Constitution has been trashed for years by the miltant left. Commen sense and a knowledge of history tell us what the founding fathers had in mind with the Constitution. Instead we have judges telling us the 2nd amendment meant the gov can be armed, the first amendment means no speaking near abortion clinics, it means freedom from religion, no telling children about God and honor but do tell them about deviant sex acts, the hard to find right to privacy means we can kill our young. The list goes on. It is time to return to commen sense, our culture our people. Time to be a man. The Constitution is not a suicide note.

      August 11, 2010 at 9:31 pm |
    • hobart

      The "they" who blew up the WTC are not the "they" who are building a mosque. Just like those who kill abortion doctors are not representative of Christianity.

      August 11, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
    • FrankinNJ

      No, the old testament is as violent. Not the New. Even if you include the book of Revelations, which details the final destruction and redemption of mankind on earth, that is GOD doing the destruction of His enemies, not Christians flying planes into buildings.

      August 11, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  14. erin

    I personally have no problem with the COMMUNITY center being there 1st its 2 blocks away from the WTC not at ground zero, 2nd The WTC location is not the only proposed muslim community center that received protest. If you watch the news from Madison, Wisconsin to Los Angeles, Ca their are protest to stop muslim community center. 3. Its not a mosque but a community center with a mosque inside it.

    Every culture had its prejudices and generalizations based off fears. From the Jim Crow laws, Native Americans relocations, japanese internment camps and the No Irish Need apply signs it just happens. I saw a comment that said if Muslim countries don't allow christian churches in their country why should we allow a mosque in ours? I'd like to think freedom of religion still exist... I'd like to think that our children are being taught that looks, religion, race and culture are significant individuals who practice their beliefs but the acceptance of ALL religions is what makes Americans great. Why sink to their level instead of rise above it. Let them build. They shouldn't have to move.

    Here are the questions we should be asking: Why is it taking so long to build on the site? Why has no memorial or building been built at ground zero?

    August 11, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
  15. buffalogal

    Dude. Get a life. . . . .

    August 11, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
  16. benson

    TERRORISTS WIN!!!

    August 11, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
  17. nomad

    This project is just a front to train their young muslim children to kill non believers (Americans). After all that is what there Coran teaches them to do. What these leaders will is that they will train their young in the religion and identify the weak ones. Those are the ones that are going to be recruited for future terror. This faith in no religion. Any faith that preaches hatred should be driven out of this land.... period and not given the benefit of the doubt. I will never trust a muslin.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
    • Nathalie

      that includes christianity then too though..

      August 11, 2010 at 9:04 pm |
    • yourfriendorenemy

      @nomad:

      "Coran"? "Muslin (sic)"? Yeah – you're a 'nomad' alright.

      August 11, 2010 at 9:04 pm |
    • SickAmerican

      Christianity teaches hate every day. The church tries to teach that any other religion is wrong and that homosexuals are bad. Don't say they don't because I went to a Private Christian Institution for 9 years.

      August 11, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
  18. yourfriendorenemy

    If you are really against the Mosque then DON'T USE A SINGLE DROP OF ARAB OIL FOREVER. OTHERWISE STFU.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
    • eaglesays

      We are trying hard Bufoon!!!

      August 11, 2010 at 9:26 pm |
  19. Maria Ashot

    Anyone who imagines Cordoba was 'a city of religious tolerance' needs to study history... and Islam, Edwin. This particular refrain appears in all kinds of Muslim propaganda. Ditto about "religious tolerance in the Ottoman Empire"... until the day they decided to have a little genocide here and there. FACT: The armies of Mohammed's warriors brutally subjugated conquered lands. Because they did not have quite enough manpower to hold all that territory indefinitely, they used some compliant locals (traitors) to enforce brutal laws that included oppressive taxation. Taxes could be collected in children who were taken as slaves when their parents were too poor to pay. Needless to say, the females of the conquered populations, as well as the young boys, were believed to be property of the conquering forces. In Islam, a woman is only assigned one-half the value of a man (assuming both are Muslims); an infidel woman, however, is only valued if she gives birth to a son who serves Islam. Rape, forced marriage, slavery, systematic inequality and the devaluing of human life (infidels are commonly referred to as 'dogs' in the Qu'ran; dogs, of course, are the lowest of all creatures): THESE ARE THE LEGACIES that the Cordoba Institute seeks to engage in "outreach" with. Outreach = recruitment. Outreach = proseletyzing. Outreach = propagande & misinformation... EDUCATE YOURSELVES. Get a copy of the Qu'ran (Koran) and read it. Bother to learn a little history. It took Spain 700 years to recover their strength from the Muslim conquest to a degree sufficient to drive the invaders out again. Yes, I suppose to a Muslim that would appear to be "intolerant" of the Spanish Queen... But to a woman, and to any non-Muslim, it was LIBERATION. With all the avenues already available to Islamic preachers - online, on campuses etc. - you would think they would have the decency to respect the culture of the victims of their Jihad right here, on the American soil that has given them so much... And also given Saudi Arabia so much, in the form of riches.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
  20. Nathalie

    I'm sorry, I just don't want this backwards, medieval religion in my society. I don't. And I'm not saying any other religion is better, but let's be honest folks...you don't see Buddhists publicly beheading people or stoning women to death in the name of their god.

    Look at every islamic society in the world, and look at every non-islamic society. In which one would you rather live?

    Do you people not realize that there are thousands of muslim clerics and imams out there who honestly believe that everyone who is not a member of their religion is committing a crime simply because of their non belief?

    Let's get it together folks. I don't know about you, but I want this religion kept the heck away from MY kids, that's for sure. Let's not be so darned liberal in our thinking all the time.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • free2comment

      @Nathalie
      this backward medieval Religion built that UFO you are still guessing about that blocked a major part of your Arizona airspace in 1997 and you calling it alien technology...not because it is Evil or Backward or you-pick-a-diss for it, but because you do not speak a single word of Arabic.
      Wanna get in on it, we broke it down for you at the UFO Human Link A page inthe life and if you are handy with a pair of calipers and an oscilliscope we have a job waiting for you start at Building a Mystery and move on to more challenging material, you might find something of interest there to do with medicine, chemistry, earth science, sociology or just a good story or two about Moses.

      August 11, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
    • SickAmerican

      The LRA is a Christian group that has killed millions of people in the name of religion. Don't tell me that Christianity is any better. There are hundreds of radical Christian groups.

      August 11, 2010 at 9:34 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.