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. Rev. Schaeffer

    I, for one, have never seen too many community centers as being one of NY's pressing issues. Holy wars aside, I wouldn't be the one to shake hands with Paterson on a land deal... Want eternal life? Try living under this jamoke's idea of public service. Are we there yet?

    August 11, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  2. whinerh8ter

    Could you imagine a Japanese Shinto shrine being built at Pearl Harbor after WW2? Our grandparents wouldn't have stood for it. My how times have changed for the worse.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  3. cleanupnynow

    I am perplexed that David Paterson would suggest state land for the site. Whatever position one stands on the mosque issue, state land must not be used for its site.

    Once again the incompetent Paterson proves he can not govern. But, then again Paterson could never really govern. “The Democratic Conference: Organizational and Operational Structure Report” is an eyewitness account of Paterson’s DYSFUNCTIONAL governing nature while Senate Minority Leader.


    Paterson’s office was criticized for PATRONAGE, LACK OF LEADERSHIP, INDECISIVENESS and INFIGHTING. Those interviewed in the report indicated that its chief of staff the disorganized Michael Jones-Bey had no management skills, would booze it up with staff, often coming in the office with a hangover, and should be fired.

    Amazingly, for running such a DYSFUNCTIONAL CHAOTIC office, the disorganized Michael Jones-Bey was picked by Paterson to mismanage the Division of Minority & Women Owned Business Development (MWBE) at Empire State Development Corporation.

    Now, that's the Paterson way, being rewarded for your incompetence.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
  4. Habib

    New York no more. New Mecca! Allahu Akbar!

    August 11, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  5. LockandLoad

    Wake up America!!! These people are the devil in sheep's clothing!!! Imagine millions of these people in our country that all decide to wage jihad at the same time, which I would bet is their plan!!! What better way to fight a war when your soldiers are inside your enemy's country before they even know whats coming??? Wake up America, we are the enemy and they are only building up their forces!!! Lock and Load!!!

    August 11, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
  6. new citizen

    This is interesting. Never mind what it really means. Perspective will always be that some muslims (albeit misdirected) tore down the towers and some muslims pursue construction of a mosque in and around this site.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
  7. buddha

    People who talk of iran no nothing. This people do not even belevie that the world existed before their prophet. Iran was under zorostranism. They worshipped fire. Then came this islam which wiped out the beautiful tradition of iranians. The few who did not accept islam ran to india. They sent a cup to the indian king. The king filled it with milk and sent it back to them to tell that the society is saturated. But the migrant zorostrians also called the parsis, added sugar to the milk and sent it back. The ruler was amazed. He accepted the migrants who lost their lands. They retained their identity continued to worship fire and contributed immensely to the indian economy, maintaining their identity and not destroying the local culture and heritage. Rathan tata the builder of nano car belongs to this community.Moral is sweeten the society, do not posion the society.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
  8. Ellie in Ohio

    NOT ME, however... someone will most likely blow up this new "community center" due to the people that blew up the world trade center... just saying, if this group had any respect for the feelings of the American people, they would realize their choice of property to build this building should be changed... yes we are a free country, however the wound done to the American people is too raw for most to see Muslims reaching out to them.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
  9. tiredoff******idiots

    I fail to see the problem here. Not all Musims are terrorists and not all terrorists are Muslim. I look at this as a step forward, for people to see that there are Muslims in this world that want to do right and help rather than hurt. I guess a lot of people can't drop their bigotry and fear of the unknown.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
  10. richsullthan

    It is a very unpatriotic arrogant shameless way to misuse the freedom and liberty given by this great land. Before you exercise your right learn to respect other sentiments. It does not matter if the mosque is moved. It is not going to change a whole lot. The earth will not collapse. But to disrespect the sentiments of victims, who have lost their loved ones is deplorable. No arguments or counter arguments will be able to justify this. It should be remembered that this people lost their loved ones for no fault of theirs.You cannot restore the lives lost, the least as a nation as a duty we can do is to respect their sentiments.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
  11. Jouelle

    Of course they don't want to relocate their mosque. The location of the mosque near ground zero was an intended slap in the face to the dead and their bereaved families. The insensitivity of these people is unbelievable! Following the mosque will be a madrassa where radical imams can groom Islamic youth to be terrorists. If Islam were truely the religion of peace they claim to be the would first speak out against the radical element of their faith, and secondrelocate their intended mosque . No one is trying to deny them their religious freedom.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
  12. Grace

    I truly don't see that the Muslims are trying to make peace for that horrific day of 9/11. If they were really sincere they would respect the people in NYC that have repeatedly stated they don't want a mosque built in that area. So if they do build this mosque, then they are lying to us....this will not help in building a bridge of friendship. So sad because this will just make Americans trust them even less.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
  13. Fred Johnson

    Muslims don't stand up against retarded Taliban animals so I have no intention of being around them. Only in the USA could something so insulting be built. If the shoe was on the other foot all would be shot dead in the name of Islam. I hope someone has the power to blow it up.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:45 pm |
  14. don

    Ummmm.. Correct me if I am wrong but, this is the United States right?..Oh it is! Great then lets let people practice their religion where they wish. Good for the mosque. They should fight for it with the knowledge that there are millions of decent Americans out there that support their right to practice whatever belief they may have wherever they wish. What a powerful statement ot the world that would make if the US can be grown-up enough to follow its own constitution.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
  15. sick and tired

    One nation under God, not Mohamjerk or Budah on Pig. You are guest. If the rules do not work for you leave quietly

    August 11, 2010 at 9:40 pm |
  16. eaglesays

    Islam has no competition. We will take care of them though.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
  17. SickAmerican

    Let's not forget about the genocide happening right now in Uganda by a Christian group, the LRA.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
  18. Kim

    My bet is, if they were offered free land a few blocks further away from the 9/11 site, they still wouldn't take it. This is a statement for them, and we should all ask ourselves what that statement is. A lack of respect for victims of Islamic terrorists, most certainly. A desire to show everyone they can plant themselves right next to the site where thousands of Americans and others lost their lives, whethere they are wanted there or not. Most likely BECAUSE they are not wanted there. If they were truly desirous of fostering unity, they would pick another place a little farther away from ground zero as a sign of respect for victims of Islamic zealots.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  19. Raymond

    Allahu Akbar. Time to take over Wall Street !

    August 11, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
  20. Bruce H

    The new mosque will become a target for radicals of every kind because it is Muslim and because of its location.
    Whichever sect runs the mosque, the other will consider it fair game as they have in the Middle East, the sects attacking each other's organizations including mosques. Radical Christians or atheists or the usual maniacs will attack the mosque.
    It will become a magnet for attacks, and then those killed in attacks on the mosque will become martyrs for Islam.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:30 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.