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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. Anita

    I saw Pataki on tv yesterday and he suggested that the reason for the concern is that there is no transperancy regarding the funding. If the concern was merely related to funding then it shouldn't be okay to build the community center anywhere. These people have a right to worship however they see fit, and have a community center and wherever they can afford to put it. Christians weren't the only ones who died on 9/11 and their families aren't the only ones that were affected by this tragedy..

    August 11, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  2. fearedman

    All muslims are not terrorrists. Unfortunately all terrorists are muslims. Therefore, i don't see any thing wrong in protesting against this center which might become a different center in future!

    August 11, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
  3. Dave G

    I say we open a Bar-B-Q right next door. The house should serve pork and lets see how tolerant they become. I find this wrong and just more P.C. crap.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
  4. DB

    We always were and will always be a nation of fascist, bigoted xenophobes. Its that simple.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:48 pm |
  5. Frederick Barberossa

    I hope ears and noses getting chopped off and public stonings aren't coming also. WEEEEEHHHH!!!!!

    August 11, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
  6. Yorker

    It is surprising that the Mosque committee wants to build an Islamic center right across the street from the World Trade Center site where 3000 people died as a direct result of Islamic terrorists, even when the vast majority of New Yorkers and Americans disapprove of it. And all in the name of building bridges. With whom? Americans or Islamic terrorists across the world who hate the United States and would like to see it destroyed?

    Lower Manhattan encompasses several square miles and to serve this large area they could have located the mosque a mile or two away and still serve the area. Apparently that does not seem to be their goal and neither is building bridges!

    August 11, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Not to mention in an earlier article said that the building that was previously located at that site was damaged by the landing gear of one of the planes, and had to be demolished.

      August 11, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
  7. Voice of Reason

    Anyone who doesn't think that the LOCATION of this mosque is at least a bit insensitive, is either an idiot or a Muslim extremist. The attacks of 9/11 are one of the most important events in the history of the modern world, and to deny that fact is to proclaim your ignorance. Therefore, there is no one (especially persons in the position to purchase and construct a 100 million dollar Islamic religious facility) who is unaware of the tragic events that unfolded and their impact on Muslim/Westerner relations. Furthermore, these people would be well aware that those events happened very close to their proposed construction site. In America, we have to deal with an enormous amount of political correctness and cultural sensitivity- Why that doesn't apply to this situation I will never know.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:44 pm |
  8. Carlton

    It's absolutely amazing, Americans making deals with killers? Tell them if the Saudi Arabian government allows us to build a Christian Church next the Mecca, we'll allow them to build a Mosque near Ground Zero. Most American don't want this, but our weak, hypocritical, money-hungry politicians do. So what else should we expect!!!

    August 11, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
  9. ludoc

    This is the United States. We're supposed to be an open society. This country is strong because of its diversity. We should be able to differentiate between people who want to live, work, and worship alongside eachother and those who want to blow us up. I watched the towers fall in a call room with a Muslim. He cried. Most Muslims are no more like the terrorists than Christians are like those who participated in.. say... the witch trials (to pick something US rather than all the Christian killing in Europe over the centuries)

    The new Trade Center will be a terrorist target, and these Muslims will be in harms way just like everyone else in the area. Let them build.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Just because a Muslim living in New York cried on 9/11 doesn't mean that this mosque should be built. His or Her tears (along with the tears of Millions of other Americans) won't make up for the images on the news channels of "World Cup"-Esque celebration in many Muslim countries at the same time. THAT IS WHY IT IS INSENSITIVE.

      August 11, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
    • ludoc

      A bunch of extremists attacked American innocents because they didnt like the actions of our poiticians. Now you want to punish a group of innocents for the acts of extremists . Sounds like racism in response to terrorism. Can't we do better?

      August 11, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
    • ldsmom02

      The new trade center (which will probably never be built) will not be a target any more than that mosque will be one. The targets now are on a much more subversive level. Radial muslims are infiltrating our neighborhoods and communities and they will continue to do so and you will not be able to tell who is good or bad until it is too late. And there is nothing we can do about it. They are using our freedoms to fight against us and we are falling for it hook line and sinker. Which is what America is going to be doing once they get ahold of us – SINK into ruins.

      August 11, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
    • Al

      Idsmom02, do you have facts to back up your allegations or you are you just paranoid?

      August 12, 2010 at 2:59 am |
    • Yvette

      The problem is the Iman has links to Hamas. Don't think N.Y. or the rest of America should fight tooth and nail to build a mosque with terrorist money in the name of our Constitution!!

      August 12, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  10. CA

    Good luck getting this place built. There is now a grassroots movement of construction workers in NYC and nationally who have agreed to not touch this project! I can't recall the website's name but it's something like bluecollar___.com

    August 11, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
  11. E

    Get rid of those Muslims. Send them back to their countries!!!

    August 11, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
    • Al

      You need more human contact. Come out into the world and join the human race. It'll do you a lot of good.

      August 12, 2010 at 2:55 am |
  12. Nik Kripalani

    I am a proud Hindu. I resent all comments about my religion. You don't know what I went through after 9/11, Hindus were getting beaten up and Christan's trying to get us to believe in Jesus Christ as a saint? I told you guys I believe in Bagavan Krishina, and Pamahansa Yonganda. Stop giving Hindus a bad name. Stop instilling fear in my family. I am glad Muslims are buliding a Mosque for Peace and Unity near ground zero. If you had be in India when the Mumbai attacks happened, think how you would feel? HINDUS are Sick and Tired and will not be pushed around Stand Up Hindus and beat back fear into those who would rather you practice their religion then your own. Grew up Hindu in America and will always be Hindu. I should stuff a Spicy Samosa in Christans mouths and then they would understand how Hindus feel. Maybe put in that Ghost Chile.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  13. Bayousara

    Islam desires to take over the world. Isn't this pretty well known? They are sure doing a good job in the United States. A mosque on every corner.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
    • Al

      You've been playing too many video games.

      August 12, 2010 at 2:53 am |
  14. M&M

    Islam is clearly the modern day slavery. They enslave their people and especially their women! No wonder they have to come to Western Countries to get educated. They don't want their people, especially women to be educated. And it's a shame that the ones who know better are afraid to stand up because of fear of death. Islam is a very sad and depressing religion.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
    • Guest

      That's why a woman was priminister of Pakistan.

      August 11, 2010 at 11:18 pm |
    • Al

      Be sure to get back on your medications.

      August 12, 2010 at 2:52 am |
  15. moses

    The muslims are building this so that someone will blow it up and create a national incident, and who do you think will benefit from this incedent. They have already demonstrated that they place no value on HUMAN LIFE !!!!!!!

    August 11, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  16. Tim

    LET me tell all my American brothers HOW I was treated in Saudi Arabia as a American citizen for the month I was there ! ! ! AS I walked down THEIR streets and COMMUNITYS I was HATED WITH THEIR EYES AND STARES AND TALK AS IF THEY WANTED TO SLIT MY THROAT, Never in 26 other countrys in 25 years was I ever looked upon like that before EVER

    August 11, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  17. Tommie

    The site of the terrorist attack is very important for the Iman to help recruit for moderate Islam. In 2004 he wrote a book describing his plans –

    -"A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11"

    Sad to think of radical muslims from all around the world gloating over the grave from the penthouse prayer room. So much for the Libs. Plus dhimmis like Bloomberg.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  18. 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 10:16 pm |
  19. Ralph Boch

    Bigotry and hatred of Islam disguised as "sensitivity". Pure and simple.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  20. Michael

    Religious equality was provided for in the Constitution for any religion within Christianity, Muslims are welcome guests, but toleration is the limit of the extent of their place. We should not give them run of the country, especially when mosques are traditionally built around places of Islamic conquest.

    Here's a proposition, you can have your mosque, if we can build a Christian cathedral in Baghdad and mosul.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
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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.