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. Eric Carlson

    Don't take the "government land.” Just ask the Native Americans how well THAT worked out. Be strong and don't let this ugly prejudice break up this country like it has done to so many others. To the complainers, I’m embarrassed to share the same flag as you. You are doing more to instigate hatred and intolerance and violence than any Muslim citizen of this country ever did.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
  2. Rabbi Hoffman

    I support the mosque being built in Lower Manhattan. The idea of giving STATE property to build a mosque, church or synogogue is crazy and a waste of tax paypayer resources. That would solve one church/state debate by creating another church/state problem. Government should not be donating resources for bulding any religion. Let the mosque be built on private property with private resources. The feelings of American-Muslims are no less important than the feelings of the majority or the feelings of 9/11 victims. Every family has experienced death. We are all equals with respect to our dignity.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
  3. Big Joe

    SO why the fuss about this center. I wish these agitators travel outside the US, read some books, and open their eyes. Do you know there was a Japanese Buddhist Temple erected outside of Pearl Harbor? I don't recall any stink about it.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
  4. Curt

    Maybe it's just me, but I don't get the feeling Muslims feel all that sorry about 911. Deep down they feel America had it coming. Plus, their leaders don't seem to be doing anything to stop the violence. In fact, where is the Big Muslim push to denounce terrorism and fanatics ?? It doesn't exist !! These guys are trying to take over. The real question is: Why allow another mosque anywhere in the free world.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
  5. Joseph Kidd

    Sadly, the acts of Muslim extremists, and the inaction of the rest of the Muslims in not truly condemning these acts and the cowards behind them, will most likely lead us to a holy war... muslims against the rest of the world.
    You have probably heard people say "Islam is a peaceful religion". It is peaceful... as long as you are a practicing muslim, of the same sect as those in power, not a woman, not gay, etc. if you are gay/female/non-muslim then you are SOL and they will eventually kill you.
    The more I learn about this "religion", the scarier it becomes.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
  6. JustSickofThis

    I propose that some wealthy ticked off true American purchase the building to the left and to the right of the new mosque and build a gay bar on one side and a fully nude strip bar on the other.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
    • Yvette

      Bars and strip joints are usually where terrorists go before they blow something up. Why make it convenient? Let them walk 2 blocks.

      August 12, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  7. Reality

    Again, the larger issues are the flaws in all religions. For example, quoting single passages from the hallucination and myth-based koran has no meaning with respect to the major flaws and errors of Islam. Some of these flaws:

    1. Belief in "pretty/ugly wingie thingies".

    2. Belief that an hallucinating, illiterate Arab did actually talk to the "pretty Gabriel" in the hot "Gabe" cave and therein received the warmongering and anti-female words and resultant laws now listed in the koran.

    3. That Sunnis are superior to Shiites in all aspects of life. And Shiites think the same way about Sunnis.

    4. That Islam is perfect and the koran inherently condones no sin even though the 24/7, 800 year-old blood feud between Sunnis and Shiites gives significant credence that greed, h-ate, su-icides, assass-inations, ma-iming, and mu-rder are condoned by the koran. Having multiple wives also gives significant credence to the sins of r-ape, a-dultery, l-ust and poly-gamy. The condoned treatment of these wives gives credence that the koran allows the sins of h-atred, an-ger and gree-d.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
  8. ldsmom02

    Like I tried to ask before – Is this mosque all that it is professed to be or as the Savior said "by their fruits ye shall know them" You can't get grapes of thorns or figs of thistles. Is this mosque a thorn masquerading as a grape?

    August 11, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
  9. ldsmom02

    No one wants to punish innocent muslims, but the fact that they refuse to look for another location proves that they have an agenda. Because of what happened we are being forced to entertain ideas we never would have dreamed of a few decades ago. We have been attacked on our own soil. I feel for the muslim community. They must live with these radical people and what they have done. But, in order to be safe, we must make sure that whatever they are doing surrounding that mosque, that the money is clean, the imam is clean and there is no impropriety going on at all. It is unfortunate, but to do otherwise leaves us in a vulnerable position. America is about freedom, but it is also about being compassionate and understanding and tolerant of others. This specific muslim imam is not showing any of those things if he continues with the project in its present location. The Savior said, "Ye shall know them by their fruits." This is nothing but "grapes of thorns" and "figs of thistles." Is this mosque and thorn masquerading as a grape?? He should back down and look for another place out of respect for the dead and their families. It is the right thing to do. The MORALLY right thing to do.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
  10. Stephen

    If you do not want a mosque built on the site then I think it best to pour pigs blood all over the site. Fill it up with pork products. If you do not like my comments I really do not care. You are in America, not the middle east.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
  11. cnn1bigjoke

    Not to worry. The U.S. has their own extremists as well...build it, and they will come.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:19 pm |
  12. watchman

    If you carefully look throughout history, Muslims have always built a mosque on the spot where they either conquered people or "won" a battle. If you read the WHOL Quar'an, they place these mosques as a reminder of conquering their victim(s). Look through your history books if you don't believe me. They should be able to build this building where they want to when other religions can build their buildings right in the heart of Mecca. It sounds mean, but history is about to repeat itself!

    August 11, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
  13. Karen

    Litmus test: Offer free land to build Muslim mosque on instead of near 9/11 site. Result? Big fat FAILURE!! REAL reason for building Mosque not for peace but for sign of victory over America! If it does get downed, I will NOT sympathize with the muslim INFEDELS, but celebrate with the true Americans who are unwilling and unyeilding to these TYRANTS! If they truely wanted peace, they would MOVE in PEACE and quit pounding the U.S. to get their way!

    August 11, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
  14. J

    I say we just build a huge statue of Bin Laden on the world trade cntr. site!!!!!!!!

    August 11, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
  15. Tony V

    How about they take the $100 million and use it to feed the poor and hungry. If you are truly Muslim I think that would be a better use of the proposed Mosque money.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  16. charles

    New York exists to change. If you don't like it, don't visit.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  17. Jan Cohen

    Building this center as it's currently planned: naught but a catalyst?
    (...or thoughts on breaking the cycle of hate)

    You know, though I'm not for building this center at the specified location simply because of the potential for exasperation, if the American people (that includes American Muslims) really wanted to show some sort of solidarity in the building of this center, we would build a multi-faith center instead of one strictly geared toward Islam, and staff it with prominent (American) religious leaders from each of the faiths it would represent. Seems like that would be the most prudent thing to do in light of its proximity to the World Trade Center site, as well as the sensitivity surrounding the issues. I'm not sure how ready Americans (again, that includes Muslims) are to consider such a proposal, nor how ready those from the various faiths are (Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindi, Buddhists, etc.), but it may be the only hope we have of salvaging what's left of the premise(s) upon which this nation was built. Anything less, especially the building of a strictly Islamic facility, and the risk of the escalation of hostilities toward each other will surely be magnified.

    Such is and has been the way of the world , and is dictated by human nature.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
  18. Jemes

    Wherever Islam conquer, they have a minaret or symbol that signifies the event. The mosque near the former WTC is just another attempt in that direction using a policy of Taqiya. The problem with Islam it is not a religion. It is a quasi-religious political movement that dream of world dominance, as the so called prophet dreamed of revelations under some narcotic influence, I guess. Who knows? The prophet himself was a desert robber, married an under-aged girl, and killed thousands of people for their faith. His hatred for Jews, Christians and infidels made me think him as a monster. His principle of Taqiya (Fool the infidels if the infidels are large in number) is one of his main holy war ideology. I don't believe such a monster should be called a prophet. or messenger of peace. I think he was a dangerous robber and would have been hanged or shot by firing squad, had he been alive today. What liberty for a race, that consider half of its population like animals? Why should any body should think about liberty of a cult that practice dogmatism, racism(Kafir), and inhuman treatment to women and children? If the mosque is really a healing touch, then why the messengers of peace insist on having it near the WTC, when thousands of relatives of victims oppose it and call it a slap on their face?

    August 11, 2010 at 11:02 pm |
  19. Ahmed Proud

    The real threat to the US are not Muslims by any means. Not only they contribute well to the society, but they are much more aware of the beauty of this country, cause they have seen else. The treat are the individuals who go up on national TV, and provoke seeds of hate against millions of people. As for the Sharia law, many Muslims (probably about %99) think that it's straight out dumbness, including myself. Take Turkey, a place for 75 million people. They are %99.9 Muslims. They do not have Sharia law, and they are NOT even talking about that. They do not want that at all. It's a huge LIE to create a FAKE issue, and act like there's this danger on the US, and trying to get into the minds of the weak.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:54 pm |
  20. rene

    I am sure the upstanding city officials and others are getting some nice kickacks to support the center, or death threats. Why else would anyone that truly loves NY and our country have so little conviction to allow this. It is a disgrace to those that died, were injured and were left behind after MUSLIM'S attacked our country.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:54 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.