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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. Big Al

    Will the cultural center being built near the site of where 29 Muslims killed 3000 innocents contain an exhibit of why a nation of 71 million is allowing a woman to be stoned? Will the Muslim cultural center explain why they condone other nations, numbering in the millions, who shoot pregnant women or perform clitoral circumcisions? And why do Muslims believe that they have the right to commit these horrors today because Christians did the same from 60 years 500 years ago? And why won't Muslims answer these questions? In essence, why are they cowards?

    August 12, 2010 at 12:50 am |
  2. vmprophet

    Good for them. Why should they give up the land they bought because of people filled with hatred and ignorance. This is America. You buy something its yours to do with what you like. Someone commented that its hurtful to the 9/11 victims. Really? all of them? even the Muslim ones that died that day going about their business not hurting anybody? Give me a break. This is not about the 9/11 victims, its about the idiocy and ignorance that exists in this country. Its about the sheep who would rather listen to biased and ignorant people on tv, then to actually pick up a book, or go talk to the muslims around them, who have lived among them for years, who have kids going to the same schools as their children and have never done anything to harm anyone and followed their religion peacefully. I will pay money to see this place build exactly where they want it build just so to rub it in the face of all these hateful ignorant people who are against it .

    August 12, 2010 at 12:49 am |
  3. Steve

    Let's look at this situation another way. If you believe the following scenario would have happened without a problem, then a Mosque should be fine.
    Imagine a proposal to build a Japanese community center to teach their beliefs and religion in Pearl Harbor in 1951, and have the grand opening on Dec, 7th 1951. How do you feel that would have gone over?

    August 12, 2010 at 12:49 am |
  4. mike

    Before it opens, somebody will torch the place.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:38 am |
  5. Andy

    There's a church across the street from the site, and a lot of bankers etc in nyc are jewish by family tradition, why the opposition to a mosque? Who cares. This country was founded on tolerance equality and freedom of self.

    – A

    August 12, 2010 at 12:36 am |
  6. Steve

    This is to Dorianna,
    Very well said :). I was in bldg 2 that day, and if they want to not be involved with violence, and they have the balls to choose that day for a grand opening, I can imagine that to avoid it they should keep their a$$es indoors

    August 12, 2010 at 12:35 am |
  7. stephan

    Jemes as a muslim I forgive you for the misinformation. If you are sincere to know about islam I urge you to check it from the muslim sources because what you quoted was just unfounded. The quran says the christians are the closest to the muslims affection. Islam calls the christians and the jews as the people of the book. The word infidel is not an islamic word infact it was used by the catholic church use the word infidel to demonize the muslims. Furthermore the word Jihad does not mean holy war-war is not holy in the quran,but the word jihad means to strive and to struggle to better once life. The word kafir means to cover something(someone who reject the truth of islam is described as a kafir meaning someone who covers the truth) but it does not mean infidel. To conclude lying is a sin in islam. And last but not least The prophet mohamed peace be on him thought us to love and adore jesus and his mother.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:30 am |
  8. Bill from GA

    Those who ask about the funding: look in the mirror. As consumers of 20 to 25 percent of the worlds petroleum, we keep the price of oil high, enabling those who hate us ( also good Canadians, Mexicans, and others) to benefit from the riches we send their way. Evan Iran, who may not get any direct oil money from us, benefits from the high price of oil due to our high consumption. Think about that the next time you fill up your gas hog. Think about the Americans dying to make that part of the world safe.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:26 am |
  9. Nick

    I don't know. They can say all they want that they're just trying to cater to the local folks in the neighborhood, but I see it as them getting the utmost rise out all the feathers they're stirring in this one. Let me ask you this, you honestly think they'd give us a CHOICE of where we wanted to build a baptist church in downtown Baghdad?????? Absolutely not!! Because over there our religion isn't welcomed. But since we're a "free" country, and allow anyone to worship anything they want, then we have to look like the idiots. When will this nation grow some f'n balls and say "Hell no! You WILL NOT build it here, because we said so, and we're American's, and our nation is founded on Christian beliefs, NOT MUSLIM!" Makes me sick. I would have had a different outlook had they accepted this agreement. But at this point, I'm kinda just hoping that within a few years time some militant red necks from deep in the heart of W. Virginia fly a 767 into the god damn thing.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:26 am |
    • peace2all

      @Nick

      And your posting makes you different than the angry and ignorant muslims who flew the planes into the buildings on 9/11.....How exactly.....?

      August 12, 2010 at 1:39 am |
  10. Lord Snooty

    Let's see if the Mosque and it's inhabitants will be as 'tolerant' when the first of many gay groups show up to test it's 'all are welcome' policy. Let's see if women are allowed to swim with men in the swimming pool or will that be segregated too..? Will the public rooms be available for hire for Bat Mitzvahs or Christenings..?
    If they insist on their 'rights' and build this triumphalist insult, I predict a great many lawsuits and civil actions illustrating how 'tolerant' these people really are and hopefully making life very difficult for them in the process.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:25 am |
    • Mike D

      That will happen about the same time I can pray to Allah in Catholic church.

      August 12, 2010 at 2:09 am |
  11. Mike Speakman

    Well if they won't relocate then we should use the building for target practice of our smart bombs.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:20 am |
  12. Maria

    One word in the article does strike home. Insensitivity. Americans seem to be making a noble effort in welcoming and supporting various religions. It would be nice if those wanting to build the mosque on this site could do the same. Right or wrong aside, sensitivity provides a clear answer to this problem. Doesn't religion teach this?
    And, secondly, if Cordoba does build the mosque there, lots and lots of people will get hatred, others will get hurt. If Cordoba will build the mosque some place else, those "lots and lots of people" will be OK. Question I'd ask, what will Cordoba have to lose? One or two miles inland is still in the lower Manhattan, it's not like the majority of muslims there live in the waters immediately offshore by the Twin Towers site.
    My conclusion: This mosques has other reasons behind it. Cordoba needs it there for a reason, way other than building bridges and mending relationships.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:18 am |
  13. Helamau

    I say since the attacks resulted from our support of the Palestinian murdering jews, we bulldoze the nearest synagogue to the site and let them build it there.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:15 am |
  14. Lee Oates

    Reading down through this long list of complaints and realizing how much of it is pure hatred based on religion and race, reminds me of why my spouse and I raised our children as athiest. They are pretty much hate free, like ourselves, and see the whole issue as a symptom of mass insanity and poor programming in childhood.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:10 am |
  15. Pushtoon

    Many more mosques 2 come, like or not this is just the begining

    August 12, 2010 at 12:00 am |
  16. lurker56093

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

    I wont debate religion or political history and I understand that the mayor and the "city leaders" can give the "ok" on new buidings and businesses, but who do they think they are by disregarding the people THEY WORK FOR? The American people pay their wages, city leaders are the employee. Are they above the little people and just do as they choose?
    Do the American people have no say about what happens in their country anymore?? Sadly, that seems to be the cause.
    Public dissent is increasingly becoming overruled. Very scary!

    August 11, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  17. OhMan!

    Of course they declined you dumb a$$ ! The developers of the Muslim community center want to build the mosque where they defeated America! (It is more like, they killed over 2900+ Americans)

    Can the Gov. David Paterson see it?!?!?!?!

    August 11, 2010 at 11:57 pm |
  18. Americanlove

    No more mosques.P Stop the Islamification of America!

    August 11, 2010 at 11:46 pm |
  19. marcm057

    all of you weak gentiles and filthy Liberal Jews here make me sick!!! I hope Muslims enjoy the new victory mosque, In every other place in the world when the Muslims erect a Victory Mosque they do it on the exact site of the important and central cultural symbols they are trying to erase, replace and show they conquered for Islam.

    enjoy !!!!

    August 11, 2010 at 11:45 pm |
  20. MattJP

    Hi everyone! Well I was checking this article out and thought it interesting. Then i read most of the comments. I really have to say, im a bit ashamed at everyone. Why does this have to be about religion? What this is about is the comfortability and ease of mind to the families and friends of 9/11. I mean lets be honest. Is the govenor telling them they have to move for the sole fact of their religion ? NO. He is saying hey, u know we had some extremely bad stuff here by others of your respecting faith, we understand u had or have nothing to do with it, but out of respect to the families, wed like to accomidate u for a move so we keep respecting the people that lost their lives in the tragic accident. Thanks for reading my post! ( I also dont follow any faith , but follow my own beliefs!)

    August 11, 2010 at 11:45 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.