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. Ron2158530

    Visit http://WWW.FAITHFREEDOM.ORG about islam before defending it. Muslims must face mecca when they pray. If there is a muslim astronout on the spacecraft in the mission to Mars, where he/she should face to when praying. The earth is rotating and orbiting the Sun, as well as Mars and other planets. Confused! Hahaha... That is not even from other solar system than ours. Islam is the fake teaching religion. Use common sense before worshiping Allah/Mohammad.

    August 12, 2010 at 5:54 am |
  2. Mike

    How many blocks or how many miles does the respect of 911 victoms exist ? . What a pathatic logic from a people who can not see beyond their nose. We must help the moderate mojority to overcome violent minority of muslim religion. We can not win this by fighting 1 billions people pushing them to other camp. Come on guys think of your children future. How many of you know a muslm person, are all of them look like terrorist ?

    August 12, 2010 at 5:33 am |
  3. rally

    Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another. No one has any right, nor any preference to claim over another. You are brothers. (Final Sermon of Muhammad)

    August 12, 2010 at 5:08 am |
  4. stephen

    The BIGOTS are the ones shoving this obscenity down the throat of NYC. This is about Islamic conquest of the West and whether we have a clue what is being done to us. The goal of Islam is to eliminate all other faiths, philosophies and secular forms of government. This suicidal political correctness of the useful idoits running this country makes me want to puke.

    August 12, 2010 at 4:53 am |
  5. ObamaBinBiden

    Let's see...destroy a building and put a mosque over the site...didn't cause any problems in Jerusalem did it?

    August 12, 2010 at 4:48 am |
  6. Missy

    Anyone has a right to build anything that meets the requirements of the law. However, as a religious entity, you would think these folks would have more compassion and sensitivity toward those in pain. In addition to the indifference toward the feelings of those personally affected by 9/11, there are a couple of other things that give me pause about the center being built.

    Regardless how "good" the intention of the developers, I feel that extremist Muslims both here and especially abroad will rejoice in the project not because of any bridge-building wonderfulness but because they'll see it as a big F-U slap in the face of the victims (both New Yorkers and Americans in general) - AGAIN.

    Secondly, since this is to be a facility open to the public, I want to be sure that if it's built, women - Muslim and non - are treated equally when using the facilities. If there's a swimming pool open to the public, will women be able to swim in it and to wear normal, non mummy-like swimsuits when they do? Just one example, but if this is to be a bridge-building endeavor and open to all, women better not be treated like second class citizens.

    August 12, 2010 at 4:42 am |
  7. Ron2158530

    Hi Friends,

    Islam is a violence ideology, not a religion. There is no peace teaching in Quran/Koran, all about killing and barbaric acts. Visit http://WWW.FAITHFREEDOM.ORG about the truth about islam. This website will rescue muslims from being brain-washed by islam if they are willing to open their mind. I hope someday islam will be peacefuly vanished by educating our fellow muslims about this satanic teaching. The earth life will be like heaven once islam is gone forever. Imagine that!

    peace to mankind,

    August 12, 2010 at 4:31 am |
    • Ali

      Islam is nothing else but the truth. May Allah guide you!

      August 12, 2010 at 4:47 am |
    • Ali

      Please make a thorough study on Islam and learn about the efforts of peace agreements that Prophet Muhammad made with the neighboring Jews and people of Makkah and also the prayer of Prophet Abraham in Auran, who prays about peace before praying about anything.
      Please promote authentic sources, not propaganda.

      August 12, 2010 at 4:52 am |
    • Ali

      Correctionfor above: "Prophet of Abraham in Quran"

      August 12, 2010 at 4:55 am |
    • Ali

      Correction: "of Prophet Abraham in Quran"

      August 12, 2010 at 4:57 am |
  8. tempest

    After reading all of the comments its amazing to see all of you brainwashed. What you read in the media is what you believe. Like 1 commenter says. Pick up the Quaran and read it yourself to understand. It is not Believe,Convert,Practice or die. I myself am a Musilm and probably like many Muslims know more about and have read the books of other religions to come to respect other religions. It sickens me to see humanity has come to hate Islam when U the people of a great country are tought not to stereo type but are doing it very vell and are teching other countries as well. Trying to push your beliefs and law to other countries forcefully trying to kill off cultures. Binladdens beliefs are not the beliefs of all. We are peacefull people. We did not slautter over 100K people for 1 mans belief and lies. Let us the peacefull ones live in peace. Especially in our holly time. So what if the Mosque is built, What do you fear?. Conversion?

    August 12, 2010 at 4:30 am |
    • Ron2158530

      Without kaffir/non-muslims technologies and civilization, muslims life will suffer. Can muslims live without computer/internet, cellphones, TVs, cars, planes, and many great things? Even Taliban and Al-Qeada use western made weapons. What a hypocrite!
      Visit http://WWW.FAITHFREEDOM.ORG about islam before defending it. Muslims must face mecca when they pray. If there is a muslim astronout on the spacecraft in the mission to Mars, where he/she should face to when praying. The earth is rotating and orbiting the Sun, as well as Mars and other planets. Confused! Hahaha... That is not even from other solar system than ours. Islam is the fake teaching religion. Use common sense before worshiping Allah/Mohammad.

      August 12, 2010 at 6:12 am |
  9. Ali

    Allah has taken the responsibility for the protection of Quran. Since its revelation 1400 years ago not a single letter or a word has been changed.
    Jesus is prophet of Allah. Bible is not in its original form. People have been making changes to it which is still being continued.

    August 12, 2010 at 4:26 am |
  10. Kam

    I hope all of you against this project remember this the next time some developer or some company tries to build something on Native American lands, because that has happened time and time and again, and I'm not talking about things in the past although our Mt. Rushmore is pretty blatant in its disrespect of the Black Hills.

    August 12, 2010 at 4:21 am |
  11. david

    wealthy saudi arabians have many websites to push their propaganda and many of these comments are to persuade americans to allow this mosque. "its job creation" " freedom for all" and yes if they really are tolerant then why do they kill christians in their muslim countries? they would never allow a christian church near Mecca. Their 'holy' books encourage deceiving the enemy in anyway possible. The Cordoba initiative is named after the cordoba mosque in spain where mulsims took over a christian center and built a mosque on top of a church. the cordoba mosque, and to be friendly they want the mosque near WTC and to open on 9/11/11 .

    for all the doufus who say that religion is to blame, i respectfully call you a block head that didnt study religion. if they are all causing trouble then tell me about salvation army, world vision, compassion international, world concern , canadian food for the hungry etc, christians helping the poor and dying. its interesting that those who mock christians will not admit of the good ,

    try using more of your brain next time, yes some religions are destroying, but as far as I can see, Christians are feeding and helping. Christians dont kill if someone turns to muslim but in muslim countries they kill those who convert to christianity.

    August 12, 2010 at 4:21 am |
  12. Steve

    The fact that they turned down the offer co incides with the fact that Muslims set up Mosques to claim victory at the sites they attack. To say that the Mosqu is meant to "heal" is like saying a giant statue of Hitler in front of the Hollocost Museum, or displaying the Enola gay at ground zero in Hiroshima are "healing" acts. Only a true fool would believe such a lie. How about a 300 ft. tall bronze of the crusaders on horsback slaying muslims in the center of Mecca. Maybe that will help the healing process LOL??

    August 12, 2010 at 4:01 am |
  13. Richard

    I just learned the real meaning of "The freedom of religion"

    August 12, 2010 at 3:51 am |
  14. Richard

    I don't watch CNN or Fox , ABC, NBC or ....they are all owned by one group and you know who..., so I say this, don't bring your fight to my backyard (continent), just keep it way away, far, far, away.... Thank you

    August 12, 2010 at 3:42 am |
  15. brian

    If a radical group of jews blew up a mosque 10 years ago and than someone decided to put a synagogue a few blocks away, there would be a uproar. In fact alot of people supporting this center would take offence and demand that it not be built as well as protest how insensitve it would be.......

    August 12, 2010 at 3:23 am |
  16. gossipgirl88

    So what it sounds like is sort of like a YMCA? I know at the Y, they have a general "Christian" feeling, but nothing over the top. In fact, lots of Jewish, Hindi, and Muslim people go to ours. So I guess if this was something like that open to everyone as a community center, it's OK. Also, I'm sure there are lots of Muslims who are very opposed to terrorism. I'm Christian, but very much would like to distance myself from the right-wing whack jobs and I know Mormons who want to distance themselves from the people with all the 17 year old wives in Texas.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:51 am |
  17. NightShadow1

    Are there people out there protesting that there should be no Government building built around the WTC site because they believe the government was behind the attacks? Just wondering. And are some of them protesting this Mosque being build even though it goes against what they believe?

    August 12, 2010 at 2:49 am |
  18. Obumbler

    Will Obama be there to worship with his muslim brothers?

    August 12, 2010 at 2:45 am |
  19. Obumbler

    Can't wait till they get the homosexual bar right next to the mosque. The muslims will love it.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:43 am |
  20. Lori

    Scott H, I do believe you do not know many facts of Sadaam. In 1999, He used Napalm on his own people in the Marsh Arab territory, years after gassing the Kurds and Iran, he decimated the marsh area displaced and killed more than half of their population. The Human Rights Watch group pleaded with Clinton to intervene for years he was too busy with Monica. It was reported for some time what Sadaam was doing, including an extensive research piece in National Geographic. Everyone knows Sadaam was a hethenistic murderer with torturous, murdering, rapist sons, just facts check them. He was a ticking time bomb. The women in Iraq for the first time in their lives have a voice, if you wish to try to create consipracy out of all that truth then you are more than half blind.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:41 am |
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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.