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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. Mike in NYC

    ML - Is the group building it an open supporter of terrorist acts? August 11, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Well ML, for those of us IN NYC the location of this site IS an issue. And I'm sorry ... but if you weren't HERE on 9/11 you just don't get it – and never will (count yourself lucky in that respect)!!!!!

    The biggest concern of many that I know is WHERE the money is coming from to build this "community center." When asked who or what organization is providing the funding Sharif El-Gamal (the developer) becomes irritated that anyone even DARE to ask that question. I think it is a fair question. If an organization that has ties (either direct or indirect) to terror groups then the people need to know that.

    Now please don't anyone start spouting off about me being a racist or making comparisons to militias or the KKK. I can assure you that there would be plenty of opposition if someone suggested building a white supremacist "community center" or a shrine to David Duke in Oklahoma City 2 blocks from the Federal Building!

    August 12, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  2. Jack

    Undignifed, the ad. Even though I am opposed to a mosque.

    We, as Americans, should not act like this!

    August 12, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  3. Sharon Ohio

    Muslims died on 9/11 along with many other religions. The OK bombing was an "American" If Muslims are denied their rights who will be next? Basic rights belong to ALL Americans, including Muslims. I'm not Muslim but I would defend their rights any time. Terrorists may be Muslims but all Muslims are NOT terrorist. Be careful what freedoms you want to deny your group may be next.

    August 12, 2010 at 11:43 am |
    • JMcTigue

      Right-on!

      August 12, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  4. rahm

    mosque should not be built unless quoran is being revised to remove elements of violence and terristic acts suggested and preached by prophet muhammed to covert others to islam. when it is done and moderates arfe produced in 2 generations of muslim, then only mosques should be allowed to be constructed. muslim imams can not produce moderates unless their holy book is revised for preacing peace.

    August 12, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  5. Mauro

    Why do people keep saying " across the street from the WTC", when they know it's not the truth, or are they create their own truth. What I find funnier than hell is that their is a porn shop closer than the proposed mosque, but no outrage. These fanatics can't make up their minds.

    August 12, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  6. Abodame99

    isn't there already an islamic center near ground zero? what would it matter is there is another one?

    August 12, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  7. B

    They should be able to builld the mosque where they want to build it. People should remember that there were Muslims who died in the 9/11 attack also. Islam is not the problem, fantatical Muslims are the problem. Not all Muslims are terrorists. It is embarrassing to me as a citizen of this country to see the hate spewed here against people of faith who want to serve their congregation where they live and work. This country was founded on the basis of religious freedom and to see people willing to curtail the freedom of one faith because of a misguided notion that all Muslims are bad and responsible for 9/11 is troubling.

    August 12, 2010 at 10:53 am |
  8. neil jamil

    What people do not understand is that if you leave the radical muslims alone they (the muslims) will not leave you alone. They are on a mission to make the whole world muslim. If Sauadi ARabia was the world super power today instead of USA, there will be no human on this planet that is not converted by force to Islam. Muslims are increasing their influnce in the west by giving birth to more children than they can feed so one day they can control these countries who believe in fair and just elections. They will teach their kids from the moment of their birth to hate the west and to vote for pro muslims representatives so they can control the political process. I say to the USA and the west.. wake up before it is too late.

    August 12, 2010 at 10:09 am |
  9. cindy

    It always amazes me how full of hate people can be. I have an idea, lets kill people with KINDESS. Lets try being open and friendly, accepting of other. Lets not generalize, and lump a few wayward muslims in to the whole group.
    It would seem to me that all this negativity is no different, then any crazy right wing muslim screamin Jihad.
    Muslims are not the boogymen they are made out to be, the sooner people start to realize that I think the better off we will all be.
    THe people building this centre are not responsible for 9/11 and should not be in anyway made to feel so
    I am unsure how anyone can think excluding this building from the area is in anyway honoring the dead, to me it just makes the loss that much more tragic, as it erodes the values that I always thought AMerica was meant to be built on. That of which the terroists were meant to be attacking, and despise so much.
    But those are just the thought of a easy going peac loving neighbor from the north.
    Let go of the hate.

    August 12, 2010 at 10:05 am |
    • Joe

      Dear Naive' Cindy, you cannot respond with kindness to people who want to kill you and everything your stand for. While you're killing them with kindness, they're flying planes into buildings, murdering innocent people, and trying to subjugate the whole world to their warped ideology. If you were around in 1939, would you have sent Hitler flowers and box of chocolates?

      August 12, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
  10. b1caez02

    Mohamed dictated his crap to his secretary, who wrote what 'He" wanted to have read by the ignorant masses...Mohamed could not read. He was a nutter. He bastardized the early Hebrew and Roman Catholic religions, and like brother Smith, he went to the "bush" and had a revelation. Constantine did much the same thing around 320 ACE...he rounded up all of the most able bodied/minded pro-mono-theists of the day to sort through the mess of documents passing themselves off as "Christian." Religions are shams, they have been created out of ideas conjured up by the bully boys of the day to keep the dumb masses in their place...then they started to believe it themselves. Later in the middle ages everyone was falling all over themselves to come up with a "new and improved" set of tenets to live by. God or whatever we call "him/her" is the greatest IDEA ever thought up...heard that somewhere recently. Its all b.s., an effort by some to keep their finger on the ignorant masses and reap a harvest in the interim.

    August 12, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  11. Cletus

    It's a shame the Muslims declined this peaceful offer to avoid further bloodshed and loss of human life. So be it.

    August 12, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  12. james

    The law is on their side. That is all it matters.

    August 12, 2010 at 7:11 am |
  13. Mike

    I constantly read people's comments here inquiring as to the missing "moderate muslim voice". I propose that there this moderate moice doesn't exist, not an any meaningful way. I have seen the cult of muslim in action first hand and I will tell you that I am significantly less than impressed. I've treated the young boys that are taken on the road by afghan truck drivers and repeatedly raped for months on end. My brothers in arms are ambushed by the so-called moderate muslims while on patrol with them in iraq and afghanistan. There is simply no excuse for these people, their values or their hate-filled religion. I propose to you the following question, if the Arayan Brotherhood declared itself a religion and wanted to build a "community center" near ground zero, would you support that as well???

    August 12, 2010 at 7:08 am |
  14. Joe

    I can remember another "gathering place" used by 19 Muslims nine years ago just a few blocks away. As I recall, that gathering didn't go so well for roughly 3,000 innocent people.

    August 12, 2010 at 7:04 am |
    • Pia

      They were extremists like the CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS. They make up a SMALL portion of the MUSLIM POPULATION. There MUSLIMS IN ALL OVER THE WORLD NOT JUST IN THE MIDDLE-EAST.

      MUSLIMS DIED ON 9/11 WHO WERE IN THE TOWERS.

      THIS IS NYC THE MELTING POT!

      August 22, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  15. JERALD BELL JR

    PEACE AND BLESSING BE UPON EVERYONE. I SERVE OUR COUNTRY HONORABLY AND AGAINST ALL BAD DEEDS. BUILDING A MOSQUE IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR MANKIND. I JUST WANTED TO MAKE ONE THING AS CLEAR AS I CAN, BUT FIRST AND FOREMOST MY CONDOLENCES TO OUR LOSES DURING THE 9/11 ATTACK. FURTHERMORE, THE ATTACK WAS NOT AN ATTACK FROM ISLAM IT WAS AN ATTACK FROM INDIVIDUALS WHO CHOOSE TO DO SOMETHING UNLAWFUL (HARAM). LET US NOT FORGET THAT MANKIND WAS ATTACKED ON 9/11, THERE WERE BROTHERS AND SISTERS FROM MANY DIFFERENT RELIGIONS INCLUDING ISLAM. I HOPE ALL FIND IT IN YOUR HEARTS TO ACCEPT DIFFERENT WAYS OF LIFE AND RELIGIONS IF YOU ARE NOT A MUSLIM, AND THIS INCLUDES ALL MUSLIMS ALSO. PEACE AND BLESSING BE UPON EVERYONE, AND MAY ALLAH BLESS US ALL IN STOPPING THESE RADICALS FROM TARNISHING ISLAM IN AMERICA. THANK YOU FOR READING.

    August 12, 2010 at 6:53 am |
    • Pia

      Peace to you too. I wish this controversy would end already. I honestly feel all who are opposing this CULTURAL CENTER are BIGOTS that don't attend any CHRISTIAN CHURCH because JESUS did not advocate HATE.

      August 22, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  16. Eric

    Can you imagine the Japanese building something in Pearl Harbor in 1946? Absolutely not! Because that's back when Americans weren't cowards. We allow ourselves to get trampled on by our elected officials. Every muslim in the country should be cowering in holes, not building their crappy mosques on the site of the murder of innocent Americans.

    August 12, 2010 at 6:39 am |
  17. Noah

    Let 'em build it. I'm sure eventually some suicide bomber will come along and blow it up in the name of some pathetic religion (take your pick, as all religions are just plain ignorant).

    August 12, 2010 at 6:17 am |
  18. Peter

    Building a Mosque near ground zero is incredibly insensitive. The best response is to build a gay bar next to The Mosque, since this is about tolerance. I do tolerate that, but ragheads won't.

    August 12, 2010 at 6:09 am |
  19. Dr. Mabuse

    All religions are ridiculous. And lest you think I'm intolerant by saying this, I actually TOLERATE the ridiculousness of all religions. Tolerance doesn't mean I still don't have my opinion, in this case that they're all ridiculous.

    The muslim builders of this mosque are wrong to build it so close to Ground Zero.

    August 12, 2010 at 6:08 am |
  20. Tom

    I went to school at PS 191 in Queens. When John Kennedy was shot the Jewish Principal asked us all to say a prayer for him in 1963, we all bowed our heads and said a prayer in our own religious faith. That is the strength of our country. We tolerate different religious beliefs. The question here is whether these guys are terrorists or support terrorism. Evidence may indicate that they might. Where are they getting the money to do this? Who is funding them? Do they support terrorist organizations that advocate the destruction of this country? If they do why are we letting them do this? If not, they have every right to be where they want to practice their faith.

    August 12, 2010 at 6:07 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.