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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. Jon

    The same Muslims who desire a mosque at ground zero would take everyone else's rights away in a second. Islam is using civil rights and 'multiculturalism' as a Trojan Horse to spread Islamic hegemony in the West. I know, because I've read the many pamphlets by Imams urging Muslims to do so.

    And all they need are Westerners who hate their own culture enough to help them do it.

    August 12, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  2. mercedes

    it is a slap to AMERICA, our country, and our people, to allow Muslims to build on that site! Never mind, to allow these "ARABS" to take over our countries like they are doing all over the world. WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR SOCIETY TODAY THAT THEY ARE AFRAID TO SAY NO TO THESE TERRORISTS!

    August 12, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  3. K

    Who ever paid for these adds should have given their money to the families and businesses that lost people and money because of 9/11

    August 12, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  4. ninarad

    Islam is against the constitution of America. In Islam there is no separation of church and state. Islam is a political and religious organizations. Mosques are tools used to spread the political and religious ideology.

    August 12, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  5. Joe

    Sadly what this boils down to is pure ignorance. It doesn’t matter what your political affiliation is, left wing or right wing, or right down the middle. It doesn’t matter what your religion is or if you have no religion at all. Ignorance… A religion didn’t attack us on 9/11 some very evil men did. When a Christian attacks an abortion clinic or abortion doctor do Americans blame the whole Christian religion? When McVeigh carried out his terrorist attack did the nation turn on Christianity? It is pure ignorance folks… The site is already used to hold prayers; they just want to make a community center out of it, a place to enrich the lives of the Muslims in that area.

    I am saddened by many Americans. I have fought to protect the freedoms of these people with multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and I come home to see that many want to take away others freedoms. It is time for learning for many Americans before the ignorance leads to far worse things.

    August 12, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
    • JMcTigue

      Thanks for your service to our country over seas in combat, and your service here at home as citizen voicing truth where it is needed.

      August 12, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  6. Dave

    "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.
    "THERE YOU HAVE IT !
    These Muslims aren't interested in anything but themselves. They want Americans to be "tolerant and show compassion" to them, But THEY REFUSE to be considerate of Americans.
    All you here from them is "we are misunderstood". Is that why the Germans closed down a mosque in Germany? They are misunderstood, NO the Terrorists planned the attacks there!
    Stop them NOW! America wise up.
    Listen to the way the reporter talks to both people in the video. She accommodating to the muslim but antagonistic to the New Yorker who put the ads on the buses.
    This is reality! These Muslims have no intention of getting along with Americans!

    August 12, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • JMcTigue

      First of all, they are Americans.
      Secondly, if you read the entire article you would have noted their reason for not accepting the new location.
      I quote: ["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.]

      August 12, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  7. Sebastien

    What about the wishes of the Muslim families that died on 9/11. You do know that there were muslims who died in the two towers. Not everyone who worked in the World Trade Center was a Christian.

    And if building that mosque is an injustice. I want the Catholic Churches torn down for their refusal to condemn child molesters and assassins who kill Doctors in the name of Christ.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  8. jamil

    Sounds like a bunch of terrorist to me against the proposal to build a mosque. Look up the definition of terrorism and most the politicians and KKK and other racist groups are the only ones to oppose the construction of the mosque. Educated people who know better not to give into the brainwashing of the media and the racist forces againt islam. Islam did not attack the world trade center a few people did that were mentally challenged. Don't forget many muslims died in the world trade center too , what about their grief and agony? The mosque will be built 2 blocks from the WTC so the families that are racist against muslims don't have to go there and look at it, its not going to be on the WTC site but 2 blocks from it and NYC thats far!!!! SERIOUSLY PEOPLE NEED TO GROW A BRAIN AND BLAME THE FEW INDIVIDUALS OF THE CRIME THAT WAS COMMITTED AND NOT 1.5 BILLION PEOPLE. IF WE WERE TO BLAME RELIGION FOR PEOPLES ACTION THERE WOULD BE NO SUCH THING AS A HUMAN LIFE LEFT

    August 12, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
    • Dave

      Muslim Terrorists don't give a Damn if some innocent Muslims die. It"s collateral damage. They kill innocent civilians all the time including an 8 year old boy because they thought he cooperated with the Americans.There ultimate goal is to spread Islam and to kill Americans! Period!
      Perhaps when Americans see Muslims consistantly turning in there own before attacks take place, maybe then we will start to listen to them. But that has not happened and NEVER WILL!
      This Reporter definately needs a reality check!

      August 12, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  9. JMcTigue

    This is a question to those people who would deny this group from building their place of worship 2 blocks from ground zero. How many blocks away from ground zero would be ok to build or open a mosque? If you can't come up with a number off the top of your head, you may want to re-evaluate what is dictating your decision making process.
    Keep in mind there is a historic quote by Benjamin Franklin near the Statue of Liberty which says, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety".
    Just be sure you are not being caught up in the emotions of a mobocracy, instead you might want to think of how denying someone else’s constitutional rights as citizen could allow future precedence for someone to deny you or those you love their rights in the end.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  10. George

    Why can't it be somewhere else? The public says no thanks to that spot. If they don't comply, then they aren't building it there for the reasons they say they are.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
  11. EuroBest

    RELIGION=WAR!!!! For 1000s of years people have been killed because of it, some even say God gave them the Land lol..Radical Morons are all over the place (Muslim;Christian, Jewsih, Hindu etc..) leaders always used Religion to Control the ones who are lazy to thing for them self.. I mean Jesus him self was against ORGANIZED RELIGION.....he got killed because of that and then the same ones who killed him put together the new Bible and build Vatican..and people are still dumb enough to HATE and pay Taxes hahahaha
    WAKE UP DUMBF..KS

    August 12, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
  12. Maryxus

    You know, I keep seeing people talk about how Muslims are reclusive because they send their children to Islamic schools and whatnot, but seriously, do you know how many people I knew growing up who sent their children to Christian schools to learn about the world from a distinctly Christian point of view? I mean really, talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

    Also, @YouDope: the people only make the laws of the country only by the most indirect of means, and the entire governmental system was designed to keep the tyranny of the common people from overriding the fundamental rights of people as a whole. One can surmise that the Founding Fathers believed that people should have some control over the governing of themselves, but they also realized that given too much direct control that people as a mob, with the mentality of a mob, could use majority to impinge upon the rights and freedoms of others, something we liberated ourselves to prevent. You, and people like you, have a fundamental misunderstanding of the Constitution and what our government was designed to be.

    August 12, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  13. ninarad

    As a manority who is first genertion immigrant in this country, born and raised in Islamic country, I say AMERICANS are very ignorant. I celebrate every religion, I WILL NOT SUPPORT a religion that is fundamentaly against our consitution. American consitution is VERY IMPORTANT to me. Look at England, Muslims have oput "do not enter" signs in communities they live in. They do not want non muslims in their community. Islam does not allow freedom of speech, which is why middle eastern countries kill journalist and other who openly critize the government. Example, Iran, Saudia Arabia, and others. No freedom of religion in Islam, which is why a Texan man killed his two daughters for dating non-muslims. STOP defending this religion.

    August 12, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  14. Peace

    There is no compulsion in religion. Every human has right to worship who ever they want. But I believe in one GOD who is the GOD of every living thing and non-living thing that exists in the Universe. He is the master of the day of judgement and will hold everyone accountable for their actions on the planet earth.
    Currently there is Mosque in that building and everything is peaceful. I think the people who highlighted the issue are causing more pain and hurting the families that suffered during 9/11. I think people are fueling more hatred by running ad campaigns and hurting the victims of 9/11 than helping them.

    August 12, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  15. Davidson

    Well..don't worry...this place won't be standing for long at all. Muslims are the garbage of America! PERIOD!

    August 12, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
  16. AlexNYC

    Since the 1st amendment means nothing to some idiots on this board, we should open a fully nude or topless bar at the proposed site to celebrate our nonsensical victory. I’m pretty sure no one would object to that.

    August 12, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  17. Davidson

    That's fine. We'll just burn their building down like they did to us. Pieces of trash...go the F*&$ back to your s*%&&^ Middle East!!

    August 12, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  18. cpl. frank USMC

    ee.roe geema?? sheesh!!

    How about ee.woe gemma, d'oh!

    August 12, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  19. Jeffrey

    I don't see this being built. The part of the story that the media has overlooked is Con ED owns a piece of the land needed to build the center. Im not against the freedom of religion but building this site will cause hate crimes to occur to Muslims in the area. I think the media needs to show the negative impact of this.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  20. Kenyan Hunter

    Our leaders in government and the media must be diligent in reminding the public that “Muslim” is not synonymous with “Terrorist.” All Muslims are not terrorists, just as all Christians are not bombers of abortion clinics (i.e., terrorists). If some group wanted to build a terrorist tower to celebrate and practice terrorism near the site of 9/11, that would be offensive. However, building a mosque to celebrate and practice Islam, which has nothing to do with terrorism, is not offensive. Any true American patriot will understand and agree that anyone who upholds the true ideals of America, with freedom and justice for all, will cherish the right to build the mosque, and could never be offended by its presence.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:20 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.