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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. Nomorejihad

    The muslim faith silently recapitulates jihad, as it is written to all Muslims, that ALL lands belong to Allah. Ask any Muslims to point to any Muslim organizations that publicly renounces the jihad. Any victims of the jihad out reach programs? Muslims call those that turn to their faith reverts not converts because they preach that all humans are inherently Muslims. It is a religion that is solely based in the capturing of every mind and parcel of Land on earth to liberate it back to Allah. This mosque will be a silent nod to that goal and no mount of liberal guilt will disprove this, you can not offer tolerance to the intolerant, it must be earned. This is not a time for PC rhetoric and impossible ideologies, we need an honest voice that speaks of realities not the fantasies of the boom generation.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  2. mybikedied

    jews attacked us 9/11 so what's the problem? a year or 2 ago Lebanon arrested an israeli spie whose cousin was one of the 9/11 hijackers. Wake up Amerikay. It's not the 1st time jews attacked us. In 1967 they attacked the USS Liberty with jets, torpedo boats, napalm. 34 Sailors aboard the unarmed vessel were murdered 174 wounded. They said it was a mistake. Clear day, large US flag. 9/11 victims need to remove their head from their butt.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  3. Bobby

    Most muslims do not denounce what happened on 9/11. In their so called "apologies", they will say that it is not "their" faction of Islam involved. However, they will not denounce it because of their belief in holy war. If you had lost family members in this tragic event and I believe you would expect any human being to denounce what happened regardless of religious belief. Had you been closely associated with the conversations....you would have learned that Islam is a religion that gives practice to harm as well as good and the people are devout in that thinking. You would expect more respect, but you will never get it because what you want to say are "good" muslims cannot denounce what the "others" (most are very relucant to call their brothers bad) did on 9/11 because they cannot. Now, maybe you will understand a little better why impacted families ask for respect.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
    • Americano

      BOBBY...

      NOTHING TO DO WITH FEELING OR RESPECT....

      IT IS ALL ABOUT FIRST AMENDMENT PERIOD....

      TODAY ABOUT THIS GROUP FEELING, TOMORROW ABOUT THE OTHER GROUP FEELING AND SO ON AND SO ON....

      Until no more freedom to talk about...

      The only reason BIGOT, ISRAELI MOSSAD, WHITE TRASH HILLBILLY, FOLLOWERS OF PAT ROBERTSON are all over this subject because their IGNORANCE, RACISM, AND BIGOTRY...

      AMERICA IS THE LAND OF THE FREEEEEEEEEEEEE......

      August 11, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  4. Eric14

    Build a sacred space open for use by all. No Mosques, churches, chapels, temples or synagogues. Just one sacred space.
    What makes it sacred? Folk of all faiths say it's sacred, then it's sacred.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  5. anonymous

    god doesn't exist. this discussion is moot.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  6. Moreisless

    If Muslims truly wanted to build a bridge, they would not build a mosque where so many people feel they are being disrespectful to the people who were murdered on 9/11. Therefore, the argument about the bridge is BS. I do not care if they build a mosque but the location is in very poor taste and show a lack of compassion for the leader in the Muslim community in New York.

    For the Muslims who feel I am unfair, I was part of a group at the Catholic Church I attend that made arrangement for the Muslim community to use rooms in our church for Friday pray.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  7. jondoe

    Pink Hijab-reported for trolling this discussion

    August 11, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  8. ungvary

    Lot of opinions for and against, but the government offer of land for a religious establishment is a major no-no. The government needs to stop forcing "tolerance" (of any kind) down our collective throats.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  9. JR

    If they relocated, then people at the new location would start complaining, this has nothing to do with it's location, it's about \ Muslims being allowed in America.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  10. Moreisless

    If Muslims truly wanted to build a bridge, they would not build a mosque where so many people feel they are being disrespectful to the people who were murdered on 9/11. Therefore, the argument about the bridge is BS. I do not care if they build a mosque but the location is in very poor taste and show a lack of compassion for the leader in the Muslim community in New York.

    For the Muslims who feel I am unfair, I was part of a group at the Catholic Church I attend that made arrangement for the Muslim community to use rooms in our church for Friday pray.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
    • Americano

      MORE IS LESS

      NOTHING TO DO WITH FEELING....

      IT IS ALL ABOUT FIRST AMENDMENT PERIOD....

      TODAY ABOUT THIS GROUP FEELING, TOMORROW ABOUT THE OTHER GROUP FEELING AND SO ON AND SO ON....

      Until no more freedom to talk about...

      The only reason BIGOT, ISRAELI MOSSAD, WHITE TRASH HILLBILLY, FOLLOWERS OF PAT ROBERTSON are all over this subject because their IGNORANCE, RACISM, AND BIGOTRY...

      AMERICA IS THE LAND OF THE FREEEEEEEEEEEEE......

      August 11, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  11. Frank

    There are 109 War verses in the Quran, the MUSLIM bible. They are forbidden from picking and choosing what they like and dislike. Read these and see how they compare to your "Peaceful" idea of these people. I can get the other 100 WAR verses if you like our can google them yourself. LEARN WHATS IN THE QURAN before you support anything.

    The Qur'an:
    Qur'an (2:191-193) – "And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]...and fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah."

    Qur'an (8:12) – "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"

    Qur'an (2:216) – "Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you

    Qur'an (3:56) – "As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help."

    Qur'an (3:56) – "As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help."

    Qur'an (4:76) – "Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah…"

    Qur'an (4:104) – "And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain..."

    Qur'an (8:15) – "O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. (16)Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey's end."

    Qur'an (9:14) – "Fight them, Allah will punish them by your hands and bring them to disgrace..."

    Qur'an (9:123) – "O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness."

    August 11, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
    • JR

      And again Frank, it's a real shame that you spent so much time looking at the Quran and couldn't understand anything you read,.

      August 11, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
    • Americano

      FRANK...

      GO BACK TOP YOUR ISRAELI MOSSAD FRIENDS...

      Even if they worship the devil... they are AMERICANS and they have the right
      to WORSHIP WHOM EVER THEY PLEASE, LIVE WHEREVER THEY WANT, BUILD WHATEVER THEY WANT.

      THIS IS NO ISRAEL...

      THIS IS AMERICA THE LAND OF THE FREEEEEEEEEEE

      August 11, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
    • Budda

      Koran 9:73 Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their Home: an evil fate.

      Koran 8:12 Remember Thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the believers, I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger tips of them." Here Mohammed is giving step by step instruction on how to torture and kill Kafirs if they don't follow Islam.

      Koran 9:5 "Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."

      Koran 5:33-34 The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet and alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom; Save those who repent before ye overpower them. For know that

      Koran 9:29 Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last day, nor hold the forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and his messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jiziyah with willing submission. And feel themselves subdued.

      Koran 98:1-8 The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn for ever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures.

      Koran 22:19-22:23 Garments of fire have been prepared for the unbelievers. Scalding water shall be poured upon their heads, melting their skins and that which is in their bellies. They shall be lashed rods of iron. Whenever, in their anguish, they try to escape from Hell, back they shall be dragged, and will be told: 'Taste the torment of the Conflagration!'

      Koran 43:74 ..The unbelievers shall endure forever the torment of Hell. The punishment will never be lightened, and they shall be speechless with despair. We do not wrong, themselves.

      Koran 76:1-5 For the unbelievers We have prepared chains and fetters and a blazing Fire...

      Koran 73:12 We have in store for the unbelievers heavy fetters and a blazing fire, choking food and harrowing torment: on the day when the earth shall quiver with all its mountains, and the mountains crumble into heaps of shifting sand.

      How IS THIS PEACEFUL???????

      August 11, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
    • Momo

      @BUdda: I supposed the catholic version of hell has flowers, chocolate and teddy bears all around right? Its hell you moron, what do you think the description was going to be of??

      August 11, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
    • hobart

      And the Bible has lots of violent verses too. So what?

      August 11, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
    • Frank

      I hope you brainless idiots are the first ones the Muslims hack into 3 or 4 pieces. The day is coming. One thing Ive noticed about America. It get DUMBER by the hour. Complete morons are all over this place.

      August 11, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
    • hobart

      Wishing death on someone is beneath you Frank. Get a life.

      August 11, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
    • Ant

      What's your point, Frank? The Bible teaches that gay should be executed, a raped woman must marry her attacker, and that it's fine to invade a neighboring country, kill the men and keep the women. Does that sound like a religion of peace? Taken out of context, you can say that about any religion.

      August 11, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  12. Peace

    America is based on religious freedom, period! There is nothing else to discuss?

    August 11, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
    • Frank

      This sound like a religion to you?

      There are 109 War verses in the Quran, the MUSLIM bible. They are forbidden from picking and choosing what they like and dislike. Read these and see how they compare to your "Peaceful" idea of these people. I can get the other 100 WAR verses if you like our can google them yourself. LEARN WHATS IN THE QURAN before you support anything.

      The Qur'an:
      Qur'an (2:191-193) – "And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]...and fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah."

      Qur'an (8:12) – "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"

      Qur'an (2:216) – "Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you

      Qur'an (3:56) – "As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help."

      Qur'an (3:56) – "As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help."

      Qur'an (4:76) – "Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah…"

      Qur'an (4:104) – "And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain..."

      Qur'an (8:15) – "O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. (16)Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey's end."

      Qur'an (9:14) – "Fight them, Allah will punish them by your hands and bring them to disgrace..."

      Qur'an (9:123) – "O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness."

      August 11, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
    • JR

      Frank, it's a real shame that you spent so much time looking at the Quran and couldn't understand anything you read,.

      August 11, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
    • JP

      With regards to freedom of religion and the meaning it has in th USA...it was was intended for christians i.e. protestants, not all religions.

      August 11, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
    • grrrrr!

      I'm pretty sure our founding fathers (God bless them for choosing Christianity), did not mean 'have a bunch of retard murder your brothers and sisters brutally, then have them erect monuments of victory, ' because we are very tolerant people. If you don't like the fact that our country was founded on Christianity, GO BACK HOME.

      August 11, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
    • Peace

      grrrrr!, I guess you have a problem with the Catholic church next door then. Many so easily forget that Catholics and Protestants were recently still killing each other across the pond in the UK.

      This whole debate about non-Christians is truly disgusting and not what our country was founded upon. It's purely about ethnic intolerance.

      August 11, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
    • hobart

      Frank: Does this sound like religion to you?

      Leviticus 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

      Deuteronomy 17: 2-5

      2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant,

      3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;

      4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:

      5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

      August 11, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
    • Budda

      HOW MANY TERRORIST GROUPS CAN YOU NAME THAT CAME OUT OF CHRISTIANITY THAT ARE STILL KILLING TODAY? IF WE COMPARE TERRORIST AND WHAT THEY FOLLOW AND WHY, IT IS EVIDENT THAT ISLAM DOES NOT PRACTICE PEACE OR YOUR RELIGIOUS LEADERS HAVE THEIR OWN AGENDAS

      August 11, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
    • Frank

      How many Christian terrorist attacks have we had in the last 300 years? The MUSLIMS committed 10,999 documented terror attacks LAST YEAR ALONE! believe it or not, thats down from all the previous years! I cant believe Im sitting here arguing with so called Americans. Wait until the next attack and and lets see how you defend the bast@rds then!

      DOES THAT ANSWER YOUR QUESTION?

      August 11, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
    • free2comment

      Our founding fathers did not choose Christianity, they were for the most part Freemasons, and chose seperation between Church (Religion) and State; some say George Washington was himself a Muslim; whatever they were God apparently did Bless them, how else can you account for yourselves being here?

      August 11, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
    • Momo

      @frank: HEres a whole list of atrocities in the bible. My point. I dont judge CHristians based on these facts unlike your moronic self. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/atrocity.html

      August 12, 2010 at 12:51 am |
  13. Iblis Chindi

    I am sick of seeing Islam this and Islam that, Muslims are going to keep killing people and pushing their Religion of hate on the world until the world decides to put a stop to it. the sooner the better.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  14. JP

    The building was intentionally selected to...rub it in. I wonder how the muslim community would react if we bombed Mecca and then wanted build a U.S. Embassy there.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
    • grrrrr!

      Well said mate. Reminds me of Agamemnon erecting stones with his name carved in on the beaches of Troy.

      August 11, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
    • joe1actual

      JP ..to compare to what they want , we would have to build a church, that allows women to preach, teach & oh yeah..attend...& oh again, it would have to be jewish...this effort to build this POS is nothing more than a test of America's resolve and if we let them, they win...mark my words: if not us, then our children will have to defend themselves and their families with guns against attacking muslims...I for one am going to make sure we have enough ammo...

      August 11, 2010 at 10:59 pm |
    • Momo

      YOu do realize that the kaabah in Mecca was built by the Prophet Abraham and that Mecca is revered by billions of muslims and jews and christians because of this fact right? and youre comparing it to the trade center. Wow.. you are a genius.

      August 12, 2010 at 12:47 am |
  15. Islamneedstogo

    Only way there is ever going to be world peace is when we all pray to the same religion. Islams already know this, they are getting a head start. I say one last "Major Crusade" and wipe Islam (and it's followers) off the face of the Earth.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
    • Momo

      People like you who have shit for brains should not comment on forums like these. Just go back into your trailer park home, get drunk and live your perfectly ignorant life... either that or jump off a bridge.

      August 12, 2010 at 12:43 am |
  16. grrrrr!

    This is so annoying. if you want to reach out to the U.S.A, why don't you try building those centers in, say... The Bronx. Like Manhattan needs another swimming pool. The fact that they refused ot relocate shows their determination to put up a symbol of victory. Remember how Agamemnon enacted stones with his name on it on the beaches of Troy? And to the retarded Americans with hippie mind sets, grow a fucking back bone. Being tolerant doesn't mean being walked all over.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  17. Arif

    I do not see the fuss with building a community center. The mosque has been there for the past 40 years.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  18. Americano

    Look at this Moran....

    Give them publicly owned property????

    first deny them their AMERICAN RIGHT to worship anywhere they please.

    second break the law but giving them public property.

    THAT IS AMERICA THE LAND OF THE FREEEEEEEEEE????? HMMMMMMMMM

    August 11, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
    • mook

      Americano yes america is the land of the free but how many of these muslims that want to worship and build this disgrace are AMERICAN CITIZENS probably not many and no you dont see catholics or jews or baptists building churches where this tradegy happened we all built a memorial for everybody not a f****** temple

      August 12, 2010 at 8:08 am |
  19. Gres

    These people OWN the land. As long as they follow the law, they have a RIGHT to use their land as they want. Because of the actions of a few extremists, some of you are willing to piss on the Constitution in order to deny these people their rights- it is these people who are a real threat to this country- not muslims.

    And I would suppose that christian churches should be forbidden from being built near concentrantion camps, or perhaps all of germany, or maybe even all the former Nazi empire? Anything else would just be disrespectful!

    August 11, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  20. Adnan

    Relax America. First of all, millions of Japanese live in Hawaii today after Pearl Harbor 65 years ago. That all turned out fine. Millions of Mexicans live in CA, TX, and all after the Mexican-American war. This is pure and utter racism and anti-Muslim feelings run amok.
    The irony here is that this mosque and all the mosques in America criticize terrorism and suicide bombers. America needs this sort of mosque to keep the uneducated Muslims (meaning the ones who don't know Islamic rules well) from falling prey to those who would twist Islam in a perverse way to further their own agenda. We millions of PRACTICING Muslims in America know suicide and the killing of innocents anywhere is prohibited in Islam no matter where it happens. Let us teach Islam as it really is, not as how 12 Saudi dissidents saw it.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:33 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.