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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. Sue in Charleston, S.C.

    I want someone to answer me this; I consistently hear that allowing the mosque to be built there will open the door to "dialogue"...
    Why, exactly, do we NEED dialogue with the muslim religion, period? A bunch of radical Christian didn't go over there and kill 3000 people. We aren't erecting Baptist churches and Catholic churches and Episcopalian Churches in their countries. If we Go over there and try to discuss religion, they kill our people or at the very least, arrest them, for proselitizing (sp). I would think that since America was not founded on Muslim religious protocols, then we don't really need to pursue a dialogue with them ...We let them practice their religion here. We don't persecute them for it. We DON'T need to let them build this mosque so close to ground zero... This has nothing to do with dialogue. If you want to have a dialogue with them, then go to their country where the radical muslims practice maiming and beheading and stoning and "dialogue" over there.

    If anyone believes that this is not a kick in the face to the thousands who died in the twin towers, then I'll say you are sadly, and hopelessly blinded by the lies.

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

      The United States was founded on religious freedom, and yes includes Muslims. But if you persist in calling the US a christian nation (something your forefathers would frown on given their distaste for England, a christian nation) you should research a few things. Start with the Philippines, the Iran-Iraq war, Conra, Afghanistan 1 (soviet era), or many or the countless intrusions into foreign sovereign nations the so called Christian US has made that has resulted in death and turmoil. As a christian myself, I don't see my hands as clean when it comes to my faith's history- past, present, or future. As a New Yorker I would appreciate it if you stay in South Carolina which based on you doesn't represent the ideals of progress that my city does.

      August 11, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
    • Americano

      SUE...

      THESE ARE AMERICANS CITIZENS YOU DIMMMMWITTTT...

      NOTHING TO DO WITH FEELING....

      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 7:03 pm |
    • Kay

      I agree building a mosque there is totally disrespectful to the victims of 9-11 and their families. It is appalling. The only reason for a mosque is to convert people to Islam. This mosque does not bring peaceful dialogue at all. People are already protesting about it! This mosque has already brought contempt and argument to our country, not peace.

      August 11, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
  2. chris

    im very disapointed reading these comments. you silly ignorant people. so much for the melting pot great experoment country. OH NO the big bad boogy man middle easterns are coming. you sit high on your horses and reak of ignorance. you do realise all the ignorant people of the arab world are sitting there going "all americans are evil! they burn rape and pillage everything and have no respect or souls!" while all the ignorant americans are crying "all evil aribs! they burn rape and pillage everything and have no respect or souls!" ... its funny how bent on identification people are. so entrentched that we forget that other groups are not so different. filling in our lack of knowledge of other people with stereotypes. i have travled the world, what i found was people are people. we all want the same things, we all think the same way, we all have souls. ignorance is the problem in this world. only way to fix the worlds problems is with education, and the best spot to start is with your own.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  3. stretch

    so the Muslims are determined to plant their flag on the graves of 3000. I don’t think this strategy will pay off in the long run.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  4. Sharon

    Money speaks–Bloomberg just saw green (not the envirnment)–why not? There is a rumour going around that Pelosi-Dirty Harry-Obama have such power that no one dare not oppose them! Is that true America?

    Yesterday Obama stepped into the separation of church and state and declared the leader (Inman) will be retained to travel across the world promoting what true Islam is all about! Why such effort? Why does a President declare a Religious leader (from any denomination-or Muslim) to promote peace–explain the Muslims belief! When Obama admitted his faith was christian muslim, I thought they are 2 separate things–Christians according to Qur'an are people of the book who don't enter heaen at all! If you believe in Allah–Prophet Mohammad you shall see heaven!

    I encourage everyone to read the Bible–get a Qur'an (Barnes & Noble) they have them in English–read and find out make your own decision! That is what makes America great!

    August 11, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
    • kite005

      Oh so now this has something to do with Obama. More idiotic comments from the right. Seems like there must be a website somewhere os stupid comments the right can pick from and keep repeating over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over.

      August 11, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
    • Americano

      sharon,

      the state department has been sending AMERICAN MUSLIM Imams for the PAST 10 YEARS...

      SO YOUR DARLING BUSH HAS SEND THEM TOOOO..

      AGAIN...

      NOTHING TO DO WITH FEELING....

      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 7:02 pm |
  5. Bobbo

    This is yet another provocative move by evil Muslims.. who are by the very definition of their faith, a religion of the sword,
    They want to destroy Christianity, Judaism and also other Muslims! That's right, their own kind. And every other faith but their own. Read a true translation of the Koran. Conquest is at the core of their belief system and destroying their enemies. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Sunni & Shiite. Remember them? Still blowing each others mosques up 2000 years later. It's a convoluted, lying, messed up faith and it's getting worse. If this mosque goes up in NY this close to the WTC, they will face constant threats There are moderate Muslims who are God fearing and decent american citizens. These folks are having their religion hijacked by Muslimist fanatics. Fanatics want to build a Mosque this close to the WTC, to rub our faces in it, as if to say to the whole world, "We will destroy you and you can't stop us"! Bloomberg is an idiot.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
    • Wewillnotforget

      I completely agree Bobbo, what an insult to the memories of those who died that terrible day. And posters on this site who say "sure let it be built" are ignorant and just make me sick. I cannot believe this is been allowed to be built.

      August 11, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
    • kite005

      First of Muslims are not evil. The Talibal, Al Qaeda, and the Muslims that think like them are. There a lot's of the Quran that speaks against violence also. Just like the Christian bible one can pick out whatever parts you want to make the case for a certain point of view. Our western society has done a lot over there to make some of them feel they way they do to us. The western society ruled over them quite a while. But still now it's a foolish idea to want to build a Mosque there and will prove to be ill thought out.

      August 11, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
    • Americano

      bobbo...

      NOTHING TO DO WITH FEELING....

      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 6:59 pm |
  6. Juan Del Pueblo

    I hate to say this for I am not some crazy hatemonger. But if they are building it with the hidden agenda of actually desecrating what mainstream America believes to be a place of tragedy and remembrance, I know that Karma will send them their own 'two planes' on their shiny new center or a place of equal relevance to them. I am a pacifist and I don't wish them Ill, but as far as I know all religions preach 'do unto others...' and that we will all pay for our transgressions. Oh yeah, and that Karma can be a bitch.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  7. Mainehunter

    Death to America? Yeah, let's support these jackals.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  8. StarMan

    My dog has more sense than these 'people' The question of why these pigs, er dogs, er animals, er people are antagonizing the families who lost loved ones needs to be asked.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
    • Americano

      star man

      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 6:04 pm |
    • Momo

      Go back into your trailer park, get drunk of a six pack and do the world a favor and keep your dumb comments to yourself.

      August 11, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  9. brown

    Let them build their mosque and we can build a low-end gentleman's club right next to it!

    August 11, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
    • Americano

      BROWN...

      There is already a strip club that is even closer than this center ....morrannnnn

      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 6:03 pm |
  10. Wewillnotforget

    I am a Canadian, and I am appalled that this mosque (cultural center, whatever) has been approved to be built close to ground zero. On that terrible day alot of american planes were diverted to Halifax, Nova Scotia, (close to maine) and alot of local residents gave comfort and a roof over the shocked americans heads, and I can only imagine how shocked and disgusted ALOT of Americans are. The muslims in approval of this cultural center are not stupid, they know what this represents and what it represents is a slap in the face. I for one, do not approve of this terrible symbol of evil and terrorism.
    Your friendly neighboor to the north.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
    • Americano

      WE WILL NOT FORGET

      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 6:01 pm |
    • Momo

      The entire muslim population of America isn't responsible for 9-11 you dope, so quit holding us hostage to it.

      August 11, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
    • Wewillnotforget

      americano

      Your saying that people who are sensitive to a mosque been built close to ground zero is bigotry and racist? No not exactly idiot. It's about seeing their loved ones live on tv die when the towers crumbled, because of MUSLIM radicals. Then pretty much the entire middle east in the streets celebrating that terrible act, seems like your the one who is IGNORANT, people like you care more about this buidling been built than of the respect for the people who died that day. You make me sick.

      August 11, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
    • Guester

      Ad we still appreciate it WeWill. This is not an honest attempt at any kind of reconciliation. it's indefensible and they know it. it's a political ploy which will likely backfire.

      August 11, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  11. bobbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

    I oppose this building as I would oppose any religious building being built. I dont care if it is a catholic church, a christian church, a jewish temple....whatever. I think this is a great example of how religion and the religies of this world are messing things up for everyone. America needs another religious center built like we all need another hole in the head. How about something useful like a hospital, or a police or fire station, or a school or library. I just do not see the sense of wasting valuable land space for another religious building that does nothing but take up space. Same goes for cemeteries, what a waste of land space and for what? So a bunch of dead bodies can rot in the ground??? This kind of religious non-sense and peoples refusal to give up on its pointless practice is what I believe is destroying our world. I awake every day wondering if this is the day some nut job religie is going to take me and all those around us out in some ridiculous show for their imaginary god. I would love to live in a world where there was no religion and every one understood that once they die it is over. How different and progressive that would be!

    August 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
    • free2comment

      Religion is what got your ancestor to stand upright when they had to look up at the Sky and Reach for that Spaceship...break it down UFO Human LInk A pagein the life blogspot, stories far more informative and interesting that the pap that leads to think and write the way you do

      August 11, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
  12. City Dweller

    How many muslims live in lower Manhattan anyway?

    August 11, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
    • Guester

      1 is too many

      August 11, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
    • Demo Crazy

      Hey they do service to lower manhattan by serving shish kabab on the roadside with tropical parasites!

      August 11, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  13. C

    All i have to say is Mike Bloomberg is really stepping up his game. I Liked him before- love him now!

    August 11, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  14. Frank

    Some more peaceful versus of the Quran for you Muslim lovers out there.

    Ibn Ishaq: 992 – "Fight everyone in the way of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah."

    Qur'an (61:4) – "Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way" Religion of Peace, indeed!

    Tabari 9:69 "Killing Unbelievers is a small matter to us" The words of Muhammad, prophet of Islam.

    Ibn Ishaq: 327 – “Allah said, ‘A prophet must slaughter before collecting captives. A slaughtered enemy is driven from the land. Muhammad, you craved the desires of this world, its goods and the ransom captives would bring. But Allah desires killing them to manifest the religion.’”

    Qur'an (47:35) – "Be not weary and faint-hearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost (Shakir: "have the upper hand") for Allah is with you," This very important verse asserts that the Religion of Peace is not to grant peace to the broader society until Islamic rule has been established.

    Qur'an (25:52) – "Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness, with the (Qur'an)." "Strive against" is Jihad

    Qur'an (48:29) – "Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves" Islam is not about treating everyone equally. There are two very distinct standards that are applied based on religious status.

    Bukhari (52:177) – Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. "O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him."

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

      FRANKIIIIIIIII

      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 5:56 pm |
    • hobart

      And there's just as much violence in the Bible, and you can look them up for yourself on BibleGateway.com, rather than cutting and pasting mindlessly from some anti-Islamic website.

      August 11, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  15. mook

    if you ask me it looks as though they already have 3 mosques in lower manhatten http://newyork.citysearch.com/listings/new-york-manhattan/mosques/82357?what=Mosques see for yourself so WHY do they need another one

    August 11, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
    • Raymond

      Because we are taking over Wall Street. lol

      August 11, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
    • Americano

      MOOK...

      THERE ARE 1000'S OF CHURCH IN NY.. WHAT DO YOU NEED ALL OF THEM?????

      SOME TOWNS HAVE MORE CHURCH THAT THAN FOLLOWERS... WHY DO WE NEED ALL OF THEM????

      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...

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

      August 11, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  16. AnTi PC

    Let them build it...so some 9/11 nut can blow it up....

    August 11, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  17. Raymond

    TAKBIR – google it

    August 11, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  18. BG

    I believe they should build their mosque where they want to build it. This is America and we are all free to practice the religion that we like. If they own the land and local zoning allows a place of worship there, who are we to deny any place of worship. If your Christian group owned land in a predominantly Moslem neighborhood, and you wanted to build a church. Would you want to be denied because it is a Moslem area. The rules are different in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world.

    I challenge a Christian group to build a church as close to this mosque as possible and a Jewish group to build a synagogue there. If Bahai's want to build there, that is their right too. I think this location just 2 blocks from ground zero would be a wonderful place to worship G-d, however you like to do that.

    Our freedom is a wonderful thing! How far would you get in Saudia Arabia (the entire country) if you wanted to build a church or a synagogue? Christians are persecuted in Egypt, Iran, and Iraq. Many of the those Christian's ancestors lived in those countries long before Mohammed began his conquests. Last year the last Jews left Yeman because they feared for their lives. My wish is to live long enough to see the rest of the world adopt the freedom that we sometimes take for granted in this country.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
    • grrrrr!

      Ground Zero is not a religious site, its a war memorial, have some darn respect and leave it as that. You have all of the other non-9/11 sites to build. Last I checked, America was pretty huge.

      August 11, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  19. Guester

    it was based on not having a state mandated religion. It has since been bastardized into people thinking just because something is called a religion it's OK.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  20. Mike Honcho

    If we stop them from building this mosque, then the terrorist have won. You are not being patriotic by denying other US citizens the right to build whatever they want as long as it is done by the law. If its legal, they should build it. Bigotry and Hate.... NO, NOT IN MY NAME, Because I am a proud American citizen.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
    • Nomorejihad

      You are preaching an ideology, and all ideologies require 100% participation or they are doomed to fail. And I resent your usage of patriotism to make an ideological argument, especially one that insinuates that those who think differently then you are less patriotic less intelligent and intolerant.

      August 11, 2010 at 5:57 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.