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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. fallnsurfer

    just during one of their services bomb the place/burn it to the ground and give them a taste of their own medicine.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
    • Americano

      FALLNSURFER,

      I am sure the FBI is monitering this site and the last time I checked bombing and burning is considered a federal offense....

      AGAIN... THESE ARE AMERICANS....

      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 7:13 pm |
  2. Karam

    This mosque is meant to be a memorial to the perpetrators – what kind of justice is this the thousand upon thousand of victims?

    August 11, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
    • Americano

      KARAM

      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 7:11 pm |
  3. PAUL

    muslim out reach alright they reach out for thier explosives , america is retarded, those muslims are going to destroy western civilization as we know it , western politicians sold thier own country and children out for a few measley bucks , america and western country,s are collapseing , a third world war will come shortly as they try to prevent the collapse,

    August 11, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  4. earl fey

    If all these comments were required reading in a high school reading class what wouldbe the message they get/?

    If the founding fathers were to read them would be in favor of killing musilm and tearing down religious builbings?

    August 11, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  5. Joe Satin

    The chances of their mosque being destroyed by US extremist gets better by the day.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
    • brad

      Well I certainly won't cry on that day.

      August 12, 2010 at 4:41 am |
  6. charles

    for the sake of all that is sane. There is already a mosque in downtown manhattan. On top of that freedom of religion protects everyone in the US not a select few. Can't you people see when you are being manipulated for political purposes.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
    • dwight huth

      Yes there is already a mosque in downtown manhaten but it is not close to Ground Zero like this mosque will be.

      All Islamist's (not Muslims) need to be packed up and sent back to the middle east. If New York allows this building to be built New York will regret the move in a few years.

      August 11, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
    • charles

      so it is 4 blocks away instead of two? Get real. Have you ever even been to New York...

      August 11, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
    • brad

      Why don't yuo reeal your real name, its not Charles. Its Allah Maka In Fahn of You Dahm Americkans.

      August 12, 2010 at 4:36 am |
  7. Crady

    @Americano: Uh, the Constitutions does "not" give you the right to worship 'anywhere you please'. Look it up.

    Research first - then post. Twit.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  8. Allpatra

    I think this a great opportunity for American Muslims to outreach and build their religious center at a different place. This will not be considered as a defeat of their religion, rather I think, it will be considered towards peaceful-coexistence of the community. It is surley a sensitive issue to build the center new WTC site because the killers of 9/11 were all muslims (although most of the muslims are normal people like us who simply wants to live a good life). THIS IS THE TIME FOR MUSLIMS TO SHOW BIG-HEART and build a bigger and better place at a location which is not near WTC site. Although America is not a declared christian state, majority of people follows christianity. It is high time that sensitivity of majority considered as a genuine concern instead of thinking that muslims are being bullied to move out of the current site. WAKE UP PLEASE for the sake of peaceful co-existence...No other country in the world gives as much freedom as given by this great land..Let's respect it.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
    • Americano

      ALL PATRA...

      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 6:26 pm |
  9. Paul

    Let them build it, wee can blow it up and call it almost even! Diplomacy at work

    August 11, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  10. bill

    I tell you all, this will be a long haul, I had a talk with my mother the other day, about the 40 and 50's after the war, the Japanese people of the USA were subjected to every injustice that I can think of, ,, still 60 plus years later, she harbors hatred, we will not fix this overnight, but peace will win over hatred.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  11. L.B.

    I'm so happy they declined the offer. That center needs to be built–especially because of the controversy. If it exists in peace, eventually, everyone will have to shut up. Also, with all the hate and nonsense flying about, I have a sneaky suspicion that no matter where in the U.S. a mosque is built, it would be opposed by many. Heck, just a few weeks ago, people were marching in Tennesse (I believe) opposing a mosque there, and that didn't have anything to do with its proximity to ground zero–just ignorant people opposing something they fear.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  12. Patty

    A lot of people died and gave their lives to have a place where people could have freedom to believe what they want to believe in. That place is called the United States of America. Most of the people who gave their lives for the sake of freedom were Christians. They believed in Jesus and wanted unrestricted freedom to believe in Jesus and not be controlled by the organized church. Freedom allowed people from all other countries to come here and live and believe in their own gods. Now this country after a couple hundred years is becoming a hotbed between all the gods. Islam wants to set up its roots here and bring its beliefs and evangelize this country and bring us back to ground zero where everybody will be muslims and everyone else infidels. We got a taste of what the muslims think about Americans on the day of 911. Now we have Arab countries wanting to build nuclear bombs so can do more than just knock down a couple of buildings and exterminate a few thousand people. Islam is not a peaceful religion. Arabs are not peaceful people. America is not what it used to be. Now we have to have a mosque near the place of 911. I think that is nuts. Why can't there be something normal? Forget about all the people who died on 911. We want to build a MOSQUE there anyway. New York is not the place for a MOSQUE. Christians can't go build churches in Iran. Why is that? But Muslims can build a mosque in the middle of Ground Zero. Go build your mosque somewhere else. Why do you need it there? If you think you are peaceful, then if 70% of all Americans don't want your mosque at ground zero, then be peaceful and go build it somewhere else. There's land all over the place. Lies, Lies and more lies but keep the smile on your face and act nice while you lie.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
    • Americano

      PATTY...

      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 6:25 pm |
  13. David Houston, TX

    There is a growing evidence that religion causes significant social dysfunction. Statistical research is revealing a number of problems. For example, a recent article in the Journal of Religion and Society points out that religion is correlated to the significant social difficulties that we can see in America today:

    In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies. The most theistic prosperous democracy, the U.S., is exceptional, but not in the manner Franklin predicted. The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developed democracies, sometimes spectacularly so, and almost always scores poorly. The view of the U.S. as a “shining city on the hill” to the rest of the world is falsified when it comes to basic measures of societal health.
    The prevailing view is that religion is beneficial, or at least harmless. That turns out not to be the case. America is the most religious country of those studied in the developed world. America also has the biggest problems in terms of things like homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion. Religion skews our thinking in ways that can be quite harmful to our society as a whole. By replacing religion with rationality, as other developed nations are in the process of doing, we create healthier societies.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  14. Lisa

    Until I hear Muslim leaders in America and around the world come out strongly, forcefully and on a consistent basis against those who have hijacked their religion, I don't think this should be built close to such a sacred site to Americans. This act of terrorism was done to innocent Americans (all religions and colors) in the name of Allah, no way around it….it is a fact. Although, we can all agree ( I hope) that they hijacked this religion.

    I live side by side with a wonderful Muslim family. I go to their home for dinner, they come to mine. Our children play together, we go on vacation together. I am not naïve and I am aware that Muslims are just like everyone else. They are not evil people like some on this comment board seem to think they are. (people like this really exist? – wow!) And, just like any other religion, it can be twisted to cause harm.

    Side note….I am Catholic, and disgusted by the way my religion is responding to child abuse – I would wholeheartedly protest a Catholic church being built next to say a child day care until I felt my religion was doing more to address this problem.

    Bottom line – yes they have the right to do this, but is it really right?

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

      LISA

      NOTHING TO DO WITH FEELING, OR RESPECT....

      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 7:10 pm |
  15. Budda

    If peace is to be made, destroy all religion

    August 11, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  16. Kevin

    I could care less about the religion but its the lack of sensitivity the developers are showing that astounds me.
    But then again its a great PR move because if your against it, your anti muslim. You also have all the liberal nuts and religious windbags who think its about cultural and religious freedom. What it should be about is showing some sensitivity and humility to the families of 9/11 victims.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
    • Americano

      KEVIN,

      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 7:06 pm |
  17. mybikedied

    They probably should build a sports bar over the 911 site since so many amerikans are preoccupied with moronic sports to notice what is going on in the world. Most amerikans get their news exclusively from extremist cable news shows run by politicians. 9/11 is rather simple to understand jews manipulate arabs and egg them on. They fill their heads with notions and possibilities. Why they even lead the muslims along. But for maximum effect they manipulate the situation(Ie: plant explosives in the WTC...see building 7 for proof) to create shock and awe. Dumb sports watching, beer swilling amerikans buy it. Let me remind you while you're on your religion high the jews did the same thing to one of their own...oh you might have heard of him...jesus. In judeism indirect murder is legal. It is written.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  18. keep it 2 yourself

    this whole mosque debate is an open HATE crime. I have no clue why no one is being prosecuted. what happened on 911 has absolutely nothing to do with people openly displaying hate for someones religious belief. christian taliban have massacred thousands of people central,south,north american because of their indigenous beliefs y is it still allowed today?

    August 11, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  19. Budda

    ITS GOOD TO ARGUE ALL THIS CRAP. IF ISLAM SUPORTS PEACE AS THEY CLAIM, THEY HAVE TO KNOW THAT THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE THAT WILL DO ALMOST ANYTHING TO PREVENT THIS MOSQUE FROM BEING PU THERE. IF YOU SUPORT THE IDEA OF PEACE, WELL THEN WHY IS IT YOUR SIDE IS NOT EVEN TRYING TO COME UP WITH A SOLUTION KNOWING FULL WELL THIS WILL CAUSE VIOLENCE, THATS NOT PRACTICING PEACE, HOW WOULD YOU RESOLVE THIS AND WHY?

    August 11, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
    • keep it 2 yourself

      not sure why u keep saying islam is not peaceful.... which religion do u happen to blindly follow? christian talibans have massacred way more people than islam and more importantly they have done it LAST.....it matters not how many thousands of people u collect..... the constitution protects people from hate crimes such as this. this is what makes us us.

      August 11, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
    • Americano

      BUDDA

      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 6:27 pm |
    • charles

      there are 8 million people who though irritated in some parts of the city by the call to prayers could care less where this mosque is located. Why are you?

      August 11, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  20. kite005

    I'm pretty sure it will be a target for vandalism or arson while and after being built.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:11 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.