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Landmarks Decision Clears the Way for Islamic Cultural Center Near Ground Zero

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

In a unanimous vote Tuesday denying a Tribeca building landmark status, the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission cleared the way for an Islamic cultural center to be built just two blocks from Ground Zero. Opponents had assailed the project, calling it an insult to the memories of the nearly 3,000 victims of the September 11th attacks.

The commission said the 152-year-old building at 45-47 Park Place "does not rise to the level of an individual landmark."

"I think it's a victory for American liberties," one supporter, Zead Ramadan, said after the vote. "I think the commission acted objectively and they did not allow the rhetoric of fear and hate to affect their decision-making."

Almost immediately, one of the opposition groups, the Washington, D.C.-based American Center for Law and Justice, announced it would file suit in state Supreme Court on Wednesday. An attorney for group, Brett Joshpe, said that the commission vote showed favoritism towards a religious institution.

"We believe that if this property were any other proposed use, if it were a proposed movie theater, that the building would have been landmarked," he said.

The cultural center, called the Cordoba house, has became a touchstone for elected officials. Republican gubernatorial candidates Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino immediately released statements blasting the commission, and the mayor who appointed them, for not stopping the project.

Michael Caputo, Paladino’s campaign manager, called the Landmarks Commission members "stooges" who did what they were told by Bloomberg, a supporter of the project.

The mayor called a press conference to praise the vote on Governors Island. The podium was arranged so that television cameras would show the Statue of Liberty in the background.

"We would betray our values and play into our enemies' hands if we were to treat Muslims differently that anyone else," Bloomberg said. "It is my hope that the mosque will bring our city even closer together and repudiate the false and repugnant idea that the attacks on 9/11 were consistent with Islam."

The commission vote was the largest official obstacle that Cordoba House faces, but that's not to say the financial obstacles are not daunting. The group estimates it will cost about $100 million, which it says it could take years to raise.

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Comments [19]

David W. Ray (SC) from South Carolina

David in NY

Take a minute and listen to this. Just copy and paste it.

http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/06/pat-condell-on-ground-zero-mosque-is-it-possible-to-be-astonished-but-not-surprised.html

Aug. 04 2010 05:25 AM
David in NY

David W. Ray -- I fear you are misinformed. The Qu'ran does not command the killing of unbelievers, except in self defense. You might be interested in reading this, which explains your error: http://islam.about.com/od/terrorism/f/terrorism_verse.htm

There are, of course, Muslims who wish ill to Americans. But they are hardly a majority. And we need friends among the actual majority, which is not anti-American, in order to combat the Muslim radicals.

This is really why you are wrong. The group starting the mosque are "moderates who openly condemn the death cult of al-Qaeda." Read this: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2008432,00.html?xid=rss-topstories#ixzz0vbE9b5DO These people are our friends. They are enemies of al-Qaeda, just like you are. You are quite wrong to condemn them, since you know nothing about them. Since you seem to know nothing about Islam, I suggest that you learn a little before you let hatred enter your heart.

In any event, the people building this building are our neighbors, not yours. If you wish to discriminate against them in South Carolina, you may try to do so, although that would be immoral and illegal. But do not try to impose such bad values on New Yorkers. This great City is ours, not yours.

Aug. 03 2010 10:24 PM
David in NY

David W. Ray -- I fear you are misinformed. The Qu'ran does not command the killing of unbelievers, except in self defense. You might be interested in reading this, which explains your error: http://islam.about.com/od/terrorism/f/terrorism_verse.htm

There are, of course, Muslims who wish ill to Americans. But they are hardly a majority. And we need friends among the actual majority, which is not anti-American, in order to combat the Muslim radicals.

This is really why you are wrong. The group starting the mosque are "moderates who openly condemn the death cult of al-Qaeda." Read this: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2008432,00.html?xid=rss-topstories#ixzz0vbE9b5DO These people are our friends. They are enemies of al-Qaeda, just like you are. You are quite wrong to condemn them, since you know nothing about them. Since you seem to know nothing about Islam, I suggest that you learn a little before you let hatred enter your heart.

In any event, the people building this building are our neighbors, not yours. If you wish to discriminate against them in South Carolina, you may try to do so, although that would be immoral and illegal. But do not try to impose such bad values on New Yorkers. This great City is ours, not yours.

Aug. 03 2010 10:23 PM
David in NY

Ah, russid. You say it would be "sending the wrong message." But what message would that be, exactly? What message do you think is sent here?
I see you don't say. Kindly tell us what this "wrong message" is, exactly.

Aug. 03 2010 09:54 PM

We don’t need to prove to the world that America welcomes all religions; everyone knows this except the extremists. And building this Islamic center and mosque at this time, at this location, won’t change their belief one bit.
As far as I’m concerned building it here will send the wrong message. For ALL the victims of 9/11, and their surviving families who view this site/area as sacred ground, a true Interfaith Center would be much better.

Aug. 03 2010 09:44 PM
David W. Ray (SC) from South Carolina

David in NY

The problem is not the building. It is the fact that there belief is against all the Christians believe in. The Koran tells that all non belivers are to be killed. That includes you, and me. All Americans.
The ones that killed all the people in 9-11 were belivers in the Koran and were Muslims. Would you trade the Bible for the Koran ? Would you trade your way of living to be a Muslim ? I hope not.

Aug. 03 2010 09:28 PM
David W. Ray (SC) from South Carolina

divine comedy from NYC

TRUE CHRISTIANS are not that way. I have been around True Christians and
Hippocrates. Dont count out the good because of the bad.
There are some Good ones out there.

Aug. 03 2010 09:20 PM
David W. Ray (SC) from South Carolina

MARY FROM BUFFALO.

I take back what I said about ALL NY people.
You appear to have some sense. You must be a TRUE AMERICAN. Not like some of the others on here..
Thank You. Keep your eyes open and trust no one.
David

Aug. 03 2010 09:15 PM
David W. Ray (SC) from South Carolina

First off David from NY.
Lets put things in there proper place.
I am NOT a christian. SO, do not blame christians for MY Words.
I hate NO ONE. BUT I do hate those who kill AMERICANS. BUT, Worse than them I have lost NO LOVE for people like you. I have pride in the TRUE AMERICAN people . Not for people who are so foolish to believe the TRUE MUSLIMS are your friend. They are using you , and winning.
You can say what you want to about me but in the long run it is you that will be sorry. Open your eyes.
If you take all your mayor says as truth than you are not very wise or smart.

Aug. 03 2010 09:11 PM
mary from buffalo


To David, SC, disabled vet:

Thank you for protecting our country. I am praying for you and your loved ones.

God bless you.

Aug. 03 2010 07:36 PM
divine comedy from NYC

I think all religious and spiritual institutions should be shut down, starting in NYC. Obviously they originate opposition and hatred against one another.

Aug. 03 2010 07:17 PM
David in NY

I do hope that David Ray and Mary from Buffalo have read the Mayor's wonderful speech. I suspect they have not. This is the Mayor's answer to people like them, who put fear and hatred above allegiance to our own Constitution and who do not have faith that our country can survive without betraying its finest ideals.

As the Mayor said:

“The simple fact is, this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship, and the government has no right whatsoever to deny that right. And if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

“Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question: Should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here.

“This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions or favor one over another. The World Trade Center site will forever hold a special place in our city, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans if we said no to a mosque in lower Manhattan."

Mary and David know nothing about our Muslim neighbors who want to put up this cultural center and mosque. Yet they seem to hate them without even finding out who they are. This is surely un-American, and, indeed, un-Christian. They should read the Mayor's entire speech and take its hopeful and charitable message to heart. We in this city reject hate, and respect the Constitution.

Aug. 03 2010 07:11 PM
David W. Ray (SC) from South Carolina

Bob Moore from Tribeca, New York NY and David in NY.
You need to learn what the Muslims have in store for the AMERICAN people. They consider ALL of US as Infidels and the KORAN tells them to KILL ALL INFIDELS. That is US. Will you allow the Muslims to build a ( CHURCH ) that teaches its followers to kill us ?
If so, you need your head examined.
What I as saying is true. Check it out and I believe you will change your thoughts and your Heart.

Aug. 03 2010 06:39 PM
David W. Ray (SC) from South Carolina

To the people of New York.

America has been through a lot of wars and many disasters
both man made and through nature, but, never has America
been disgraced. Until Now.
I can not believe the people of New York and the family
of those murdered in the Twin Towers and those in the airplanes have DISGRACED and DISHONORED America by letting
those Muslim terrorist, build a Mosque in America, much less near Ground Zero.
You New Yorkers have DISGRACED there memory. You have
DISGRACED AMERICA and DISHONORED GOD.
If you have ANY PRIDE left you will stop these Muslims no
matter what you have to do. You will put yourselves in the
way of the builders and stop there building.
If you do not , you do not deserve to live in AMERICA and you should leave AMERICA .

BUT--- If you want this stopped all you have to do is put
out the word to ALL TRUE BORN AMERICANS that you need help to stop
this and WE (I) WILL COME and help. WE will not let them
take AMERICA not them or our own Government.
If you are a TRUE BORN AMERICAN then STOP them.
If not, then prepare for the worst. It is soon to come.
It may come from our own Government. What
a shame. If you think this is being racist you are right. I hate any race that will try to take our FREEDOM and AMERICA away from us. That goes for any SO-SO- Muslim Loving Americans.
I hate to see what GOD has in store for New York. You deserve it.

Hang in there Winston Court from USA, Stockton, CA , You are right on the mark.

David. (Disabled American Vet )

Aug. 03 2010 06:27 PM
mary from buffalo

To David:

I am a retired teacher. I taught American History including the Constitution.

Aug. 03 2010 06:04 PM
Bob Moore from Tribeca, New York NY

It does seem significant that so many of the opponents of this community center, (it is not a mosque any more than the 92nd Street Y is a synagogue) are not from the locality, many not even from the State. As one who lives just a few yards from the site, I am very happy that this building will get the go ahead. It will be an asset to the community, it is to be managed by an ecumenical board encompassing all religions and will go some way to trying to ensure that we all get along and understand one another. I agree with the Mayor that this is what New York and America is all about.

Aug. 03 2010 05:27 PM
David in NY

I don't see that it is the Muslims who are having trouble "learn[ing] the true meaning of the U.S. as is setup in our Constitution." The Constitution's First Amendment guarantees everyone in this country -- Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian -- "the Free Exercise of Religion." Surely erecting a Synagogue, Temple, Church or Mosque is the "free exercise" of one's religion and is protected by that Constitution. The government has no more right to forbid the building of this mosque than it does to forbid the building of a cathedral.

I do wish those who talk about the Constitution would learn a little about it.

Aug. 03 2010 05:21 PM
mary from buffalo


Were any families of the victims of 9/ll at the meeting with Bloomberg, Quinn and several religious leaders?

Christine, it would be nice if the Muslims could learn the true meaning of the U.S. as is setup in our Constitution. (And many Americans need to re-learn the Constitution).

Aug. 03 2010 04:54 PM
Winston Court from USA, Stockton, CA

This is a slap in the face to everyone who lost someone in the 911 tragedy, and more, much, much more. It is a slap in the face to every American Citizen. It is a slap in the face to our forefathers. It is a slap in the face to all who have fought and died to keep American safe and free. It is TREASON. Until the day that those aiding the powers, both foreign and domestic, who pose threats to the USA are hung we will not cease to work to bring these traitors to justice.

Aug. 03 2010 04:29 PM

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