August 18th, 2010
09:20 AM ET

Reports: Site of Islamic Center up in air


Editor's note: New York Gov. David Paterson joins Larry King in his first interview about the Islamic cultural center controversy. "Larry King Live," 9 p.m. ET Wednesday on CNN.

New York Gov. David Paterson may meet with developers who had been pushing to build an Islamic center near ground zero.

Paterson is set to meet with the group this week to offer them state land to construct the controversial mosque at another location, according to CBS 2 and other news outlets.

However, New York 1 is reporting in an exclusive interview with the developer that he has no intention of budging. Sharif el-Gamal imagined what he hoped the center would mean in a story Tuesday. "A landmark, an iconic building that will have people come and visit it from around the world," he said. "This looks like it is going to be the most famous community center in the world."

The Islamic center's leaders say they plan to build the $100 million, 13-story facility called Cordoba House two blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks. El-Gamal has describe the project as an "Islamic community center" that would include a 500-seat performing arts center, a lecture hall, a swimming pool, a gym, a culinary school, a restaurant and a prayer space for Muslims.

iReport: What's your take on the issue?


Filed under: David Paterson • New York
soundoff (1,062 Responses)
  1. MxD

    "one nation under God" ....just sayin'

    August 18, 2010 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mike Cowan

    I am so glad I am Canadian

    August 18, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Debbie

    Building this mosque so close to where Muslims killed many people is a way for Muslims to feel they have won against us. When they quit hiding/protecting Bin Laden and hand him over, then that will show some respect and a mosque should be allowed but never that close to where they attacked us. I don't understand why one being built that close means so much to them. If they do build one does that mean they will kill all us infidels because we don't believe the way they do?

    August 18, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juju

      Debbie, you're making the DRASTIC mistake of thinking that just because there are Muslims who are terrorists, all Muslims (including New Yorker Muslims) are happy about what happened on 9/11.

      Please don't make that mistake. My Muslim neighbors hung American flags and held candlelight vigils at their mosque for what must have been two weeks every night after 9/11. There was a sense of sincere anguish–after all, they were New Yorkers, and people, too.

      Don't believe the idiocy you might hear on talk radio. Muslims don't all believe one thing. And the VAST vast majority of them don't support or condone terrorists. Especially American Muslims.

      Talk to one sometime. You'll change your mind, and fast. 😀

      August 18, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roland

      Juju, if so many people are making the "drastic"mistake of misjudging you, don't you think you should pause and reconsider ? Why are you guys strengthening Americans' "mistaken' opinion of you by your stubborn insensitivity to 9/11 victims ?

      August 18, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ron

    Whether Islam in general was responsible for 9/11 isn't really the point. The terrorists who did it, did so in the name of Islam. That alone makes this project a very bad idea.

    August 18, 2010 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoNotFWithTheJesus

      Funny.... thats how I feel about the Pope covering for pedophile preists that molest deaf children. The only difference is that the Pope is the official head of the Catholic church and Al Qaida is a terrorist group that doesn't really have any ties to the 1.6 billion people of Muslim faith.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sarah

    Any reasons I'd have for being opposed to this mosque would stem from fear and would be distasteful to express, so I have to ignore them. I usually ignore Sarah Palin as a rule because she seems to dislike the democratic structure of this country. I don't think Obama should have gotten involved by mentioning this issue in his speeches. He may have inadvertently made the dilemma seem more pressing than it really is. This is a matter for New York to handle, and it seems there's a good enough balance between supporters and opposition for the matter to be settled fairly without the American people, conservative or liberal, to be put through any further distress. There are bigger things happening in the world.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ficheye

    Why don't we just have a Chuck-e-Cheese, hold the pork, and have done with it? Are the muslims, as a religious body, guilty of 911? I'm not down with the official story. A lot of people aren't, but they are just too gutless to admit it. And can't admit THAT, either. As a nation we are done. Did we ever make it there, I wonder? Our amazing hubris cancelled out our original good intentions. Our own government has been responsible for far more death thatn the 911 tragedy, but never mind... it doesn't make for good entertainment, and isn't that what it's all about? Hmmmm?

    August 18, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Csense01

    If the 70% odd Americans are so "sensitive" to all Muslim things then why did they not boycott OIL IMPORTS from the MUSLIM countries immediately after 9/11? ......oh yeah that would be a tiny bit inconvenient wouldn't it. Once again hypocrisy and ignorance and bigotry rule the day in the US of A. Wouldn't it be interesting if the Muslim countries decided to raise the prices of oil as a result of this misguided opposition. The fact is that it was a terrorist attack by Laden, not the entire Muslim faith.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Juju

    This issue is just so completely black and white to me. It really astonishes me that people can actually oppose the building of this mosque.

    Freedom of Religion is what this country was FOUNDED ON. It's just fundamental to human rights.

    How can ANYONE rationally argue against that?

    August 18, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoNotFWithTheJesus

      hint: they're republicans!

      August 18, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roland

      DNFWTJ : Yes, 70% of the US is Republican – that's how Obama was elected.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Abdhullah

      Actually it's not Republican vs Democrat, it's uneducated vs educated. I'll let you guess which side is which 🙂

      August 18, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chris

    This is not about religious freedom - there are 100 mosques already built in NYC. Rather, it's about a symbolic coming into their own. While I can support peace-loving Sufi Muslims, especially against extremist, the building of this mosque so close to WTC site will be viewed throughout the Muslim world as an encouraging sign of the ascendancy of Islam over the West. If those Sufi Muslims really want to spread peace and love, they would volunteer to move their proposed mosque several blocks away from it's proposed location as a goodwill gesture to those who lost loved ones at the WTC site. They would still build their center (which is a good thing), but they would also respect the genuine feelings of their fellow New Yorkers. It's called compromise ... which is the adult thing to do.

    August 19, 2010 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      There are 200 mosques in the NYC area. And 800,000 Muslims living in the NYC area. So that's 4,000 Muslims per mosque. How many churches do you know that can handle 4,000 parishioners?

      Muslims lost 70 loved ones in the towers. I realize Muslims don't count as humans to a lot of people, but the pain of 9/11 was a pain of all Americans, not of a specific religion vs a specific religion.

      There's no mosques any further south on Lower Manhattan. The Muslim equivalent of Sunday services is Friday evening prayers. Does every Muslim living and working in Lower Manhattan need to commute up to a mosque outside of the Ground Zero Religious Freedom Restriction Zone, during rush hour on a Friday in NYC?

      August 19, 2010 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
  10. Muslimah

    I would first like to say that I am a Muslim and also a proud American. I do not necessarily agree with building a mosque so close to Ground Zero, however it seems that as a whole, the center will benefit the entire community, not just Muslims.
    What I don't like though, is all the hate being spread over this situation. HATE no matter what the situation, does not solve any problem.
    I am a Muslim, I am not oppressed, I am not hateful, I do not wish to harm or hurt anyone of any race, color, creed, or belief.
    My Islam is misunderstood and widely critized for exactly what it is not.
    I don't wish to convert anyone, I just wish that the average American could see Islam for what it is... which is Peace. There is not hate in the Quran.... try reading it sometime.

    I understand the hurt of 9/11 .... i too was hurt and felt such disgust on that day, but there is bad in all faiths... and I nor any other muslim deserve to be grouped together with a few bad apples. I don't judge Christians based on the terrible things I see Christian people doing on the news everyday. Neither do I judge all Jews for actions of a few.

    As human beings we owe each other enough respect to at least learn about someone else before judging them and blasting their faith and beliefs all over the internet.

    August 19, 2010 at 4:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Jamann

      Hate is preached in both the muslim and christian holy books. Let's burn them all and start letting common sense dictate instead of books of fiction.

      September 10, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  11. Q

    I totally agree with Muslimah. I am a muslim as well, although not an American citizen (from Asia) and after reading all of the comments posted, I can't believe the country I admire the most consists people that could be very bias and easy to generalize based on certain events. I know September 11th was one of the biggest tragedy that could happened not only in America but also the entire world. It's pretty obvious there are evidence that Muslims were behind those actions, but let me get this straight, we all know not all Muslims were behind it. Just because Islam is well known of its strict rules in middle east but that doesn't mean that all the Muslims in the entire world are the same. I'm also sure that some of you Americans encounter Muslims who aren't extremist and find them normal. There are liberal Muslims around the world who still practice and follow Islam yet still maintaining an 'unbarbaric' lifestyle. You may say "Why not build a church near Mecca?", and we all know it is prohibited to do so. We also know that America is the Land of Freedom and building a house of worship legally approved by the government itself is not actually a problem. Then What is the Issue here? Because it will be build near the Ground Zero location. Let me emphasize 'near'. Not exactly on it people. And it's not just a house of worship, it is a community centre that could help the citizen not only the Muslims but the Non Muslims. To those who lost their family members in the tragedy, I'm sure they won't just bask in grieve and would want to move on from their lives. Don't use them as an argument point just to cover up your hatred. I believe in the Principe where "If we haven't done anything wrong, there's nothing to be afraid about". I believe Sharif el-Gammal is still a human being and acknowledge all of the opposed statements. He hasn't done anything wrong, he got the land legally, he went through the same process like everyone else to get it approved and now it is approved it shows that the government is thinking with their heads not their hearts. Facts, not emotions, based on the First Amendment, what more do you want? If I can suggest something, perhaps they should just change the date, not the location.
    Peace.

    August 20, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jasmine1

    I hope that all the people who see no problem with this satanic mosque being built anywhere in America should be sent to live in Iraq or Iran. They are murdereres and dont deserve any rights or sympathy!! They kill their own people and torture and abuse their women. Toughen up America and just say NO to any idea these people have. They are liars and cannot be trusted!!!

    September 9, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. oblahma

    Fox News is reporting the imam has DECLINED Trumps offer to purchase the land.

    September 9, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jamann

    Also, to those shouting about first amendment rights, do you think this pastor in FL should be allowed to burn the Koran (or however it's being spelled today)? It is freedom of speech. Want to have a little fun? Look up the muslim world's reaction to the mere idea. Go ahead, look it up. People are rioting in the streets and nothing has even happened yet. Remember the cartoonist who drew a picture of Muhammed? The muslim world was screaming for his head...literally. Religion of peace my ass...

    September 10, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
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