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. Arff Arff

    I say, let the city of NY vote on this (as in, the residents of NYC, not just the pocket greasing, hands tied developers and politicians) and then you'll have your answer.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. Melanie

    America's political correctness and fairness of all races and religions is what caught us nicely off guard and blown up in 1993 and in 2001 at WTC by the hands of these "extreme" muslims that probably pretended to be modern muslims hiding and pretending to be doing a good deed of prayer in these mosques. I don't think America is spending too much time on this subject and probably not enough.
    PLEASE REMEMBER: Quote, "In October of 1995 Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, a blind cleric who preached at mosques in Brooklyn and Jersey City, was sentenced to life for masterminding the bombing.....courtesy of"

    I and probably many other Americans including Americanized Muslims would hate to see this type of disaster happen again on American soil because of America's "political correctness", when do we start putting commonsense before "political correctness".....when it is too late? If Americans (of all races, religions and political affiliations) don't take a stand for something (that is right, not for rights), then we all fall together for anything!!

    August 18, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      YOu need a lesson in history – we weren't attacked because of "political correctness." We were attacked because of imperialistic goals in places like Afghnaistan, where the CIA recruited radicals to scarifice themselves to be a thorn in the side of the Soviet Union. In other words, we treated religious folks as cannon fodder. And a few of them resented that, and wanted to exact revenge because America supported brutal regimes all over the Middle East (like Sadaam) because it met our foreign policy objectives and ensured a supply of oil. Sheez – is there a single free thinker in all of conservatism? Or is ignorance always required?

      August 18, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • frogman

      Hi Melanie, Marc is very passionate and well intentioned but either hates America or needs to do his homework. He's right to imply that we took advantage of the Afghans when they were fighting the Soviets but they were very happy to de taken advantage of. We gave them the weapons and supplies that made it possible to defeat the Soviets and to drive them out of their country.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      @frogman – Nice try. I am better informed than you. Do you have to defend all who share your ignorant worldview from those who have a broader view? Note that I didn't condone militant respoinse or speak to justifiability – I merely pointed out that foreign perception has NOTHING to do with political correctness. And if you believe you are doing ANYONE a service by trying to keep them in the dark, you are a moron. Pure and simple. Got it, Miss Manners?

      August 18, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melanie

      Thanks frogman (Miss Manners) you are very kind 🙂 !!
      I'm glad I found someone (Marc/Mr. Knowitall) with all the answers to this to this issue. I will go to him when I am ready for my next history lesson, or when I feel that I need to be scolded or talked down to!!

      August 18, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. frogman

    westcoastkid, your right Catholic priests are doing terrible things and the pope is covering it up. But remember it wasn't just the Catholics who killed the native people and stole their land in what is today the United States it was the Protestants. The people who came here for religious freedom denied it to others. But are you saying that two wrongs make a right? Because the ancestors of Western European Christians committed atrocities Muslims have a license to commit atrocities today? Because if that is your argument I'll remind you that the ancestors of todays Muslims also committed atrocities often against Western European Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Baha'i and of course against each other. History is a wash in blood. We have all done terrible things that's why I think we should stick with the present.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. t-olives

    Why is the Govenor even considering giving them state-owned land as an alternative? Because deep in the hearts of Americans, it's a slap in the face. If the Muslim community has good intentions in building the mosque, why do they have to do it in that location? Why do they want to open a wound that has not actually healed yet? I am also a veteran and faced these people in the Middle East in the late 70's early 80's. Nothing has changed. The extremist Muslims will always hate us. Unfortunately, if they do build a Mosque near ground zero, it won't be long before some nut trys to destroy the building.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Hope

    The location is two blocks from Ground Zero. While blocks in lower Manhatten are significantly smaller than mid-town I'd like to know how far is far enough? Muslims do have have the monopoly on extremists who murder in the name of their religion. Every single religion has their fair share including Christians – Rudolf, McVeigh, Unabomber, etc. I find it more disgusting, more insulting, more degrading to those who lost their lives NINE years ago that NOTHING has been built at all. Ground Zero remains a horrendous hole in the ground with a chain link fence around it. There is no place for those who lost a loved one to go to reflect on the memories in peace and quiet. In Oklahoma City the Murrah building was torned down and the site is a memorial garden with a chair for each lost life. Ground Zero has nothing and you know why?? Because the ground is worth millions and millions and no one is willing to give up that kind of money. So for all those posters who are so outraged by a cultural center being built,not at ground zero, but two blocks away – why don't you direct your anger to the developers, land owners, etc holding the actual ground zero hostage because of the mighty dollar. JEEZ!

    August 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      What a great point. I have been saying consistently that a nice community center beats hell out of a closed Burlington Coat Factory. People are too willing to have their ignorance and bigotry validated, and too reluctant to use a few brain cells.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lynn

    If these people cared anything about the citizens of NY they would move their Mosque to another location. Its interesting that they waited all these years until after construction began on the Freedom Tower to try to get their mosque built.

    And what about the cost to the city to try and prevent nut jobs from blowing this mosque up? Someone will try and one will succeed and more lives will be lost. They should move their mosque as far away from Ground Zero as possible, otherwise they are just waisting their time and money having it built. We have plenty of our own home grown terrorists who will blow this place up eventually and just cause more hate, anger and division. I understand why they want this site, but it's just plain stupid for them to build it right there. I hope they (the developers) reconsider this location and think seriously about what they are trying to accomplish.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hope

    I meant to say that Muslims do NOT have a monopoly on extremists.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Beth

    Actually, this sounds like a pretty cool facility. I wonder if people other than Muslims can attend the theater, culinary school, gym, etc. If this becomes a facility that is has multi ethnic and multi national membership than all the better!!

    August 18, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • N

      Beth...This center is for Muslims and Non-Muslims

      August 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Art H

      I would have agreed if this had absolutely no "Islamic" or "Muslim" connotation in either name or spirit and was truly an inter-faith center. However, that is NOT what this is. This is an Islamic center, right in the thick of the 9/11 carnage.

      I would welcome having such a welcoming inter-faith center, right in the heart of the Islamic Mecca and Medina. THAT, is a graceful gesture. Not trying to setup a mosque, under various pretenses, right in the heart of where the 9/11 carnage occured.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MrHanson

    Read it. Get educated.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Zipper180

    "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."

    Unitl some redneck drives a MAC Truck through it.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sharon

    Our leaders may as well take down the American flag from the White House and replace it with the Islamic flag the very moment that mosque is built. This is not about a community center, this is about Islam and what is Islam stands for. Their sole purpose is to take over this country just as they've done all over Europe. But we'll settle, because that is what makes America. To bad we can't see that they're laughing in our face and we deserve it!

    August 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Art H

      Agreed completely, Sharon. They are laughing at our faces and flipping us the bird, while proceeding with this mosque building effort, right in the thick of the place where the 9/11 carnage occured.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JenniferNY

    I googled the meaning of Cordoba, thinking it sound more SPanish than Islamic...very curious as to why this is the chosen name of this project...
    City (pop., 2001: 308,072), capital of Córdoba province, southern Spain. On the banks of the Guadalquivir River, it probably had Carthaginian origins. Occupied by the Romans in 152 BC, it became, under Augustus, the capital of the Roman province of Baetica. It declined under the Visigoths (6th – 8th centuries AD), and it was captured by the Muslims in 711. Abd al-Rahman I, of the Umayyad family, made it his capital in 756 and founded the Great Mosque of Córdoba, which still stands. By the 10th century it was the largest city in Europe, filled with palaces and mosques. It fell to the Castilian king Ferdinand III in 1236 and became part of Christian Spain. Modern Córdoba's streets and buildings evoke its Moorish heritage.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yahwh1

      Jennifer, It is very clear to the true Christians why the name was chosen Cordova Project – it is a very clear message by the Moselms to let the world know they conquered that place as they did in Spain (although not permanently). However, the Moslems will not conquer forever – there is one who already did that and His name is Jesus Christ – who sits on the eternal throne and controls both Heaven and Earth. Jesus conquered sin by His death on the cross so put your faith in Him – now is the time because time is short on this Earth and then the Judgment. You may not understand this kind of talk because it is a spiritual thing, but we are all God breathed and came from God but not all will go back to God.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • jenniferny

      As a practicing Catholic, I'm well aware...and what you wrote is exactly what I was pointing out by posting this... it seems clear to most that the chosen site AND the name for this structure is meant to exemplify that this is conquered ground. As a Christian, I am taught to turn the other cheek and forgive... as a lifelong New Yorker living through 9/11, its aftermath and having many friends & family members lost and the dynamic of the place where I live forever changed, I cannot.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      JenniferNY: perhaps the name Cordoba was chosen because it was a city that actually allowed christians, jews, AND muslims to gather and worship without fear of prosecution. Unlike the rest of (christian) Europe, those who did not follow the official religion were not tortured, nor were they drawn and quartered or hung or burned at the stake.

      To many who actually study history and religion, Cordoba represents a time of actual interfaith tolerance. But if you cannot imagine muslims choosing that reason, go ahead and pretend it means conquest. The fact that you are wrong should not stop you from hating muslim, after all...

      August 18, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Art H

    I say if anything, the Islamic fellow who is pushing the creation of this mosque in the heart of the region impacted by the 9/11 carnage, should push a universal faith center, where Budhists and Christians and Hindus and Muslims would all be considered to be members, as atonement for the actions of their fellow Islamists on 9/11. That would be a graceful gesture.

    Trying to build a mosque, in the heart of the 9/11 carnage, may well be within his rights as a developer, but is seriously trying to rub salt into the wounds suffered by the country. I personally would deem that as a serious provocation, than a decent gesture.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jim

    Makes people hate Muslims even more! Ithink if they build it we should do non violent things to it so they will regret they ever build it. I'm told Muslims think pigs are evil and there afraid of even getting there blood on them. We should get a big group of people and fill balloons with pigs blood and just pepper that place. Or we could form a group and everyday we could have people outside surrounding that place protesting making it hard for anyone trying to get in. Again sense we don't have freedom of speech anymore I stress non voilent things. Were gonna have a world war against Muslims soon enough just wait...there evil people just look at the stoning that just happened. A man and woman fell in love and ran away to be together. The family convinced them to come home and it would-be ok. So 200 men mostly there family burried them up to there shoulders and then had a ton of fun . There own family??? Would you stone your daughter or son. Why wait nuke the middle east now!!!!!

    August 18, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Aubrey

    @ john, re: 'Please remind me when 11 Christian extremists hijacked multiple planes and flew them into the World Trade Center' :

    Seriously?.... Branch Davidians. Army of God. Lambs of Chirst. Concerned Christians. Hutaree. This list of AMERICAN Christan Fundamentalist/Terrorists goes on and on. Terrorism is not defined by the amount of casualties or the race/religion of those involved, you ignorant moron. Acts of terrorism are violent acts which are intended to create fear, and are perpetrated for a religious, political or ideological goal, and deliberately target or disregard the safety of civilians.

    It's precisely your kind of ridiculous thinking that tarnishes the American reputation in the first place.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
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