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. Yahwh1

    N and Nick – do you realize that Joseph Smith of the Mormon faith claimed to be the last prophet of God – why don't you put your allegiance to him rather than Mohamed – is the Mormon faith less credible???. When I ask Muslims about Joseph Smith – they say "who"? The Mormon faith is another example of a false prophet proclaiming himself a prophet and was never prophesied in the Bible.

    I am a believer in Jesus Christ – The First and The Last – The One True God!!

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

      You are a believer in a man whom you take for a god, what kind of god has filth in him and goes to relieve himself when nature calls.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John B

    Simply put. Choosing to build on this site instead of simply moving to a new location tells everyone that THEY DO NOT WANT A PEACEFUL CENTER. Shoving it down New York (and thus the US) throats does nothing but create strife. Strife seems to be a way of life for some Muslims....the ones we call radicals. I agree that they have the right to build it there...legally...but what is WRONG with you people that you can't see the strife you are causing? ....or do you see it and are happy for it? I'm really beginning to think the latter...and that this "center for peace" as I've heard some call it should be denied based on the fact that you don't seem to understand what peace is.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Burn it to the ground

    No one is saying they can't build this mosque so you people screaming First Amendment violation can shut it now. This Imam's refusal to move it proves this for what it really is. A memorial for the MURDERERS of 9/11. Why can't he move it 3 or 4 miles down the road? Because there is an alterior motive here. I for one HATE the Islamic religion. Not the muslim people, the religion. I have a muslim coworker that is a very good person. I asked him one day about it and he is excited about this mosque. However, he agrees that this is not the appropriate location. This Imam claims it is to build bridges. Building bridges is not about upsetting people and spitting in their face. Moving it down the road would cause them no discomfort or inconvenience. All you supporters of this mosque take a step back and SERIOUSLY think about this. If you had a love one die, a father, mother, brother, or sister, would you want this lurking over you as you visit ground zero to honor your loved one's memory? Be honest with yourself and throw politics out of the equation for once. If you say yes you are a liar. It is a memorial for MURDERERS and nothing more. His refusal to move proves that.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jaleel

      You make a lot of sense, now let's take all churches for memorial to the almost extermination of the Native and only true Americans.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sonny Trinh

    Even though I live in Canada, I am very outrageous toward president Obama not to stand up for 911 victims and Americans as the whole. He does not have human decency at all. All he wants is to have another award from some stupid countries. Obama should be impreached out of his office. Americans should stand up and show that you are the boss and not let Muslims go too far before they take over your country and over the civilization and the world. Don't you get it at all?

    August 18, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. N

    All you haters are miss informed. Please read up. IT IS NOT A MOSQUE!!!!!!!!! It is a community center which will serve the MUSLIMS AND NON-MUSLIMS. IT WELCOMES NON-MUSLIMS... God some of you people are just ignorant. Please get a clue. You let the media formulate your thoughts. Think for yourselves!

    August 18, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burn it to the ground

      Please tell me you are not this stupid.

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

      N some people need to learn how to interact with people, even the ones that they disagree with, with out insulting them. Try to be respectful. Treat people with the same respect and dignity that you want to be treated with. Stop insulting people and stop calling them names.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Art H

      I would welcome a chain of such inter-faith "community centers" to be built around the world, starting with one in Mecca/Medina and then introducing others elsewhere, including in say New York. Agree ?

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

      I know... I guess people selectively skipped over the part about this center having a restaurant, pool, gym, theatre, and culinary center. JEeeeeeez! People want to be angry about something, I guess you can't stop em' from being angry.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mary

    Excuse me.... separation of church and state?

    August 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sniffit

    Conservative demogogues and spineless liberals who capitulate to their nonsense deserve nothing more than to be laughed at for this entire nonsensical "controversy"...proof:

    http ://

    August 18, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John B

    Here's a suggestion...

    Eminent Domain. I say New York needs the land for a bus terminal. There is one a few blocks away but I think we need another one.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sniffit

      As an eminent domain attorney, I can assure you that exercising the power of eminent domain because "it's insulting and hurts peoples' feelings if you build an Islamic community center near Ground Zero" does not and will never satisfy the requirement that the taking be for a valid public purpose. NEVER. Not gonna happen even with the 5-4 conservative SCOTUS. Even those 5 are not that stupid, biased or corrupt.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sniffit

      BTW...false superficial purposes used to cover up politically motivated takings to prevent an unpopular but legal project are consistently held to be bad faith takings...but if you'd like the city and state of NY to be spending millions on the lawsuits that such nonsense will cause, keep pushing your stupid idea.

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

      @Sniffit: LOL. Although Thomas would file a dissent, anyway.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. aubrie

    I have a few varying thoughts on this. First, allowing this mosque is just inviting violence and aggression. SO MANY people are against it on principle. Does New York not see that this will cost them dearly in lives, property damage and security? With the level of anger leveled at this place, there will be attacks on the members and the building itself. My question would be why would these Muslims set themselves up for this? Simply, to start a war. It would give them reason to further the aggression and ugliness. We must head this off before it starts. Second. I hear all the time that Muslims as SO PEACEFUL and that islam is about peace. Yeah right. If they are so peace loving and caring, they would say to themselves, "Gee, this mosque is hurting peoples feelings. It's a sensitive area, and since we are peace loving, maybe we should set a good example for all of islam and not build it here. To set this example would go a long way to reducing the distrust, fear and anger these people are feeling." Have they done this? NO. Will they ever? NO. There are major alterior motives here, and you would have to be retarded not to see it.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sonny Trinh

      Hi Aubrie, your comment is very well said and you seem to be very smart too.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |

    Instead of building the mosque, why not donate that money for flood relief in Pakistan.
    People suffering in Pakistan should be in our prayers too.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sonny Trinh

      No Thank you. I would not even donate my dog food for these ilamic countries.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. N

    Burn it to the ground...Why don't you read stuff that is not given to you by the right wing. IT IS NOT A MOSQUE. IT IS A COMMUNITY CENTER THAT HAS PRAYER ROOMS AND IT DOES WELCOME NON-MUSLIMS

    August 18, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burn it to the ground

      LOL. I'm Independent. And yes, there is a worship center in this thing. They calling it something different? And I am sure they would welcome a Jewish person into there with open arms. Get a clue buddy. If it was truly over building relations, they wouldn't have a problem moving this 3 or 4 miles. I for one lost a cousin in 9/11, if you had lost someone you would feel different.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      it is a community center, with a mosque that overlooks the footprint of the WTC. It will accommodate 2,000 worshipers. calling it simply a "community center with a prater room" is putting a sugar coated spin on it.

      August 18, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. john f.

    Islam accounts for 25% of the world population. Anyone making generalizations is completely misinformed. This is America; we are now a thriving multi-cultural society. Equal rights for all!

    August 18, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bdkennedy1

    This is not about religious freedom. This is about building something in an area where people don't want it. If that mosque were to be a Walmart, this would still be an issue the same as it would be in any other city or town that wouldn't want it.

    It is absolutely apparent that most Muslims don't give a damn about American sensitivity to this issue. Americans aren't just mad, they are furious. And if construction does start, then I think this developer is going to have other problems to worry about from certain people that would like to see it gone.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jaleel

      I'll take you seriously when I hear complains about the strip club 3 blocks away from ground zero. Soooo hypocrite!

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

      You're missing the point. Up until the talk shows got their hands on the subject, the people DID want it. OVERWHELMINGLY SO!! How do you think the land got purchased, the zoning got approved, etc.? This isn't something that just started yesterday. This has been YEARS in the making. It's just that now, people who live outside of NYC and those who can make political gains have stirred up the hornets nest.

      Do you think Mayor Bloomberg is an idiot? Do you really think he would let something like this proceed if it was going to be used as an Al-Queda recruiting station? Don't you think he considered the families directly impacted by 9/11, many of whom put him into office?

      Or do you think you know more about NYC? What's more likely ... that NYC forgot about 9/11, or that this non-story is great for inflaming people?

      August 18, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. westcoastkid

    I'm neutral at this point on the New York mosque controversy, however: here in san Diego county we have our own mosque dustup. It seems that there are plans to build a mosque in the small rural town of Temecula (conservative and republican), north of San Diego.

    Last evening (8-18-10) I watched an interview on San Diego television of the pastor of the local Baptist church who is adamantly opposed to building the structure. It seems the mosque is to be built across the street from the pastors church. One of his main criticisms of the plans, along with the usual objections, is that he and his parishioners will have to "look at it (the mosque) when they join together to worship."

    I almost fell out of my chair as I listened to that sound bite of the pastors reasoning for not having the mosque at that location. The venom is spreading.

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

      Newsflash: the venom was already there and already existed. The election of a black man as POTUS, the GOP/right wing's 2 year stint of rabid demogoguery and the upcoming November elections has just encouraged all th ebigots, racists and xenophobes that live among us to start spitting the venom more publicly. They're desperate and for some reason...perhaps because the media entertains their nonsense without any critical thought...they think it's become more acceptable to channel Hitler's theories about the Jews against the Muslims. Go Google some of Hitlers speaches and insert "America" where he says "Germany" and "Muslims" where he says "the Jews" and you'd swear you were listening to today's right wing extremists.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Art H

      Agreed. And the only way to defuse the "venom" is for the "moderate" muslims to stand up and demand that Christian churches be freely built in places like Mecca/Medina (google what these are) and other places around the areas with majority Islamic populations. Than, merely trying to build mosques in areas that are fundamentally Christian in character.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sniffit

      Ignorant conservatives hate Google and Wikipedia because it ruins their ability to live in a fantasy world and convince others to join them. There are many large, beautiful Christian churches in Indoneisia, Syria, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria, etc etc...the list goes on. Zip up your lips...your ignorance is hanging out.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. N

    frogman....So why not treat the American muslims with the dignity and respect they deserve. They are 1st, 2nd 3rd generation American Muslims who work with us everday and contribute to American yet a lot of you on here don't want them to build a youth center that will bring employment into that area and revitlize the community around WTC? Why do these American Muslims have to bear the burden of guilt and made feel less American when they had nothing to do with the sickos' who performed the terrible acts on 9/11. Muslims are part of the community and have been for decades. I just don't understand why there is so much hate for people who did nothing to hurt you? Why are they subject to be scared or harassed when they are as American as you or I? Why must they give in?

    August 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • frogman

      N, I agree with you that our Muslim brothers and sisters should be treated with the same respect and dignity as any other American. And I agree with you that it is wrong and foolish to blame all Muslims for the 9/11 attacks and all of the other atrocities committed by Muslims but I also think that it is reasonable to expect Muslims to demonstrate respect for the dignity of the families of the 9/11 victims who are overwhelmingly opposed to the Community Center as are 26% of the people of New York. It seems to me that while the Muslims have every legal right to build their Community Center that the morally right thing to do and the gracious thing to do is to not build it. I ask you to consider which would provide more healing between the Muslim and non Muslim people of New York, for the Muslims to build the Center against the desires of their neighbors or to make a conciliatory gesture to their fellow New Yorkers and build it elsewhere.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Innocent Muslims died on 9/11 also, and Muslims were among the first responders. Shouldn't we respect them too?

      August 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28