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. erica

    yeah – how about NOT in NYC? idiots...

    August 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. N

    Art H....Other countries have their problems. This is the good Ol US of A where building Centers or Mosque are allowed as long as you follow the laws. We have no control over what another country allows. That is why we are the greatest nation in the world, no?

    August 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Art H

      I am not questioning the legal right to build. I am questioning the motive here. Trying to build a Mosque (or call it an Islamic Center or an Inter-faith center if you will), right where the 9/11 carnage occured, does not meet the smell test, to be quite frank.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. frogman

    N, Do you think that non Muslims men and women will be able to mix freely as we do in the west or will they be compelled to comply with Sharia? Will western women be compelled to cover their hair. I mean if this Community Center is for everyone than shouldn't everyones values be respected?

    August 18, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gpt700

    Hey CNN where is the story of the the illegal bias behavior that is going on here??? St. Nicolas was an existing Greek Orthox Church 2 blocks from ground zero yet AFTER 8 yrs of red tape they are denied to rebuild?? Yet within weeks a Islamic Mosque is permitted to build?? Who is repsonsible for this CLEAR violation of religious bias. Does OBAMA feel the same way of relgious freedom when a Christian church has had its rights trampled??? Try to do some actual reporting!

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

      Any time I hear some crazy and patently one-sided meme repeated constantly by right-wing types, I know that when I look into it, it will have started as a FOX story. You're a well trained little dog aren't you, barking when the master whistles? What you and your fellow automatons are ignoring is the fact that the Islamic community center will be paid for entirely by private money, but the Greek Orthodox church is looking for a government handout to rebuild. From the FOX News article on the topic:

      "Arey was referring to the address, about 100 yards away from the original site, where the government earlier proposed relocating the church. The Port Authority and the church announced a deal in July 2008 under which the Port Authority would grant land and up to $20 million to help rebuild the church - in addition, the authority was willing to pay up to $40 million to construct a bomb-proof platform underneath.

      Within a year, the deal fell through and talks ended - apparently for good, according to the Port Authority.

      The archdiocese and Port Authority now offer sharply conflicting accounts of where things went wrong. The Port Authority has previously claimed the church was making additional demands - like wanting the $20 million up front and wanting to review plans for the surrounding area. They say the church can still proceed on its own if it wishes.

      "The church continues to have the right to rebuild at their original site, and we will pay fair market value for the underground space beneath that building," a spokesperson with the Port Authority told Fox News.

      But Arey said the original site is no good. Archdiocese officials disputed the Port Authority's claims, saying the church has complied with all conditions. "

      So, $60 million in taxpayer money is what they want. Compared to the Muslims, who want $0 in taxpayer money. And the church could still rebuild at its original site, except that they just plain don't want to. But you want to equate this to private citizens using private money to build a private community center on private land? Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

      Search Google Maps for "Greek Orthodox" churches in NYC, then search for mosques in NYC. Lots more of one than the other.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      @ John. WRONG Sir. Please, at least know what you are talking about before you make a long winded post. There are 0 tax dollars at stake here. Financially, the Port Authority has no power to tax and does not receive tax money from any local or state governments. Instead, it operates on the revenues it makes from its rents, tolls, fees, and facilities.

      August 18, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Doesn't change that they're expect a government agency to hand them $60,000,000 to rebuild at a different site and refusing to build at the original site with their own money, when the Muslims are looking for a government agency to hand them $0 to build at a site that they already own.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jaxiwest

    This is old news – a week old. Gov Paterson already met with them and asked them and they said no last week. Why are you reporting this now?

    August 18, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. N

    Burn it to the ground..... I lost 2 people that are very close to me. 1 in the trade center and 1 in the pentagon. And yet I don't have hate towards muslims. These were extremist who think they practiced Islam when in fact Islam does not teach violence.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burn it to the ground

      LOL. No you didn't. You can tell by your posts you are the kind to say anything to get a point across. And if you did i sympathize and just do not understand how you can crap on your loved ones grave. Shameful

      August 18, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Saad Hasan

    To John...Christian extremists have done far worse...genocide of Muslims in Bosnia, invasion of Iraq, support of Israeli occupation and subjugation as well as apartheid against the Palestinians...

    August 18, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. boomer

    I never will forget how I felt the morning of 9/11. They can build their mosque...just not in the shadow of the towers. That is sacred ground for every American. We should NEVER forget what happened there and who did it.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. E.Watson

    We lost over 4,000 lives in an Islamic country fighting for the freedom of those people (after the big lie). Yet to build a community center(by leaders of the Islamic faith) for all people to use in New York has become a issue because of the hatred by our own extremist is adsurd. We are fast becoming a Third World Country wheather you like it or not.
    The proposed building is not at ground zero (approx 4-6 blocks away). Goverment and those holding office should stay
    out of the debate. Stop one project and I hate to think what follows for future regilous projects that a few do not like.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Patty

    Here is what I taught my young children when they came to me about an issue at school, problem with a friend, etc:
    Close your eyes
    Change the names of the people involved to be replaced by your name, your religion, your issue, etc.
    Look at it from the other side.
    After a few minutes I asked, how do you feel about the issue now?
    This exercise resulted in a reasonable result for both sides of the issue.

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

    There are those who ask if Saudi Arabia will allow building of a church in Makkah.
    The quick answer, of course, is NO. And the reason is Saudi Arabia is not the United States and, the
    United States, thank God, is not Saudi Arabia!

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

    Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, was one of the key financiers behind May's violent "aid" flotilla to Gaza, is also the same Muslim cleric proposing the construction of the enormous mosque or (community center) close to where New York's World Trade Center once stood. Smells fishy to me!

    August 18, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Art H

      Sorry, as a person who absolutely opposes the creation of this mosque in New York, I absolutely support the flotilla in Gaza, since that was to bring solace and succour to suffering people who have literally been caged in the tiny land they are stuck in. That includes moderate muslims and also a significant Christian population of Gaza. The Israelis don't make a distinction between Palestinian Christians or Muslims, when they do what they do in Gaza or the West Bank.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. andrew

    people forget we're not at war with islam, we're at war with al-qaeda. they're building a mosque, not a giant statue of osama bin laden urinating on the american flag. but sadly, some americans might not be able to see a difference between the two.

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

      yes thats right, but sadly the two are more connected than your simple eyes will ever let you see

      The muslim religion is a joke. A frikkin joke

      If your religion can somehow be twisted into thinking its holy to blow up innocent women and children then I think you lose your right to religion in this country.

      Sorry, but thats the way it should be

      God is a jealous God, and he wont stand for this much longer. Trust me

      August 18, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • andrew

      zeek, you may think islam is a joke. but its still a religion. and their ablility to build the mosque there is protected under the 1st amendment. and if you think that about islam, why don't you try getting to know some muslim people. they're nice, wecoming people that go to work, pay taxes, stay out of trouble, raise families, and contribute to our society

      August 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Burn it to the ground

    When this thing is eradicated I say we build a memorial in its place. (We will call it a community center though)

    August 18, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Gpt700

    All this reporting of Muslim bias and how unfair this isamic mosque should be permitted to build. But wait...It turns out St Nicolas, a Greek Orthox Church, (which was the only church to actually be destryed due to the alltack of 9/11 yet they ahve waited eight long yrs to only be DENIED!!! I wonder if Obama has the same view of their religous rights and freedoms before this came to light! How did THE Mosque get such fast approval when an existing place fo worship (Christian) ahs languished for years??? How is to blame for the illegal bias?

    August 18, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
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