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. zeek

    FYI- Muslims dont want to be a part of American society, they want to take over, and change us into a barbaric community that will strip away womens rights, religious freedom, etc.

    Say what you want, but this has happened EVERYWHERE that muslims rule.

    This religion is a huge FAIL.

    muslims= joke

    im so over all of this

    August 18, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • N

      LOL... This might be one of the funniest things I've read in a while. Surely you are not that misinformed?

      August 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cynthia

    All I have to say is that a site any where near ground zero for a mosque is just totally inappropriate. Why there?

    August 18, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. N

    Art H.... I don't know what to tell you but they are referring to it as Park51.

    Park51 will grow into a world-class community center, planned to include the following facilities:

    * outstanding recreation spaces and fitness facilities (swimming pool, gym, basketball court)
    * a 500-seat auditorium
    * a restaurant and culinary school
    * cultural amenities including exhibitions
    * education programs
    * a library, reading room and art studios
    * childcare services
    * a mosque, intended to be run separately from Park51 but open to and accessible to all members, visitors and our New York community
    * a September 11th memorial and quiet contemplation space, open to all

    it even has a Sept 11 memorial for *ALL*

    August 18, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JaneS.

    People need to remember that not all those who are muslim are terrorists. All religions have their extremists, christianity is not exempt from this either eg: the inquisition. yes it may have occurred way back in history but it happened nonetheless. Clearly the idea of building a mosque is incurring more issue than need be. Maybe instead of building any religious center on the spot the people should agree to build a memorial that holds no religion above the other. the point of that site to remember what and who we lost and to look forward to building a future where something like this never happens again.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sZAH

    Whatever happened to the idea that we love each other as Jesus has loved us....as Christians, you should all be ashamed. Every religion has crazys – thats the way it is. This is America – we were founded on the basis of religious freedom. I agree with someone before – have you ever been to NYC and know how big a block actually is? 5 blocks from ground zero is not ground zero – its NYC. Regardless, it is not up to the government to say where these people what to build their place of worship. It is public land. Its disgusting that, especially people that call themselves Christian, are judging people. We are not supposed to do that. The only person that can judge is God. Allah is God too – just by a different name. Some of you really need to learn ALOT more before you start preaching what you've taken in from FOX NEWS, GLENN BECK, Limbaugh or any of the other idiots like that that dont have their facts straight. Open a history book and read up on what Christians have done – the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition – where Christians KILLED in the name of Christ. Grow up people. The only people that this directly effects are the people that live there – and they dont care that a mosque is being built. Its all these other idiots that have to put their 2 cents in. New Yorkers & Downstaters accept people for whatever religion that they are – they are not afraid. Cause they understand that it was stupid people that did the 9-11 attacks, not a religion. Do any of you actually know people that died there? I know too many. Why? Cause i'm a downstater. We understand things a bit differently. Open a history book and turn off Fox Noise.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • zeek

      Ok so you knowt he part in the Bible where Jesus talks about, "there will be no more prophets after me, many will come claiming they are of me, but they are from the devil.

      So, as a so called CHRISTIAN, Im tired of being pushed around. Im not going to sit back and watch someone lead others astray.

      If you forget, Jesus was a rebel. He didnt take any crap. I think we have completely false views of Jesus and his message

      August 18, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • zeek

      Oh geez, another freaking FOX news bash. Get a life.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burn it to the ground

      LMAO. I am independent so this doesn't fly with me but i have to admit. When people post about Fox news and talk about propaganda and everything it makes me laugh to the point of tears. The people who say that are SO stupid they don't even realize that they listen to the same thing. Yes, Fox is to the right. But what about cnn, abc, msnbc? They are the EXACT same as fox just the other direction. What is the difference? Seriously take a step back and you see I'm right. LMAOOOOOOOOOO. wHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO BE A MERE SHEEP AND NOT THINK FOR YOURSELF LADY? LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      August 18, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. reaper

    This video should end the controversy:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUkcjAtzzcI

    August 18, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Yahwh1

    Jaleel – the kind God who loved you enough to take on the form of a man to die for my and your fifth the kind of God who created you in His image and likeness – the kind of God who cares for you enough to send His only Son to die for the sins of His world who didn't deserve it – the kind of God who desires you be reconciled back to Him rather then face eternity in darkness without Him – reason enough for Him to take on the form of a man who uses the bathroom and eats and drinks – we cannot understand in our human minds why a Holy God would take on the flesh of a man (and be born of a virgin) and die for our ungodliness but He did it anyway even if we do not comprehend this very special act of sacrafice. Fact is you need a a subsitute for sin and it only could be a sinless one who can take your dirt away to stand before a Holy God. Keep rejecting Him and He must reject you in Heaven. Read the Bible and get the Truth of The Holy One who created you.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dr Reality

    "A landmark, an iconic building that will have people come and visit it from around the world"

    Why is it going to be a world landmark unless it is a place to celebrate of 9/11? It's not like Islam preaches religious freedom.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kenji Sugahara

    This sounds like the Muslim version of a Salvation Army Kroc Center.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Donna

    Think of all the free publicity this is getting!

    While I don't have a problem with them building, I do think the location is not prime. I think that muslims should stand up and insist it be moved out of respect for the people and the US.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chris Sharino

    DO NOT YOU PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT THOSE WHO ARE BUILDING THIS MOSQUE HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TERRORISTS WHO DESTROYED THE TWIN TOWERS. It is really so simple a concept for a reasonable human brain to grasp.

    First, American and NY Muslims have denounced, condemned, and publicly rejected the 911 attacks on countless occasions. They themselves are fighting the terrorists in every way they can. There is simply nothing else that they can do to distance themselves from the terrorists. The people who are building this mosque are hard working Americans (just like you and me) who happen to be Muslims and who would like to peacefully practice their religion in Manhattan close to their homes and work.

    Second, for those who do not know this historic fact, the very name Cordoba House associates with the Great Mosque of Cordoba in Spain where in the 14th century Muslims created a civilization of tolerance, inclusion, and diversity of all religions unparalleled even in the modern world. They then built one of the largest mosques in the world and invited all faiths to pray there. For hundreds of years Christians, Jews and Muslims peacefully prayed according to their respective customs in the building that Muslims built. So, the very name of this new NY mosque symbolizes tolerance, inclusion, and above all, RECONCILIATION. LET US ALL MAKE THIS BUILDING A PLACE OF RECONCILIATION (the purpose its name implies).

    August 18, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • N

      Excellent post Chris! I couldn't have said it better myself.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I totally agree. Problem is, those who are blinded by ignorance and hate cannot see reason. Just ask all those klansmen that were good Christian soldiers...at least in their eyes.

      August 18, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jim

    There should be no debate.
    It is a question of zoning and that is the only law.
    If the location is zoned for a place of worship/community affairs, they can build a mosque.
    If someone wants to build a church or a temple or a synagogue next door they can if that location meets the zoning requirements.
    All this debate is wrongly focussed.
    Remember a majority of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and we are yet to invade Saudi Arabia!
    Militant islam is practiced by a few and the whole religion cannot be ridiculed on the basis of a few. Yes, of course we should try to "educate" the Saudis that they should Churches, Synagogues and Temples to be built in their nation.

    Not the other way around.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Stats

    I would like to thank the creators of this wonderful gift to Americans and their thoughtfulness to the 70% of Americans who oppose this. But wait, of the 70% who oppose, half would be women, who really don’t count for anything anyway; so the actual number that oppose is 35%. Oh, and the percentage of Americans that are gay and are adulterers need to be eliminated too, possibly by stonning. It is clear the percentage of Americans that oppose this wonderful gift to NY is well below 30% and therefore clear the majority of Americans are in favor.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Big Sullyman

    I'm gonna apply for peddlers license and open a BBQ food cart right in front of this mosque. If they want to rub it in our face that they took down those towers, then I'm gonna rub it in their face that I can eat all the damn pork I want and have the sweet smell of bacon waft right into their building.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Abraham Lincoln

      And that's your right. People seem to forget that we have rights in this country.

      August 18, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. westcoastkid

    Art H .... Sir I'm in complete agreement. While I think it is ridiculous reasoning on the part of that Baptist pastor as to why the Mosque should not be built, it's also ridiculous for (some) Muslim countries not to allow the construction of Christian churches or Christians to practice their religion in Muslim countries.

    "You show me yours, I'll show you mine." It's only fair.

    August 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
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