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. enough

    The bottom line is that religions are nations. If the sane muslim community self policed the muslim terrorists, 9/11 would of never even happened. If the muslim clerics didnt preach hate, you wouldnt have young muslim kids blowing themselves up to take out a few innocent people. I am a religious person and if people of my faith did horrible things, it would be my and my communities responsiblity to publicly speak out against it. Not say the many shouldnt be punished for the few and then secertly donate money to organizations that in turn support these radical "few"

    August 18, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Is the Pope responsible for the terrorist acts of the IRA?

      Are Christians responsible for the Klan?

      Islam is not a monolithic religion like Catholicism with an ordered and rigid hierarchy. It's more like Protestantism, where you have a wide variety of religious communities with a wide variety of beliefs, and an awful lot of different leaders. Which side in the American Civil War was the Christian side? Both sides had Christians, both sides thought they had God on their side.

      August 18, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe G

      Your first sentence is laughably stupid. That alone is all I need to know that you're a delusional Christian Zealot, too brainwashed to actually think for yourself.

      Sorry if you're too stupid to know better.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • N

      Sorry to break it to you, but tons and tons of muslims can out and denounced the activities that surrounded 9/11. Just because it is not brought up in the media doesn't mean it didn't happen. Muslims are protrayed as bad, you think they are going to show the good on tv or int he papers? You don't watch the news much do you?

      August 18, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jeanne


    August 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cody

    Islamophobea and politics is what this "controversy" is all about. I can't believe how naive we have become. Please understand that 1/3rd of the world is Muslim and most of the Muslims live in places other than Middle East. 9/11 was a horrific event and has caused severe pain to many Muslims (even non American Muslims). My families (around 150 and not in the US) were glued to the TV, watching as the even unfolded and calling us to express their disbelief and fear. My father in law died on that very night (the last thing we know was that he was extremely depressed). As an American Muslim, I not only need to defend my religion but also my patriotism. If we all sit tight and revisit this debate in a couple of years, we will realize that it is nothing but pure fear of Islam ignited by the media and politicians. Whenever anybody who happens to be a Muslim commits a crime, the religion comes into play and all Muslims are blamed which is entirely not the case when it happens to be a person of any other religion. We need more religious tolerance, one of the foundations of this country. My only request is to please not tie me and my lovely American kids to the terrorists of 9/11. My kids will grow up in this country and I want them to grow up in pride and absolute freedom and not fear.

    August 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Grandwazoo

    To all of you so deficient on world history – ever heard of the Crusades? Bit of a religious episode that occurred for hundreds of years. Anyway, Christians immediately built churches wherever they defeated Muslim forces (and so did Islamic victors). That's what organized religion is about – subjugating the other. On another point, I live and pay taxes in New York City and could care less about this community center given all the problems we currently have. Can't you focus your attention on hating people who live in your own neighborhood and not so far away? Why so much concern over us godless New York sinners all of a sudden?

    August 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sharon

    I am married to a Israeli-Arab-Muslim man and I can tell you first hand that Islam is NOT a peaceful religion. I spent years living in the Middle East in a Arab- Muslim village listening to the hatred towards infidels. Meaning any one person including myself who is not a Muslim. I've listened to my father-n-law sit in front of the t.v. with his fist in the air chanting for Hezbollah, and Hamas. And for the dimise of Jews and Israel and Death to America!! I educated myself every moment I could in secret so that I could know the truth for myself. Wake up America! It's time to know the what is truly going on. We're not not in a war against terrorism, we're at war with Islam! And it's spreading like wild fire. Their purpose is to take over the world. Convert to Islam or die. Know the truth and educate yourself. This Mosque/community center is to show America that they're in control. Go against them and pay the consequences!

    August 18, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe G

      Not too hard to tell that you're lying. Good story though.

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


      August 18, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wes McKenzie

      Sadly, you are so correct. When I travel abroad, I hear the same thing. No one understands and nless you are actually within that circle, no one can. God bless your heart and God bless America!

      August 18, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cathy

      Well can't take you seriously. Your too full of hate.

      August 18, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • N

      HAHAHA. I'm sorry but I have to laugh at this and laugh a little more. You know absolutely nothing about Islam. Please stop. It is too funny

      August 18, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • know the truth

      Liar- Big fat lie – period

      August 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • abduselam abdai

      Please do not be a messenger of hate, It can't get lower than that. Islam is a religion of peace. please take time to see the Empire series by PBS. Empire: Islam the empire of faith. We all have heard that priests molest innocent kids that is barbaric and evil, and how wrong of me would that be if I say Catholics are molesters? If you are Jew, like you claim you should know better what hatred does. My family is muslim and I remember when all of us cried because we saw schindler's list, there has been enough blood, and hatred lets put it in our past and move forward. Fueling hatrade is evil and please don't be evil. This could be a very good bridge for people to reconcile, We all can coexist, we have enough examples to learn from we don't need new ones.
      I love you all and peace for all of us.

      August 18, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rob G

    Move the mosque to another area and change the grand opening date PERIOD Rebuild the WORLD TRADE CENTER just as it was before already!!!!!

    August 18, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • N

      So you bought into the whole opening date of 9/11 I see. Listen to Beck much? There is no truth to the opening date of 9/11. Its people like you who are so misinformed that spread garbage like this

      August 18, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Barbara

    To Muslims, the mosque is more than a site for prayer. The Koran calls for the extermination or subjugation of the nonbeliever. Mosques and minarets are built as symbols of power over the vanquished.

    It is no coincidence that the proposed Ground Zero mosque is named for the Great Mosque of Cordoba, on the site of the vanquished Church of St. Vincent and which became the center of the Spanish Muslim dynasty for 200 years.

    They detroyed our cultural center and wish to replace it with their own, as they have historically done throughout the centuries.

    Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

    August 18, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Muslim rule of Spain was characterized by Cordoba being the largest, richest, and most sophisticated city in Western Europe. Muslim and Jewish scholars revived and expanded classical Greek learning in Muslim Spain during this time. Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived together peacefully, the economy improved, and there was a flowering of learning and knowledge.

      Christian rule of Spain was characterized by the Spanish Inquisition, the Edict of Expulsion, centralization of royal power, and the worldwide brutality and genocides of the Spanish Empire.

      You sure you want to be drawing people's attention to Muslim rule of the Iberian peninsula?

      August 18, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ma

    When you move the mosque it does not serve the purpose of many Muslims. Islam always wanted to build Mosques on others cherished sites. Taj Mahal is a Hindu temple, but it was converted as s burial place for a queen. Like this there are at least 2000 temples in India converted as mosques.
    To learn more about Islam visit


    August 18, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cody

      Taj Mahal is a Hindu temple?? lol.

      August 18, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. marcia

    This is all such a bunch of crap!
    Move the mosque and let's get on with our life!

    August 18, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Anahata

    Crusades nothing, the Inquisition is more recent. For those who don't know what that is, it's when the Catholic Church of times past went around torturing people (Christian, Jew, Muslim, didn't matter) for any number of reasons.

    August 18, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      The Spanish Inquisition is also what happened when the Catholic Christians finally took back all of Spain from the Muslims, ending nearly 800 years of religious coexistence and peace.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. enough

    amen to sharon!!

    August 18, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Miguel M.

    they want to call it Cordoba cultural center, if people studied a little bit more of history they should know that Cordba in Spain was the only region ever recovered from islam to the western world. Neither the namen or the place for the mosque look innocent to me, anyway is your city eveybody is free to let the thieve break into their own house.

    August 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Yeah, and when the Catholics took back Spain from the Muslims, they brought with them the religious tolerance of the Spanish Inquisition. Maybe you've heard of it?

      August 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joe G

    Here's the deal- it's 12 stories tall, 2 are for praying, the rest are for random other stuff like a cooking school, community center, and auditorium.

    You can't see it from the WTC. Not at all.

    Right now those muslims are praying in a place that can't fit them all.

    If a few people doing something represented what an entire religion thinks, then you should be ashamed to call yourselves Christians.

    August 18, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anahata

      Ashamed to call yourself human is more like it. Because we ALL want to be associated with everyone else and be held responsible for their actions. Not every German was a Nazi (oh, hey, wait a minute, an extremist view that also skewed Christian doctrine to meet a political end! Must be false. Holocaust never happened).

      August 18, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRgsp

      You can't see it from the WTC? Really? I was thinking the WTC was no longer around, thought that Muslim extremists destroyed it and the lives of thousands of Americans simultaneously...weird, must have been that other WTC.

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

      JRgsp: Oh, potato, potatoe...first laugh I've had all day. Having one of those passive-aggressive moments are ya?

      August 18, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRgsp

      Fedup, maybe it is one of those moments! Just had to point out the self defeating part of his argument, let me guess you can't see this mosque from the windows of flight 97 either.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JRgsp

    All of this hate is seriously offensive to the Muslim people. I think they are such a great people that they would definitely support churches and synagogues in their home countries to commemorate those who have murdered and been murdered by Muslims. Let's try to bridge the gap of hate. Who wants to make these Muslims feel super welcome at their new peace mosque??? I was thinking we could put up giant pictures of the prophet Muhammad smiling at them (maybe giving a thumbs up?) at private store fronts all over the general vicinity. After all it is our rights as Americans to do such things even if other Americans (and maybe Muslims) find it offensive, disgusting and in incredibly poor taste! We won't even need permits to do so. Welcome brothers!!!

    August 18, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      that would be very nice of you. I would love that as a Muslim, now dont change your mind after my acceptance of your offer. By the way, when Europe went to Asia and Africa to conquer all those countries and slaughtered many many people, what do you think their religions were? Let me give you a clue, West is the heart of Christian religion. Do you know how many churches are there now in Asia and Africa and South America? Dont you think those churches are Victory Churches? arent they insensitive to the people of Asia, Africa and South America? The will be banned and then demolished if we follow your logic and emotion

      August 18, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRgsp

      AJ, I actually totally agree with you. I detest Christianity just as much as Islam. I would be mad and protesting if I were in South America or Asia when such crimes against humanity were ocurring, I would protest violently just as the people of the time did. Just because we can stand up and say this shouldn't be done by one group here and now and be heard is what makes this country great. I know you don't support the Christian victory symbols but you support the ones you believe in. Why not be objective and say its never right? Please, I would like to hear your response.

      August 18, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John

    I'm not sure if it is true or not, but I was told last weekend that there is a mosque there already? If this is true, everybody should just shut the hell up, and get on with their life. If it isn't, I think the latter is still true.

    August 18, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      yeah, they have a prayer center there now with room for 450 Muslims, they want a prayer center with room for 2000 Muslims to pray, as part of a larger community center. Group prayer especially on Friday is as big a deal for Islam as church services are on Sunday, and with 800,000 Muslims in NYC with only 200 mosques (breaks down to an average of 4,000 per mosque) I can't blame them for wanting more room.

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

      John..Not only is there a mosque near there, it has been there before the WTC was built. There has not been an ilegal activity and wrong doing from that mosque. I really don't understand what some of the people on here have against building a community center. They act like they are building a al qeda training facility with its on flight school, bomb making classes and techniques to hide in the mountains.

      This place will bring employment which so many people need right now, it will bring unity to the area but not accorinding to some people. Its a terror cell waiting to happen. Pffff

      August 18, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
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