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. ppg

    Thanks for the entertainment, but know it is time to finish my lunch and go back to work.

    Personally I could care less if they build this community center or not. I am not going to lose sleep worring about Jahaidist chefs and point guards. Later

    August 18, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Abraham L

    As Chris nicely summarized: 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 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRgsp

      What if there were American Nazis that denounced the genocide of WW2? But still agreed with eugenics, the superiority of the white race, and hating Jews. But you know, they felt really bad about what those European Nazis did. I would def support them building a house of nazi worship in my neighborhood, yippee! Condemn all of the lies and violence that are Islam or none of them, those who are on the fence doing the apologist bs are just as evil. Oops

      August 18, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Anahata

    ...there ARE Christian churches and Jewish synagogues in Islamic nations...there are also Hindu and Buddhist temples and even some Mormons here and there. Is it always great to be a religious minority? Go ahead and ask...well, anyone who follows any belief. At some time, some where, they were hated because they called God something else. Hate Muslims in America if its safe to do so because you surround yourself with people who look/think/act like you. But don't think you're special for doing so or that somehow it's deserved.

    August 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Yahwh1

    Jennifer, I am also a NYer – born and raised in Queens. I also worked in Tower 1 for over a year so it was also difficult to see the death and destruction. As a Christian, you then must understand that this place (world) is not our forever home, but just a temporary place – our true home is in Heaven for those who believe that Jesus the Christ went and sacraficed himself for our sin – there is comfort in knowing this world will pass away and all things will be made new again thru Christ. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words (Jesus') will never pass away." Matthew 24:35.

    August 18, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. InsertPictureofMohammadHere

    Of course they won't budge. They don't care about our feelings. In their mind, building this puts them one step closer to Islamic world domination.

    August 18, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Yes, the 0.6% of Americans who are Muslim will be taking over the country any day now from the 51.3% that are Protestant.

      What with Muslims domination of China, Russia, and America (it's funny because they don't dominate any of those), they'll be taking over the world any week now.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • InsertPictureofMohammadHere

      Don't worry, Obama has already said that America is a Muslim nation. And apparently 95% of the victims of 9/11 were Muslim, so there must be more than .6% in the U.S.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ItsAmerica

    Sharif el-Gamal does has the right to build a mosque there, just as we have the right to paint the face of Mohammad on the build next to it. Freedom of religion goes hand-in-hand with freedom of speech and expression. Insensitive you say.... Well that is 'our' point.

    August 18, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • FedUp

      Hey, down here by the border they are burning our American Flag and holding up the one from Mexico. They need to climb back over the fence they came here on. Anything goes it seems.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anahata

      And you would be correct. Just as how any offensive image of Jesus would be correct, and how building this complex is correct. It is about the principle, that in America we can all live freely. Doesn't mean we have to like each other.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Yahwh1

    John, Muslims, JW's , Mormons, etc. are not God's people so it doesn't matter sadly because they will not enter Heaven – faith in Christ alone as Lord, Redeemer and God is the prerequiste for eternal life. There is one Truth and that is Jesus Christ. The Truth is hard to accept sometimes but the Bible says:

    "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." Matthew 7:13.

    August 18, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anahata

      Your argument fails in that anyone of any other faith can contest it with equal conviction in their personal beliefs. It's like saying "you can only play golf at the country club if you're a member; if you're not a member, you can't play golf here, so you should be a member of this club if you want to play golf because we're the only ones who have golf". But other clubs are saying the same thing. Maybe they ALL have golf; maybe, just maybe, God is slightly less human than you think, and rises above petty squabbles over what to call God and what rituals to go about doing.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. westcoastkid

    How about we make this location near ground zero a CENTER for ALL RELIGIONS to WORSHIP and exchange ideas.. This would surely make it palatable to the majority of the current Islamic Center naysayers and in turn let the Muslim community show their willingness to express their desire for friendly engagement among all regions.

    August 18, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • westcoastkid

      Sorry, read: religions not regions.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anahata

      Agreed. I'm sure the prayer room will be fully capable of being prayed in by anyone. Doesn't require too much in the way of special equipment or facilitation to pray.

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

      Anahata...Do you mean special equipment like a mat and a compass to show you the direction of Mecca? Because you do need at least the mat to pray...I bet Jews and Christians will be openly welcome to come in and pray, and NO ONE will say or do anything when they don't bow to Mecca. Do you think before you post? Do you think at all?

      August 18, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa P

      As I understand it that's the imam's idea - all religions welcomed in a community center built by Muslims but with representatives of several religions on the Board that runs the place. Also he wants to be sure that the Senegalese street vendors who make up a part of his congregation have a place to store their stuff while they pray. Yup, real radical stuff, no doubt about it. Exactly the kind of thing that fundamentalists of all faiths can't stand, apparently.

      Imam Rauf is a Sufi, by the way, which maybe explains his lack of concern about getting his licks in via the 24/7 news cycle. Sufis value things other than who's-up-who's-down type spin.

      August 18, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • westcoastkid

      Anahata...Do you mean special equipment like a mat and a compass to show you the direction of Mecca? Because you do need at least the mat to pray...I bet Jews and Christians will be openly welcome to come in and pray, and NO ONE will say or do anything when they don't bow to Mecca. Do you think before you post? Do you think at all?

      DO YOU READ, DO YOU READ AT ALL. My posts states that hte center would be a multi-faith center, open to all faiths, controlled by none. The next time you spout off take time to read what they post says.

      August 18, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRgsp

      Westcoastchild, here is your post:

      How about we make this location near ground zero a CENTER for ALL RELIGIONS to WORSHIP and exchange ideas.. This would surely make it palatable to the majority of the current Islamic Center naysayers and in turn let the Muslim community show their willingness to express their desire for friendly engagement among all regions.

      Guess I missed where you said this IS going to happen. You said "how about we make..." My reply wasn't even to you, it was to Anahata. DO YOU READ? CAN YOU READ? WHARRRGRBLE....but yeah your mixed religion mosque fantasy would be awesome. I think it would also lighten the tension with the whole debate.

      August 18, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • FedUp

      LMAO. I can't stop laughing at this exchange of words. Do they really use mats and compasses? I don't know, just asking. My husband is Jewish and they tell me I can't come into their temple. I didn't want to go anyways, just trying to be polite. Oh well.

      August 18, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Respect

    When will Muslim countries be tolerant synagogues and churches ?

    August 18, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      to Respect with Respect, learn how to Respect.

      you must be a bad student of Geography. have you ever passed that class? Muslim countries are full of Churches and Synagogues. Well unless you think Saudi Arab is the only Muslim country in the World.

      August 18, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. stlcards

    I like Rush's idea of calling it Hamosque

    August 18, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Big Dave

    You can offer this muslim developer 25 different lots which are probably more suitable locations with better real estate value than what they want, but they won't take those offers because they can't mock America in those locales. This isn't about price...this is about location, location, location.

    It's quite clear that with an ex-muslim president with a middle name of Hussein, these developers will get whatever they want on a silver platter regardless of the 70% opposition rate of Americans who would rather see AMERICANA in that spot rather than some cult who wants to rule the world.

    If Americans wish to continue losing ground and their rights, keep voting Democrat and see what you have left in 10 years.

    August 18, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anahata

      Universal health care, environmentally-sustainable economics paired with entrepreneurship and capital growth, fair taxes and the freedom to live your life without fear that someone will spit on you and say you're somehow less a person? Sign me up.

      More to the point, isn't it the main premise of conservatism that the government should stay out of people's lives? So, by extension, shouldn't people stay out of people's lives? In other words, shouldn't you NOT try to coerce people into believe the way you do? That'd be an infringement on their liberty...but hey, so long as it isn't yours right? Nothing wrong with fascism so long as you're the one holding the whip.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Dave

      I never said I was Republican or even condone that party's actions, either. I do agree in the argument that we should have the freedom to erect buildings of faith, but there is a massive degree of common sense here that has lapsed on the part of these developers. Do they truly feel this is a safe approach for their tenants in the long run? Are they intentionally building this mosque to provoke a civil war in the middle of NYC? Is this building a true community center or simply a shine of worship for the psychopaths of destruction? Either way, the American people will have the last word on this issue, even if the building plans go forward. Apparently they don't teach common sense in that cult and strive to create dissonance wherever they roam.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRgsp

      Anahatta, what you just described sounds like AMERICA in its current state. None of those ideals are available in Muslim nations...oh and you don't get spit on in Muslim countries for disagreeing. You get STONED TO DEATH. Put the shovel down and stop posting, I am sure you are on fire for what you think is right, but you aren't convincing anyone on here with your half baked fantasies.

      August 18, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      Oh Dear Big ( or fat) Dave,

      you finally got the main point, The reason for this community center is "Location, location and location" There are two mosques already and they need a bigger place. So you would think somewhere far away from the current prayer place would be a good place to built this? are you going to get these people cars so that they drive far away so that you feel better.

      Dont be too sad that a democrat became a president who is not a hater like you or Bush. I am sure i will see you in one of those KKK's meeting soon.

      August 18, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa P

      Big Dave: True community center. That's why the people in the neighborhood want it. Why do you even ask? Your second option is just a paranoid fantasy spun by political opportunists. Or maybe they really are that delusional - it doesn't mean you should be.

      You also have a very interesting notion regarding the availability of New York City real estate and the difficulties involved in the approvals process. Why that site? Because it was for sale. Why not move? Because they're approved for that site. Sometimes even Sufis have to deal with the real world details. So should you.

      Of course, if you are a multi-gazillionaire with a site that's ready to go and some big $$$ to offer then you probably should get in touch. They've been trying to put this project together for years now.

      August 18, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mandy

    This is ridiculous! We are a country based on freedom of religion – and that means any & ALL religions. How is a Burlington coat factory "sacred ground"? As a new yorker & an American I welcome the Islamic center in it's proposed location. No one seems to be complaining that there are 6 Christian churches within a 2 block radius of the location of the Christian terrorist attack in Oklahoma City... We were NOT attacked by Muslims, we were attacked by terrorists!!!

    August 18, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • KRS

      Mandy the moron!!!!Christians didn't crash two jets into the world trade center.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Awesomebob

      Legally, they haves the right to build there, but I don't think they should because I could understand why it might be insensitive to some. We were attacked by Jihadists that did what they did in the name of Islam because they hated our country and culture. Of course this is not a fair representation of Islam or the vast majority of Muslims who are as decent as anyone else. And to make myself clear, I don't associate Muslims to terrorists in the least. However, since there is that connection between Islam and the terrorists of the 911 attacks it is a subject of great sensitivity.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      Mandy, you are not getting the point. There is a big difference between Timothy McVeigh's Patriotic act (or is it?) and those attacking WTC. One used a truck full of Bombs and other used planes. It doesn't matter that both killed many innocent people but the major difference is how they killed them. Poor Mandy, dont understand the point.

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

      KRS... Neither did the 1 billion muslims. Since you think you can call Mandy Moron, I'll call you stupid because I'm sorry to break the bubble in which you live in, but terrorist that interpreted the religion INCORRECTLY are the ones that flew into the WTC and Pentagon, not the 1 billion other muslims who do nothing wrong.

      So if you were to get arrested today for shop lifting, I guess we have the right to call your parents, syblings, aunts, uncles and anyone slightly related to you as shoplifters? You make no sense buddy. Mandy is actually the smart one!

      August 18, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mandy

      AJ – You make NO SENSE. So because they used planes they are terrorists, but McVay was not a terrorist because he used bombs in a truck? So by your logic Bin Laden wouldn't be a terrorist because he tried to blow up the WTC with bombs in a truck back in '93. Can you please follow a train of thought to it's end... We were attacked by terrorists, not Muslims!

      August 18, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jonny

    Muslim terrorists

    August 18, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mandy

      Who cares! They were terrorists that happen to be Muslim. By your logic since Timothy McVay was Christian that means that all Christians are terrorists. Oh and the IRA was made up of Catholics, so all Catholics are can't blame the masses for the extremists...

      August 18, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Awesomebob

    I have an honest question. I've heard this is a rebuilding of the mosque, does this mean that there was already a mosque at this location before? Or was it somewhere else?

    August 18, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      There are two mosques close to the WTC. they were built in 1970 and 1980's, long before a lot of you were born.

      August 18, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • N

      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.

      August 18, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Yahwh1

    "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12

    August 18, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
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