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. Mooman

    As an American I'd like to say bigotry is ugly, especially when our own frightened masses use it to push for segregation of religion like we used to do race. Don't mind our apple pie eating, flag draping bigots, they have a right to express their bigotry just as much as I have a right to point it out to them. It's America after all, land of the free, home of the brave. A place where you have things like freedom of speech, freedom of RELIGION, etc. Last I checked anyway, although judging by the news these days some people in America want to change that while other smile stoking the fires to make a profit off their fears and hatred.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Stu

      Do you realize that the most oppressive governments in the world operate under the guise of islamic states. Islam promotes intolerance of other religions. The idea of democracy in the middle east is the "EVIL" that they are fighting against. The idea of everyone's word being respected, even if it goes against the Koran is something that can get you a death sentence in a jail sentence in an Islamic state. That is why you can be critical of any relgion in the world except Islam, least you get a death sentnece supported by these islamic regimes.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Not much difference between that and Middle-Ages Catholicism... heck, that was SOP even up through the Renaissance, especially during the bloody fires of the Counter-Reformation.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Stu

      exactly the point I try to make with people. Islam is going through the insanity that was done in the name of Christianity went through in the Middle Ages. Their leaders are out of touch with the modern world we live in and their muslim followers support them all the way. I couldn't have put it better myself.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      I figure Islam will catch up, probably sooner or later, and the more it as a religion gets attacked, the longer it will take. Look at how Iran was making great strides towards democratizing and freedom... and then it got listed as one of the members of the "Axis of Evil". I knew a lot of Iranian expats who were working for the government at the time and prior, and before Bush did that, everybody expected Iran to be a full and free democracy within a decade or so. Now, god only knows how far they've been set back.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mogdaork

    Look its really simple, just because you CAN build there doesnt mean you should. You want people to respect your faith and your rights , well do the same thing back. Our people died there because of some crazed religious zealot. I keep hearing the Islam is a religion of peace and understanding so far all I see is another religion just tryin to force what it wants on people. So F Allah and F Islam, also F Christianianty Christ, Judasim..nothing good has ever come from the middle east

    August 18, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • milehighjdg

      except math and science.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. gee

    I understand they bought most of the property near ground zero. I understand they have the 'right' to build the religious facility.

    But just because they have the right, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. I have the right to say whatever I think, but it doesn't make it the right thing to do, just because I can.

    Tolerance? What about respect? Respect for the victims of 9-11, respect for their families, respect for the survivors, respect for our country for which they died and suffered.

    Why would residents of NY (or ANY of us) allow respect/honor for the terrorists and the causes that supported them to OVER-RIDE the respect and honor of the people who suffered and STILL suffer?

    August 18, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      What about respect for the innocent Muslims who died on 9/11, equal victims of religious extremism?

      In fact, worldwide, far more Muslims are victims of radical islamic terrorists then members of any other religion. The 5 dozen Iraqi soldiers who were killed outside a recruitment center in Iraq by a suicide bomber? I'd bet you nearly all of them were Muslim. Afghani soldiers killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan? Pretty sure they're Muslims also. This isn't a battle of Islam vs Christianity, it's a battle of Extremism vs Moderates.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • enough

      @John- yes, more victims of radical islamic terrorists groups are Muslim, but yet the radicals still find a way to convince the world that America is at fault.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. Findlay

    With so many politicians getting involved in this issue, it begs the question. What happened to separation of church and state?

    August 18, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. jledbetter

    No. No no no no no. What Paterson is doing is NOT what this country is founded on and NOT what the First Amendment stipulates. Our Founding Fathers wrote in the First Amendment "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" I don't recall there ever being the addition "unless people are doing something we don't like." The First Amendment is included specifically to PROTECT the rights of people doing something we don't like. For Paterson to suggest moving this Islamic cultural center is borderline treason in my book.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Jamann

      At what point did Congress pass a law saying that they could not build at the site? There is no law stating that the governor cannot negotiate with people to try to change their minds about any topic. He has broken no laws and Congress has passed no laws.

      September 10, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. N

    @S You do realize that this is not really a mosque right? It is a youth center that is open to all. Stop being a bigot. A lot of these muslims are American citizens and need to be treated with the same respect all fellow Americans receive. Just because they practice a different religion does not make them terrorist! They have every right to build where they damn well please. I can't believe people are still this racist in the year 2010.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Jordan

      Let me guess, you are also one of those weak minded left wingers who believe America was behind 9/11 right? Get a life...all muslims want Americans dead.....even the ones that live and work here...deep inside, they side with the islamic terrorists...how many muslims actually speak up against terror? NONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Therefore, they are complicit.......no building a mosque on the ruins of the Twin Towers.......

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

      -N
      A bigot is someone who is not willing to accept facts and remains with his false views. When you speak against a religion, it is not possible to be considered racist since a religion is not a race. Furthermore, you are just flat out ignorant concerning the matter at hand but just needed to take a moment so you don't continue sounding like a fool.

      August 18, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juju

      Jordan, you are a bigot, plain and simple.

      You should meet my lovely friend. She's a Muslim, even wears traditional dress. She's also born and raised American. She has been an elementary teacher in an impoverished public school, and is now working on her law degree.

      I dare you, upon seeing her gentle smile and kind handshake, to think she wants to kill Americans (read:herself, since she grew up here). I DARE you. I bet you'd find it impossible.

      What you need is some serious community outreach, fella. You might stop generalizing and seeing people for what they are: People.

      After all, I don't blame all Christians when one of them blows up an abortion clinic. I know that, even if they don't believe in the clinics, the vast majority of Christians I know would NEVER condone such a thing. Same goes for Muslims. Don't believe the hype you hear. Believe it or not, most Muslims just go through their lives raising their families, just like you or I.

      August 18, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jamann

      I love it when people try to play the race card at every turn. This topic has absolutely nothing to do with race, yet I've seen several "racist" comments on here. If you don't know the definition of a word, don't use it.

      September 10, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. Stu

    Now this sounds like he is feeding off of the controversy. This guy already feels that the US should hold itself responsible for what happened on 9/11, so you can be sure that the tale of what happened will be skewed to great distortion within this center.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. Marc

    OK – so you have a buildiong that houses a Burlington Coat Factory. A plane crashes nearby, and some of the parts damage that building, It sits vacant for years in one of the hottest real estate markets in the world. A buyer comes in, and, as a property owner, you look at a) the chance t9o unload it, and b) look at the opportunity for redevelopment of a part of town that needs to be redeveloped. The use? A community center and performance space – something that will atttract people and help other nearby businesses because of good traffic – maybe you still own property in the area. Then a bunch of pandering idots come along, enlisting the aid of a bunch of geographically retarded bigots who LACK A SINGLE IDEA and so rely on inciting the stupid masses to try to win votes. That's the modern conservative movement – they have ZERO concept of the greater good. This site is two blocks from the edge of the GIGANTIC footprint of the entire WTC complex – the 600-foot measurement is a bunch of crap that is designed to misinform those who are clueless about Manhattan. The majority of folks in Manhattan support this. That's the only standard that matters – this is less controersial, in real life, than Wal-Mart building a super center in a medium-sized town.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Jubril

      well summarized

      August 18, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jamann

      I would like to see some proof that the "majority of people in Manhattan" support this. I think this is a statement that you have pulled out of your rear. Just because you MAY be in Manhattan and support it does not mean that you speak for the majority.

      September 10, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. FedUp

    Hey, I have had all the sympathy squeezed out of me that I have to muster. I've come to the conclusion that whatever bigotry (or whatever you want to call it) I have left is ingrained in me and I am not likely to change.

    Rights? Let's talk about that! What about the "rights" of the families who don't want it there?? Do they have rights too? This country is about to be in a real mess if people don't start standing up for what they believe in. We have American protesters chaining themselves to statues protesting illegal immigrants! What?? Are they serious. Hell, let's just do away with the immigration laws all together why don't we. Come on! Want to come here legally? Go right ahead. Otherwise, get a work visa!

    Now a mosque at ground zero?? Move it somewhere else and have some respect!

    August 18, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Shiki

      No the families and anyone else who doesn't want it there do not have rights nor should they in this matter.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      As a pagan, do I have a right to be opposed to a new church being built down the road from me? Witches and heretics were getting burned for centuries by Christians.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Jamann

      John,

      YES! You do have the right to oppose a new church being built anywhere you would not like for it to be built. You have the right to oppose anything you wish. Good ol' freedom.

      Isn't it funny that everyone here who is mad about people opposing building at the site and preaching about rights are not taking into consideration that those who do not support it have the right to express it? No laws have been passed saying these people cannot build there. No one's rights have been trampled on. If the site does get moved, how much do you want to bet that these same people will talk cry that the rights of the muslims were thrown in the trash although it will be those same muslims who decide to move it? I'll put 20 on it.

      September 10, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  10. Shiki

    They better not budge. I'm American and I want that mosque to go right where it is planned. This is America, Muslims have every right to worship as any other religion, they shouldn't be scared off by a bunch of bigots. The crap about the so-called victory icon is just hate rhetoric and propaganda. There is also the issue of free enterprise, they own the building, as long as they comply with zoning and laws they should be treated no differently. It truly disgusts me that this is even an issue. PLEASE DO NOT PLACE YOURSELVES IN THE BACK OF THE BUS, DO NOT CAVE TO THE PRESSURE OF THE BIGOTS. IF BIGOTS AND FEAR MONGERS WIN, ALL AMERICANS LOSE.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • benson

      we arent bigots just because we oppose a mosque at that particular location. in fact you are the bigot for labelling us without seeing the difference.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • FedUp

      Hey, did you have someone who died during the 9/11 attacks? I am guessing the answer is no. This is like dancing on their graves.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Shiki

      Dancing on their graves would be dancing on your graves. This isn't even ground zero and even if it was, ground zero is nobodies grave.
      benson, I could care less if you think I'm a bigot for calling it as I see it just as you should care less if I think you're a bigot.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Shiki

      typo. I meant: dancing on their graves would be dancing on their graves.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Tevo

      Shiki...why why why would they still want to build the center there with so much controversy? Don't you realize how dangerous it will be for everybody- as soon as it's completely built- it will get bombed down. Guaranteed. Why would you want to put so many innocent people in danger? It's a no brainer. For the sake of everybody involved, don't build it there. It is going to be destroyed anyway.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Shiki

      Tero they probably still want to build the mosque there despite the controversy for the same reason blacks still wanted equal rights despite the controversy. Why should they cave to people who would deny them the same rights and benefits that the deniers themselves enjoy. Sickening. It's about American rights and values.

      August 18, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      All I can say is what possessed them to announce that the inauguration will be September 11, 2011?! Are they trying to say this new construction is in memory of those who died? Why choose THAT date?! At best, the Muslims involved in building this are arrogant and insensitive.

      August 18, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. wimsy

    If the Catholics wanted to build a church two blocks from ground zero, nobody would say a word.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • FedUp

      That's ridiculous. The Catholics are not the one's who took down the towers.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • frogman

      wimsy, if Catholics hijacked two airplanes and crashed them into buildings two blocks away people would be just as upset by the idea. But we can't even imagine Catholics or Baptists or Mormons or Jews or Buddhists doing such a thing can we?

      August 18, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • kathy

      Catholics don't blow things up, however I wouldn't want some of their so called priests near my children!!!

      August 18, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      Frogman – Timmy McVeigh was a Christian and a veteran. So I guess building a Christian memorial or having an armed service recruiting office too close to downtown Oklahoma City would be controversial. But I notice the bigots conveniently overlook that FACT.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Timay

      Catholics don't fly planes into crowded buildings

      August 18, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      But the Greek Orthodox church that stood for nearly a century has been denied its request to rebuild though it was destroyed by the 9/11 attacks. I take no issue with the Muslim Center but why deny another group the permit to REBUILD what they had destroyed?

      August 18, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Irish Catholics have blown up a TON of stuff. The IRA used lots and lots of car bombs. In fact, they set the standards for terrorist violence that radical Islamic terrorists would later adopt.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • nick

      fedup: THE PEOPLE THAT WANT TO BUILD THE MOSQUE DIDNT BRING DOWN THE MOSQUE EITHER U IDIOT. THERE ARE OVER 1.6 BILLION MUSLIMS IN THE WORLD. IF EVEN ONE TENTH OF ONE PERCENT WERE TERRORISTS WE WOULD ALL BE DEAD !!! THERE ARE OVER 7 MILLION HERE WITH OVER 2000 MOSQUES. DONT BE AN IGNORANT FOOL. THOSE THAT BROUGHT DOWN THE TOWERS WERE FANATICS THAT WERE REVENGING US FOR WHAT EVER CRAP OUR FOOLISH COUNTRY PROBABLY DID TO THEM. WE HAVE A HISTORY OF SCREWING WITH COUNTRIES YA KNOW. MOST RECENTLY I R A Q. THEY WERE NOT EVEN INVOLVED IN 9/11 AND WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATHS OF AT LEAST 1 MILLION IRAQIS. WHO IS THE TERRORIST NOW? MR FEDUP YOUR FEDUP AT THE WRONG FOLKS. BUILD THE MOSQUE. WE NEED IT.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • FedUp

      nick: First, it is very difficult to read your post when you type in all caps. Learn some manners why don't you.

      Secondly, I find it very interesting that you and a few others keep putting words in my posts that are not there. I never once said that all Muslims are terrorists or anything like that. I simply said they should build the Mosque somewhere else. I do appreciate your name calling though. Good job on the descriptions.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. dhsimbol

    No one is saying you cant build a Mosaic, people are just saying you cant build it at that location. Why cant you build a community center where people need it? Why does it have to be at that location? there are tons of empty buildings in Ny where you can build.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Hendrik

      They want to build it there because it is where they want to build. Why do we want respect and sensitivity from Muslims when we have shown exactly the opposite to them. Your post is nonsense.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • FedUp

      Exactly! Why do they want to build it there?? Trying to prove something?? Why don't they take their money and put a memorial up instead. Hey, I don't have an issue with the religion. The concept is flat out disrespectful.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      How far is far enough? What should be the established size of the Ground Zero Religious Freedom Exclusion Zone?

      August 18, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      Hendrick-

      All I can say is what possessed them to announce that the inauguration will be September 11, 2011?! Are they trying to say this new construction is in memory of those who died? Why choose THAT date?! At best, the Muslims involved in building this are arrogant and insensitive.

      August 18, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. concerned citizen

    Americans should do everything in their power to prevent the building of this islamic mosque near ground zero that would prove to be a disgrace to the memory of our citizens killed and maimed by terrorists on Sept. 11...which was the greatest tragedy on US soil..
    The Islams being so persistent with this & not showing respect for we Americans proves that their intentions are to claim victory on
    the site of the terrorist attacks...True Americans stand up for our rights, we will surely outnumber them!!!!

    August 18, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Innocent Muslims died in the towers on 9/11. There were also Muslims among the first responders that went into the towers to rescue people. What about them?

      August 18, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • milehighjdg

      YEAH. and we should tear down the mosque that is already CLOSER to ground zero than the one that's being proposed. RABBLE RABBLE. BURLINGTON COAT FACTORIES ARE HALLOWED GROUND.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joe

    "This looks like it is going to be the most famous community center in the world."

    It's obvious he's just building this community center for fame and glory and using this controversy as well as the attacks as a way to drive this center's notoriety. Islam is a good religion, but just like in any group of people, you'll find that not all of its members have good intentions.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Hendrik

      What makes you come to this conclusion that it is for fame and glory. What a nonsensical thought.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Hendrik – read the article. Read his statements in regards to why he wants to keep the community center. Now use your brain.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • dhsimbol

      This is just for Fame. He knew what he was doing and all the news it will bring.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Arie

      he wants Muslims from around the world to pay tribute to the martyrs, and he knows they will.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  15. senior 70

    Building a mosque in the vicinity of ground zero is like adding insult to injury.Clean up crew found body parts even away from ground zero.These are obviously body parts of the 3000 people murdered by the muslim radicals.It will be too much pain for the relatives and love ones of these victims.
    NOw build a mosque?

    August 18, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • nick

      SENIOR 70 THE PEOPLE THAT WANT TO BUILD THE MOSQUE DIDNT BRING DOWN THE MOSQUE EITHER U IDIOT. THERE ARE OVER 1.6 BILLION MUSLIMS IN THE WORLD. IF EVEN ONE TENTH OF ONE PERCENT WERE TERRORISTS WE WOULD ALL BE DEAD !!! THERE ARE OVER 7 MILLION HERE WITH OVER 2000 MOSQUES. DONT BE AN IGNORANT FOOL. THOSE THAT BROUGHT DOWN THE TOWERS WERE FANATICS THAT WERE REVENGING US FOR WHAT EVER CRAP OUR FOOLISH COUNTRY PROBABLY DID TO THEM. WE HAVE A HISTORY OF SCREWING WITH COUNTRIES YA KNOW. MOST RECENTLY I R A Q. THEY WERE NOT EVEN INVOLVED IN 9/11 AND WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATHS OF AT LEAST 1 MILLION IRAQIS. WHO IS THE TERRORIST NOW? SENIOR 70 YOUR FEDUP AT THE WRONG FOLKS. BUILD THE MOSQUE. WE NEED IT.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
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