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. dhsimbol

    When my family came to America and im sure every family that had people come to America went through this, but when they came here they had to learn English, they had to learn the American way of life. We (America) did not cater to them so now why are we catering to the Muslims?

    August 18, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      good point. how do you know Muslims are not learning English and learning the way of American Life. are you reading the responses from Muslims on here? are they writing in English?OH, you meant they need to learn Christianity and Read Bible and live their life that way?

      August 19, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Peace

    the underlying problem with the logic behind those that argue that while Muslims have the right to build the mosque, they should not, is that such argument implies that all Musl...ims are responsible for 9/11, rather than Islamic fanatics associated with extremist Al-Qaeda. Would there be opposition to a Buddhist temple being built on that same piece of property? Not at all – because no one blames Buddhists for 9/11. Similarly, if those who oppose the mosque as being insensitive truly understood that 9/11 was perpetrated by a group of fanatics, than there would not be any opposition to building a mainstream mosque that represents moderate, American, Islam there. But every time a politician panders to the masses and tweets a comment about how insensitive the mosque is to the families of the 9/11 victims (nevermind that many of the families actually support the mosque), what they are implying is that it wasn't just Islamic fanatics from Al-Qaeda who attacked us on 9/11, but Islam as a whole – all 1.4 billion followers. And that is exactly what the terrorists want us to believe, that is what they want the Muslim world to believe. And if we don't allow this mosque to be built, then we are adding credence to that argument. We make legitimate exactly what the terrorists want everyone to believe: that there is a war between all Muslims and America/the West. The whole point of the mosque in Manhattan is to counter that argument – to be a beacon for moderate Muslims in America and around the world and to show the terrorists that no matter what they do, they can't change America and what we value as Americans.

    August 18, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roland

      Yeah right. The terrorists are gonna see this building being built and say "OK, we lost". Either you're daft or a Muslum pretending to be an intellectual.(oxymoron)

      August 18, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • abduselam abdai

      @Roland, Don't be hateful, hate is evil. There are always extremists from all religions, and this extremists have no faith they have already lost their way. The media is not media anymore it is a tool fro few to manipulate the minds of the naive. this is the 21st century where information is at your disposal, have you ever lived in a country where people from different faith coexist? Have you noticed how the world has changed and is changing to after 9/11? who did 9/11 affect more? please think again, see the news. These children of evil, are killing more muslims than any other faith and sadly woman and children.
      Be happy that you are born here in the US, try to imagine if you where born in present Iraq or Afghanistan? appreciate life and be grateful. If you have love of peace and love of knowledge please open your hurt and try to see. You will be a happier person. this is what Islam teaches.
      You always see what you want to see. understand what it means. if you want to see bad of anything you will see plenty of it and if you want to see good, peace and love you will see it too and the choice is yours.
      Peace for all of us.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sharon

    To those of you that called me a liar and that my story was false. It's unfortunate that you believe any one person would get on this blog and post a story as I did and it be a complete fabrication. I am a normal American woman that married into a religion (Islam) that I was completely oblivious to, ignorant to say the least. Here I am years later and having had the opportunity to have lived in the middle East, not oblivious, or ignorant any longer because I truly saw Islam for what it is and what it means to me.
    I didn't witness a religion of peace. In effect, Islam remains a religion of the Dark Ages. It is the most violent and intolerant faith that has ever been presented to mankind! A prima facie example of the insanity found within the Qur'an is the fascist, warlike notion of "Jihad," or "Holy War." Apologists for Islam say "Jihad" is one personal struggle to obtain a higher moral standard. But what it really represents is a violent military action (even terrorism) against the non-Muslim. If you don't quite believe this, visit Ground Zero where New York City's World Trade Center once stood! I don't hate Muslims, for I am married to one. However, I do hate what the religion stands for. And to those of you who say I know nothing about Islam. I now all that I need to know. I know the truth. Do you?

    August 18, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • frogman

      Sharon, thank you for sharing your story. Only fools and the ignorant will call you a liar and fools and liars aren't worth your time or concern.

      August 18, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      Sharon, I am married to a Jewish and Christian girl also and i can type you so many things about these religion. Do you know who gets blame in Christianity for eating the apple, EVE. DO you know Old Testament has a prayer where it says "Thank God for not making me a woman". i can go on if you want.

      August 19, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dhsimbol

    why not build a mosque on top of the new Freedom tower? this way if they attack us they will be killing their own people. oh wait they could care less they already kill their own people scratch that idea

    August 18, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DoNotFWithTheJesus

    You're not going to convince anyone who is against building this cultural center that it is part of the freedoms we enjoy in the USA. The people who think that this cultural center (not a Mosque) is an insult to them do not understand freedom and will never understand freedom.

    August 18, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • dhsimbol

      if its a "cultural center" will the Torah be there, will their be crosses and the bible in the building?

      August 18, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roland

      We don't understand "freedom" but a bunch of raghedz who make their women wear burka and honor-kill them understand it well ? LOL

      August 18, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoNotFWithTheJesus

      dhsimbol – it has a culinary center, restaurant, theatre, swimming pool, and gym – you can stick the Torah where it belongs (in a Synagogue)

      Roland – exactly! thanks for being an example

      August 18, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mark

    Expect radicals to accept a new location?

    August 18, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Shannu

    Another trick by the bigots. Offering state land and then later getting sued by the same bigots on giving state land to a religious organization. It's a trap. Tell the Governor to take a hike.

    August 18, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roland

      If it takes bigots to deal with terrorists, unleash the bigots now 🙂

      August 18, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. An American Muslim

    I am an American. I am proud of it. I am also a Muslim. I am proud of that, too. Those who committed 9/11 were criminals. They do not represent me or my religion in any way, and if there was anything I could do to reverse the terrible things they have done to this country, I would do it without hesitation. I'm terribly sorry for what they did. It had nothing to do with Islam. Now, having said all of this, I still feel that America is a great country because it respects people's freedom to worship without fear of persecution. The America that I love should allow Muslims to build this mosque, thereby showing just how great it is as a country. Having said that, I also think that the plans for this mosque are excessive and inappropriate. To those Muslims who want to build this mosque, I say: brothers and sisters, if you need a mosque, why not just build a humble small mosque? Why do you feel a need to build a 13-story behemoth that also contains a culinary school, performing arts center, etc.? Why are you spendig 100 million dollars on this building instead of spending much less and dedicating more of the funds to more important causes, like helping the flood victims in Pakistan? What would you rather show to Allah on the day of judgment: a plate of food you gave to a starving baby or the marble floors of a glitzy mosque? Last but not least, why are you bragging about this mosque and calling it a landmark and an iconic building, when you know so well that we Muslims should only iconize three buildings on this earth? (You know which buildings I am talking about). Is this mosque your new Makkah, your new Kaaba? If so, shame on you, and if not, then please put it in perspective. Building a humble mosque in Manhattan is one thing. Building a landmark and an iconic building is another. If there is one thing we should have learned from our dear Prophet Mohamed by now, it is the importance of being modest and humble, as opposed to this obnoxious in-your-face narcissism that we are practicing right now.

    August 18, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • dhsimbol

      because all that is a cover up for what will be really going on in there. Why not build a JCC ( Jewish community center) and a YMCA if you really care about the community?

      August 18, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • An American Muslim

      I have nothing to cover up, dhsimbol, and I think your idea of putting a JCC and a YMCA in the same building as the mosque is an absolutely great idea. If the brothers and sisters who want to build this mosque are interested in showing just how much they respect America, they should most certainly consider this idea. Cordoba Initiative, are you listening?

      August 18, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • dhsimbol

      i dont see any plans for a JCC or a YMCA to be built. Also He says that the prayer room will be open to everyone so does that mean their will be crosses and a torah there?

      August 18, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • An American Muslim

      I have already agreed with you once, dhsimbol, but let me agree again in case you missed the first time. I believe it's a great idea to include a JCC, a YMCA, a church, a synagogue, and a buddhist temple in the same building as the mosque. It will be a really warm gesture to the community, and I think the Cordoba Initiative should listen to this.

      August 18, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roland

      Hats off to you american muslim. Sadly you are in the extreme minority. You aer probably declared infidel and need to go ino hiding ASAP.

      August 18, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juju

      In my experience, and it's been fairly extensive, American Muslim is the norm. I have met many American Muslims (not the poster, but people), and they've all been reasonable, moderate, and very warm people.

      I think that you and many others need to reconsider what you think of as an "average Muslim." Especially for American Muslims.

      American Muslim (the original poster) thank you for showing up and being reasonable. It goes a log way towards battling negative stereotypes!

      August 18, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      DHSIMBOL or whatever your name is, You are sounding like a broken machine, you asked the same questions 3/4 times. If you are interested in putting the Crosses and Star, then contact the Cordoba Initiative. But i would expect you to have the money ready if you want to build your own things, or you want Muslim to subsidize your religion?

      August 19, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dhsimbol

    this builder wants Muslims from around the world to vist this place. How are we going to keep a tab on which Muslim is a good one and which one is a radical using this place as a gateway into NY or America

    August 18, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roland

      Reminds me of a cold war era quote – "the only good commie is a ......."

      August 18, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Farooq.

    This location was chosen because Muslims needed a prayer space in lower Manhattan. As property became available in an attractive way, Park51 came to be envisioned. There have been two mosques almost as close to ground zero as this community center for quite some time, and they are inadequate. Go visit them, go visit the block where Park51 is intended to be built. See for yourself.

    August 18, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • dhsimbol

      ok if there are mosque near ground zero then why do you need a another one? how about you put the money towards fixing the ones that are there already? why do you need a new 13 story building?

      August 18, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      DHSIMBOL, you are really an uneducated person and talking like a Kindergarten drop out. If you wanna fit 4000 people in a room where only hundreds fit, how are you going to fix that place? why do you build these new MEGA CHURCHES? why dont you fix the same place you had before to accommodate people on Sunday?

      August 19, 2010 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. frogman

    Let me post this again because none of you Muslims or your supporters responded last time. I would love Muslim Americans and others who support the construction of the "Community Center" near Ground Zero to respond to this quote from Turkish Prime Minister Recap Tayyip Erdogan who said, " The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers" He also told Muslims that "assimilation is a crime against humanity."

    August 18, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • An American Muslim

      If that quote was meant to incite violence, then I as a Muslim detest it and reject it.
      If it was meant as a poetic way of saying that the true Jihad is the Jihad of the soul against evil, and that the true Muslim should strive very hard to become a better person by going to the mosque, listening the azan from the minaret, and refraining from any wrongdoing, then I think it's a really nice quote.
      I do not know what the context of the quote was, which is why I am sharing both thoughts.

      August 18, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      FROGMAN, i already responded to you on this and asked you to show me a proof where he said "Assimilation is a crime against Humanity" Scroll up and/or down if you know how to do that.

      Now do you know who used the metaphor "Give me death or give me Liberty". Google it and you will find out that it was written by a famous American. Now do you think he was a terrorist cause he was talking about death? do you know what "metaphor" is?

      August 19, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dhsimbol

    Why are the Muslims making a big deal about nothing. there are many empty building around NYC where they can build a 13 story "community center" Why does it have to be at that location in that building? If you know building something will offend a group a people then why continue to follow through?

    August 18, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dhsimbol

    all you people complaining about people complaining and how you have the freedom to build hat ever you want well we have the freedom to complain.

    August 18, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dhsimbol

    HOw about you build a New mosque in the New Freedom Tower or One World Trade Center. How about you build a new mosque at the top of that building and you have all the floors you need>?

    August 18, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dhsimbol

    ok if there are mosque near ground zero then why do you need a another one? how about you put the money towards fixing the ones that are there already? why do you need a new building?

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