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. N

    And it is a shame you have no educational background.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • frogman

      N, Thank you for your comments. One thing that gives me confidence in my ideas is being called names by people like you. People who have no education alway accuse people who they disagree with of being uneducated or they call them names. This is often because they are not articulate enough or knowledgable enough to use reason to refute their ideas. I'm sure that you can do better than that.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sam

    Please correct me if I`m wrong ,US support and build Islamic Organizations to bring down soviet Union,US plan called Green Belt,ok soviet Union is Down those Radical criminal Organizations turns against creator,now what?

    August 18, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. Thoroughbred10

    "John: How far is far enough?"

    In London, there was a similar situation recently where they wanted to build a mosque to overshadow the Olympic Games. Public opinion put a stop to it. And public opinion can put a stop to this disgraceful plan as well. And it can tell this group, and the politicians who support them, that enough is enough; that America is a big country and there’s plenty of room to built their offensive mosque somewhere else. Somewhere perhaps more appropriate to the spirit of their religion: like the Arizona desert or Death Valley.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      While flippant and trite, your answer is not an answer compatible with the laws of the United States

      August 18, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. max paco

    I will bring couple of pigs at the site and put them by the entrance. That will solve the problem

    August 18, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      You can just visit. Bringing pigs would just be redundant.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. drfu711

    Patterson is wrong to offer state land for religious purposes. Church and state should remain separate.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      He is just trying to offer an option to move the center away and satisfy everyone. Grow up.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  6. john

    Why is it that a person who disagrees with the mosque because they (right or wrong) view it as a monument to victory is a bigot, but a person who supports the mosque and refuses to take into account the sensitivities (right or wrong) of the 9/11 victims' families is not? The mosque was supposed to be an outreach, but the unwillingness to compromise on the part of the mosque developer suggests that it is not about outreach at all. During the Bush years people called it the "My way or the highway" approach and when Bush did it he was excoriated. Where are all of the "My way or the highway" critics now? I guess it just depends upon whose "way" it is.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Thoroughbred10

      American politicians now regularly make noise about diversity as an excuse for Islamization. We’re running about a decade behind Europe in all of this. It is true that diversity has been good for America. It’s been the making of our country and current society. But American diversity has always been grounded in respect for the values of individual liberty that make us who we are. Islam rejects those values and that’s the difference. It is a VERY important difference. Islam despises what America is; it rejects everything that America stands for, including freedom and diversity. Any Muslim who denies this is a liar.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. Steven

    There are thousands of Muslims that are good, upstanding American citizens. These people are not our enemies, they are our neighbors and friends. What we have now is a bunch of people working up fear, and this is extremely dangerous and un-American. What is ground-zero? Is it the local blocks where the Trade Center was or is it a 1/2 mile area around, or one to two miles around? This Muslim center can not even be seen from where the Trade Center was. I hope you realize, if President Obama had said that the Muslim center was wrong that he would be hit by the GOP for interfering with religious practices. Again the far-right leaning politicians have built up fear for their own end ... not America's end.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. JussaThought

    Whatever happened to:
    1. American Excellence – I don't care what they do in Mecca, the Vatican, Germany or anywhere else. America is the greatest country on Earth precisely because we are different. We are strong enough to make the distinction between terrorists and Islam.

    2. Local Authority – Before this became a political issue, the mayor, planning department, and most local politicians supported the project. Clearly they understand the pain of 9/11 better than anyone else in the world, yet they approved the project. Why should our hang-ups overrule the wishes of people who lost so much that day?

    3. Property Rights – While I don't think this right is absolute, they do own the land AND went through all the proper channels to get the project approved. If you're opposed to it because it's symbolic, you are right. I'm sure the site was chosen because of its proximity to Ground Zero. That group is trying to make a point ... I'm sure that was brought up during the permitting process. I trust that local officials took all viewpoints into account before approving the project.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  9. N

    LOL at you haters. They are going to build it at that location no matter how much you can't stand it. These are not terrorist. The majority are U.S. citizens that work with us each and everyday and contribute to the wellness of our society. As soon as you start accepting that, the better off and less stressful you will be.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Thoroughbred10

      The Ground Zero Mosque is intended to serve the same purpose in America. Building mosques on conquered ground is standard practice. It is what Islam has always done to assert its supremacy and that’s what is happening here.

      Of course they know how insulting and offensive the site chosen is. Why do you think they chose it? Why do you think they chose the site as close as possible to Ground Zero? Or do you think it was just an accident?

      They also know that once it’s built it will be there forever as a permanent affront to all Americans; gloating in triumph and a major bridge head in on-going jihad. That’s how the Muslim world will see it; that’s how they’ll be encouraged to see it and to be fair to them it will confirm what they’ve always suspected: that America is a soft country, a decadent country, crippled by political correctness, confused and guilt-ridden with no backbone and no pride.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      It's amazing how many amateur Islamic scholars have sprung up with this debate. Suddenly, thousands of people know everything there is to know about the history, ideology and culture of Islam (not just particular demoninations of Islam, but all of Islam) with such certainty that they can speak for the developers of Park 51 with perfect certainty because they are Muslim. Plus, their knowledge is so absolute that they never need to cite sources or even examples to support their conclusions. I had no idea Americans were so educated about Islam!

      August 18, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. westcoastkid

    The catholic religion committed terrorism (genocide) on natives throughout the entire America's, tore down "pagan" temples and built catholic edifices RIGHT ON TOP OF THEM. Where is the outrage on that?

    Please don't insult me (and the memory of all those dead original americans) by saying it happened long ago and doesn't count now.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • frogman

      But it did happen long ago and I think that we're better people now than we were then. Not much better but a little.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Gecko

      Bingo! People have a very short memory, and they see what they want to see.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • oakhill3

      The Catholic Church and Islam went back and forth butchering each other hundreds of years ago, you are correct. Today, the Catholic Church does not represent in any way ANY of the other Christian denominations, and they aren't "crusading" any more either. The same cannot be said of Islam, with extremist factions killing people everyday under their imposition of Sharia Law or their fulfillment of jihad goals. So to use the "Crusades" as a current argument doesn't hold water.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • John777

      The tribes of Native Americans that were wiped out over a century ago by the white man actually wiped out the tribes of people that were here before them. You make it sound as if the Native Americans were living in hippie communes, smoking peace pipes and living a peacefull coexistence. They were waring tribes who got their but kicked. Was it right, no but man has been fighting for territory for 1000's of years

      August 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • westcoastkid

      John777
      "The tribes of Native Americans that were wiped out over a century ago by the white man actually wiped out the tribes of people that were here before them. You make it sound as if the Native Americans were living in hippie communes, smoking peace pipes and living a peacefull coexistence. They were waring tribes who got their but kicked. Was it right, no but man has been fighting for territory for 1000's of years"

      First of all I'm not talking about "white men" per say, I'm talking about the catholic church. Second "the America's" includes not only the "American West" but all of Central and South America, the geographical location where the church caused the most egregious atrocities. Third, I never implied that life within the affected cultures was "peaceful."

      What I did saw was ... well perhaps you need to read my original post again.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cjr

    No – No! keep the mosque right where it is! otherwise we have lost. Yes, I know someone who was lost during 9-11 and while I grieve I also know that my person wants me to move on and that the mosque is not on holy ground. If we move the mosque who then will the right wing go after next? Catholics, Jews, Lutherans and on and on!

    August 18, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  12. N

    Maybe they need to tell the Muslim gyro and falafel guys whom which Americans buy their food everyday in new york that they need to move approx. 10-20 blocks away from WTC because they bring fear and suffering to those around that area. Please...Give me a break

    August 18, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  13. Gecko

    Aaron, thanks for being the voice of reason and true understanding. Nobody seems to remember the atrocities that historically have been conducted in the name of the Church, but no one would complain if they built a church next to WTC. The people that are so opposed to don't even know what they're opposing, and have never read a single page of the Koran. I'm not a Muslim, just open-minded and fair.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • oakhill3

      For anyone who thinks the center should go up, do yourself a favor and read the following investigative article in the Canada Free Press (Yes, Canada, not the US) – Investigative Report: Exposing the Cordoba Islamic Center of Manhattan By Doug Hagmann from Thursday, July 29, 2010. Additionally, there has been research done by others that collaborates what this man has found. Anyone who still thinks the building should go up is naive, in denial, or deliberately keeping their collective heads stuck in the sand. WAAAAY more is at stake here than the simple construction of a "cultural center". This isn't a simple matter of "fairness".

      August 18, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. N

    @ Thoroughbred10... You do realize that Christans did the same with building churches were they conquered land. Lets not be one sided here.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • oakhill3

      Actually, that was the Catholic Church, to be precise, which many Christians are not part of.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. Brownstain

    A good spot for the mosque would be on Rikers Island.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
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